REDLANDS — Freshman Cole Williams (San Francisco) cruised in the 800 meters, sophomore Jonathan Padron (Kapolei, Hawaii) edged a fast 100-meter final and the two young Occidental College track and field stars claimed individual SCIAC championships at Redlands on Saturday.
The Oxy men finished fourth with 65 points at the 97th annual meet at Ashel Cunningham Track, and fourth overall in the SCIAC standings. Redlands won the team competition with 144 points, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps came in second (136) and La Verne in third (111).
Padron, who didn't lose a race to Division III competition last year until finishing fourth at the national meet, crossed the line in 10.58 seconds, just tenths of a second behind the 10.51 SCIAC championship meet record set by Roger Fulcher of Whittier in 1979. After missing a good portion of preseason training with a leg injury, Padron repeated as the SCIAC champion in the 100 and dropped his best 2012 mark down from the 10.82 he ran at Mt. Sac on April 21, giving him the fifth best time in the nation with three weeks of qualifying left before the national meet at CMS (Athletes must finish in the top 18 nationally in their respective event to qualify for the NCAA Division III championships).
"When it matters most, that's when he turns it on," Occidental track and field coach Rob Bartlett said.
It wasn't an easy field either. Whittier's Kimble Tillman finished in 10.60 and Redlands' Richard Nakaoka in 10.69.
Williams didn't run his best race of the season, going 1:50.63, but still smoked the field by almost 5 seconds and wasn't far off of the 1:49.5 SCIAC meet record set by Oxy's David Moon in 1963. Duncan Ashy of Redlands came in second, finishing 1:55.45.
Earlier this season the freshman created quite a buzz for himself when he went 1:50.31 at the Oxy Distance Carnival on March 16 — at the time the fastest mark posted in 2012 by any track athlete, Divisions I, II or III. That time is still good enough for third in NCAA Division III, making him a likely participant at this year's national meet.
Oxy's Will Moseley (Seattle) finished third in the 800 (1:56.10).
Colin Smith (Las Vegas) another standout Oxy freshman, nearly took the 5000, but his 15:01.65 was second to CMS' Rafer Dannenhauer's 14:58.40.
The Tigers 4x400 relay team, another candidate for nationals, ran its best time of the season only to be outdone by a fast field. Alex Nieves (Stevenson Ranch), Kevin Cox (Sedona, Ariz.), Moseley, and Williams finished in third, going 3:16.87. Traditionally a sub-3:19 time has put you in a good position to win the 4x400, but this year six teams broke that mark.
Oxy is back in action on May 5, hosting the Oxy Invite.