Men's Track 2-0, Women 1-1 at SCIAC Multi-Dual 2

Men's Track 2-0, Women 1-1 at SCIAC Multi-Dual 2

LOS ANGELES — The Occidental track and field teams put together what was likely the program's best individual meet in over a decade at the SCIAC Multi-Dual #2 on Saturday, as numerous athletes notched seasonal, lifetime and all-time bests in their events.

The men's and women's squads combined for a 3-1 record on the day, with the men defeating Pomona-Pitzer and Caltech and the women beating Caltech, but dropping to Pomona-Pitzer.

"We probably had 25, 30 lifetime and seasonal bests. That's almost more than half of our team having huge breakthrough days," Oxy head coach Rob Bartlett said. "There were almost too many amazing performances for me to pinpoint any individuals."

Alex Nieves produced the top performance of the meet for the men's team, finishing second in the 400-meter with a time of 49.17. The mark was a 1.20 second improvement on his pervious lifetime best and currently ranks as the ninth best time in Division III this season.

While more than a 1-second jump in the 400-meter is an almost unheard of feat in the sport, Nieves' improvement was actually matched by sophomore Gregory Capra. Capra moved his lifetime best in the event from 52.24 to 51.06, dropping 1.18 seconds.

Kyle Dalton and Kevin Cox took second and fourth place in the 100-meter, both breaking the 11.20 mark. Dalton finished with a wind-legal lifetime best of 11.10 and Cox's time of 11.16 was a .11 second improvement on his pervious top time.

Dalton came back with another second place finish, this time in the 200-meter, and was joined in the top three by Jeh Johnson — who finished just .04 seconds behind his teammate. Dalton and Johnson both posted lifetime bests in the event, going 22.12 and 22.22, respectively.  

Dalton, Johnson, Nieves and Cox also combine to grab first-place finishes in both the 4x100 and 4x400 meter relays. The squad narrowly edged out Pomona-Pitzer in both events, running times of 42.29 and 3:18.54, respectively. The 4x100 time is currently the second best in the conference, while the 4x400 takes over the top spot in Division III so far.  

In the distance races, Colin Smith and Raoul Friedemann stole the show for the Tigers.

For the second time this season, Smith completed the brutal 800-1500 double and scored much needed points for the team against Pomona-Pitzer. Smith won the 1500-meter, crossing the finish line in 3:56.94, and came back to finish sixth overall in the 800-meter with a lifetime best of 1:57.93.

Friedemann posted a nearly two-second collegiate best in the 800-meter, dropping his 1:59.60 time to 1:57.74. He finished fifth overall.

The biggest contribution points wise for the team came from the field events, which have traditional been the weak link for the Tigers. The men wound up sweeping Pomona-Pitzer in three of eight events.

Andrew Clarey claimed his second first-place finish on the season in the shot put, throwing a career best of 42-10.75 feet. Meanwhile, senior Dalton Spinas — competing in his first collegiate track meet — finished third in the discus with a 122'2" foot mark.

Noah Winnick rounded out the stellar day for the throwers, taking fifth in the javelin with a massive 23'8" foot personal best of 144'09".

In the women's competition, hurdler Rachael Hinkel and distance runners Jenna Wong and Mel Devoney all had outstanding days for the Tigers.

Hinkel is now two-for-two in the 100-meter hurdles during SCIAC competition this year, winning the event with a seasonal best time of 15.53.

As for Wong and Devoney, both produced massive season improvements on their way to claiming third and fourth place finishes in the 5000-meter and 1500-meter, respectively. Wong dropped more than a minute off of her time from SCIAC Multi-Dual #1, running 18:25.83, and Devoney's time of 4:53.14 was a better than eight second improvement.

Jenny Quilty took third place in the 100-meter, running her best time of the season at 12.89. She came back later in the day to finish second in the 200-meter with a time of 25.99, losing only to her own teammate, Onyekachi Nwabueze.

Nwabueze came into the meet with a questionable status after suffering an injury earlier in the week, but fought off the pain to run 25.93. This time puts her one spot ahead of Quilty on the Occidental top-10 all-time board.

Kimberly Orpinela took second place in the hammer throw, posting a huge lifetime best of 135-06 feet on her first throw of the competition. This mark moves her to number four on the all-time list.

A handful of athletes will be competing at the Cal/Nevada Championships in San Diego next Friday and Saturday, with the rest of the team joining them for the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational on April 12.

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