CLAREMONT, CA. – The No. 3 Pomona-Pitzer Men's Cross Country Team embarks for the postseason, starting with the SCIAC Championship tomorrow morning at Prado Park. The Sagehens will head to Chino, California in hopes of securing back-to-back SCIAC titles, their 13th in program history.
"I think we're ready," said Head Coach Jordan Carpenter. "We've been focusing on trying to run in groups this year, taking a team approach. This started since day one of training camp. We're just going to try to put as many guys in front of the race as we can."
Reigning SCIAC Athlete of the Year, Andy Reischling, will look to keep his crown after improving his times from last season. The senior has won three SCIAC Athlete of the Week awards and recorded his fastest time of the season at the Capital Cross Challenge back in September 29 with a time of 24:17.7 (8K Run). Julian DeGroot-Lutzner will also be vying for a top-10 finish at the SCIAC, posting his best time of the season at the UCR Cross Country Invitational at 25:14.6. Owen Woo has posted his career-best at the Capital Cross Challenge, clocking in at 25:26.7, and aims to take a top spot in the SCIAC.
"A big difference is the culture that's developed around the recent successes we had," said Coach Carpenter. "We have guys come into our program expect to do well and expect to run fast. Doesn't matter whether they're freshmen or seniors. This season we saw five freshmen run under 26 minutes (in 8K course)."
The Sagehens have also witnessed several freshmen burst into top finishes this season, including Ethan Widlansky who took 39th at the UCR Invite with a time of 25:14.0 and earned a spot at the Pre-National meet. His classmate Dante Paszkeicz also competed at the Pre National and recorded his best time at the Capital Cross Challenge with a 44th place finish at 25:20.4. Paul McKinley is another freshman to keep an eye on, recording a fast 25:09.4 at the UCR Invite.
While the Sagehens are weary of several top runners from other programs like Brody Barkan (Occidental), Tucker Cargile (Redlands) and Benjamin White (Whittier), the team's depth has been so strong, it has felt like their biggest competition is amongst themselves.
"We have 17 of the top 30 performances in the conference this season," said Coach Carpenter. "You run a risk of your team being very cutthroat where guys have to beat each other. Fortunately, it comes back to the culture we have here. It's not about beating your teammates, it's about how fast you run as an individual and seeing where that puts you on our team."