CLAREMONT — Austin DeWitz keeps raising the bar.
The sophomore star from Oregon City, cleared 6-feet, 9-inches to win the SCIAC Championship in the high jump on the first day of competition at Pomona-Pitzer on Friday.
The Oxy men came into the meet tied for first place with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, looking for their first SCIAC team championship since 1998. The winner of the meet will win the conference.
Men - Team Rankings - 6 Events Scored =============================================================================== 1) Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 53 2) Occidental 40 3) La Verne 39 3) Pomona-Pitzer 39 5) Redlands 26 6) Cal Lutheran 13 7) Chapman 10 8) Whittier 8 9) Caltech 6
Women - Team Rankings - 7 Events Scored =============================================================================== 1) Claremont-Mudd-Scripps 97 2) Occidental 40.50 3) Redlands 38 4) Cal Lutheran 37.50 5) Pomona-Pitzer 37 6) La Verne 19 7) Whittier 4
All field events were finals, along with a handful of distance races, with the rest of the events being qualifying heats for the final session on Saturday.
Video Interview with Head Coach Rob Bartlett
DeWitz has been consistently upping his personal bests this season, nailing what is usually the magic mark for admission to the NCAA Division III Championships on the biggest day of the season.
The competition was officially his when defending champion Cam Van of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps missed his third attempt at 6-07.25 because DeWitz had him beat on misses at 6-05.50.
DeWitz cleared 6-07.25 on his final attempt anyway and then it was on to nationals and personal best territory. The bar went to 6-09 and DeWitz cleared the 11th best mark in Division III this season with a boost from his teammates on his second try.
"It feels great and was an awesome experience. It's something I've been working towards all season," DeWitz said. "I finally got the slow clap for the first time this year and I guess it worked. The entire team was there cheering me on."
DeWitz also qualified for the 110m hurdles and will compete in the triple jump on Saturday.
DeWitz wasn't the only outstanding performer in the field events.
Keane Collins took second place in the long jump with a huge personal best, going 23-03.25 to score eight points for the Tigers. His best leap came on his first attempt of the competition. He also qualified for the finals in the 100m and 200m.
Austin Sankaran had his second consecutive podium finish in the 10,000m. The defending champion in the event placed second at 31:50.89, with rookie teammate Thomas Roberson not far behind in fourth at 32:33.40
Aaron Sugimoto took fourth in the 3,000m steeplechase with a personal best of 9:38.25. He was as high as second and got caught in the last 100m, leaving everything he had on the track for a gutsy performance.
On the women's side, Aria Blumm placed third overall in the 3,000m steeplechase with a lifetime best of 11:15.40 and Cora Davies tied for third in the high jump. Melissa Braun took fourth place in the pole vault, clearing 11-06.50, Mel Devoney finished fourth in the 10,000m at 38:37.04, and Sabrina Degnan was fourth in the hammer at 131-09 and sixth in the discus 113-00.
There were no real surprises in the qualifying races for the Oxy men or women. Just about all of the runners expected to advance based on seeds did so.
Saturday field events begin at 2 p.m. and the events on the track start at 3:30 p.m.
Strehle Track - Pomona-Pitzer
Scoring: The meet will be scored 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 for all events. Eight athletes will advance to the finals in all track events except the 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m relays. Nine athletes will advance to the finals in all field events.
SCIAC Championship Race: Multi-dual victories count 25 percent and conference championship place counts 75 percent toward the SCIAC Champion title.
SCIAC Dual Meet Standings
The Mills Avenue gate (near the finish line) is findable on GPS at 527 N. Mills Ave., Claremont, CA. This is the east-side entrance to the facility. Parking is available on Mills and throughout the residential neighborhood. The Track/Tennis sidewalk running east from Rains Center and the football/baseball fields will be the west-side entrance to the facility.
SCIAC ID (Students, Faculty & Staff) Free
Children 12 and under Free
All others $10.00 per day
Senior Citizens (55 and older) and Veterans with ID $5.00
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