CLAREMONT — The Occidental men's track and field team did just about everything it could to win its first SCIAC Championship since 1998.
But despite Oxy winning the 4x400m on the last race of the meet, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps managed to finish second in the event, claiming enough points to edge Oxy in the overall scoring 175.5-174 in the closest SCIAC Championship meet in recent memory.
Trailing by 3.5 points with the sun setting at Pomona-Pitzer, the Oxy men's 4x400m team of Caldwell Biddle, Gabriel Barrett-Jackson, Jeh Johnson and Hugh Pegan took first with a time of 3:16.32. The CMS men's team needed to finish lower than second for Oxy to win the meet, but ran 3:17.65 to edge La Verne and seal its victory.
Men - Team Rankings - 20 Events Scored =============================================================================== 1) Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 175.50 2) Occidental 174 3) La Verne 115 4) Pomona-Pitzer 113 5) Redlands 98 6) Cal Lutheran 46 7) Whittier 35.50 8) Chapman 13 9) Caltech 7
The Tigers finish second overall in the conference standings for the third year in a row. Oxy lost by 60 to CMS two years ago, by 30 last year and by less than two points in 2017, signaling the program is headed in the right direction.
Video Interview With Team Captain Jeh Johnson
"I'm really proud of the team. That was everything we could do," Oxy head coach Rob Bartlett said. "We're headed in a great direction and the future is bright."
For the second consecutive year, Oxy's star was Pegan, who won the 100m, the 200m and ran a leg on two winning relay teams. The 2016 SCIAC Track Athlete of the Year, made his case for the award again this year, running a seasonal best 10.77 in the 100m to edge Miles Speegle and teammate Keanne Collins, who came in third at 10.97. The junior from Ukiah also won 21.35 in the 200m with the second-best time in the country this season.
Oxy's 4x100m relay team of Johnson, Pegan, Collins and Kyle Dalton started the events on the track with a relatively comfortable win at 41.23. They've run as fast as 41.21 and have been ranked as high as No. 1 in the country.
Oxy distance runner Austin Sankaran was one of the Tigers heros of the meet. Just 24 hours after finishing second in the 10,000m, he gutted out a fifth-place finish in the 5,000m, pushing a pair of CMS runners down in the pivotal race that put the Tigers in striking position prior to the 4x400m.
Barrett-Jackson and Johnson went 1-2 in a sensational 400m final with a photo finish. Both men finished at 48.13, but Barrett-Jackson, an All-American in the event, went from third place to first, beating his teamate and the defending champ.
Johnson also took second in the 200m behind Pegan at 21.57.
One day after winning the high jump with a clearance of 6-09, Austin DeWitz scored in the 110m hurdles and the triple jump. He took third in the 110m hurdles, tying his seasonal best 16.06, and was fifth in the triple at 44-11.75.
In the field events, Zach Greenleaf was the standout, taking second in the pole vault with a clearance of 14-05.50.
SCIAC Final Standings: Multi-dual victories count 25 percent and conference championship place counts 75 percent toward the overal SCIAC Champion.
|Men||Dual Meet Points||Championship Points||Total Points|
|Women||Dual Meet Points||Championship Points||Total Points|
Scoring: The meet was scored scored 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 for all events. Eight athletes advanced to the finals in all track events except the 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m relays. Nine athletes advanced to the finals in all field events.
Strehle Track - Pomona-Pitzer
Next Meet: The Tigers are back in action next weekend with the Oxy Invite on May 6.Follow Oxy Athletics on Twitter Sign Up for Newsletters Watch on Youtube Follow us on Instagram