CLAREMONT, CA. – In celebration and support of Gaypril, Sagehen Athletics is proud to share the inspiring story of Pomona-Pitzer Men's Track & Field relay team consisting of four openly gay athletes, sophomore Cal Neikirk (PO), senior Paul Messana (PZ), junior Nick Vucovich (PO) and freshman Lucas White Moon (PO) who will compete at the SCIAC Multi-Dual meet this Saturday at Strehle Track.
This 4x400 team already made history this season as they came from behind to defeat conference rival Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the first SCIAC Multi-Dual meet of the season that allowed the Sagehens to earn a win over the Stags for the first time since 1991. That time of 3:20.32 is the fastest mark this season by the 4x400 relay team, which currently sits as the 24th fastest time in Division III this season.
"We're firstly athletes for ourselves, but we're allowed to be out here running as a testament to all the LGBTQ athletes who came before us and opened the door for us to be here today, and we, too, are still competing for those whose schools still discourage or openly ban gay student athletes from competing, either through campus culture or through explicit rules," said Neikirk. "We're fortunate to attend institutions that celebrate Gaypril and to be a part of a team that supports us so much. Hopefully we can show LGBTQ student athletes elsewhere that yes it is possible to be gay and successful as a collegiate athlete."
Every year The Claremont Colleges community celebrates a month of LGBTQ Pride in April. Pride month is a once-a-year opportunity for LGBTQ individuals to enjoy visibility and support from a wide community, while celebrating our allies and promoting awareness about issues surrounding the diverse intersections of queer identity.
"This race is about visibility," said Messana. "Yes, we are making a statement by challenging historically dominated heterosexual spaces within collegiate athletics, but it's more than that. We believe that there is great value in seeing four openly gay men competing together on one of Pomona-Pitzer's fastest 4x400 relay teams. So, quite simply, we are running to be seen."
"We are all proud of the accomplishments of our 4x400 team, but more so, we strive to make their collegiate experience an exceptional one as a part of the Sagehen family," said Pomona-Pitzer Senior Associate AD and Senior Woman Administrator, Angel Mason. "We see actively promoting and supporting diversity a key to this experience."
The Pomona-Pitzer Men's Track & Field team is set to host the SCIAC Multi-Dual meet at 11:00 a.m. coming Saturday, April 15th