Big Weekend in Store for Oxy Athletics
Tiger sports fans, prepare your itineraries. Spanning three time zones, there will be no shortage of nationally ranked Occidental athletics on display this weekend.
The three-time defending SCIAC champion football team will do playoff battle with eighth-ranked Whitworth (Wash.) College at noon Saturday in Spokane, Wash., while the 22nd-ranked men’s cross-country team travels to West Chester, Ohio, to compete in the national championships at 8 a.m. Pacific time the same day.
Just in case you need to whet your appetite going into the weekend, consider cheering on the 20th-ranked men’s basketball team as it opens the 2006-07 season against No. 9 University of St. Thomas ( Minn.). The game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Frantz Athletic Court in La Verne. The Tigers will be led by Sam Betty ’07, Division III Preseason Player of the Year. The Lady Tigers, meanwhile, will play their season-opener at 5 p.m. Saturday at Cal State-East Bay. The squad features SCIAC Preseason Player of the Year Stacie Roshon ’07.
On the gridiron, Oxy quarterback Andy Collins ’07 leads the team to its third straight – and fifth overall – playoff appearance. The Tigers, ranked 10th by D3Football.com, finished the regular season with a 9-0 record. Dating back to Sept. 18, 2004, the team has won 26 straight regular-season games.
Collins ranks 10th in the country in total offense (283.5 yards per game), 11th in passing efficiency (161.9), and is a two-time SCIAC Offensive Player of the Year. Whitworth (10-0) ranks fifth nationally against the pass and owns a turnover margin of 1.8, second in NCAA Division III. Joel Clark, the Pirates’ quarterback, ranks 18th in passing efficiency (153.2) and 28th in total offense with 237.6 yards per game. A live webcast of the game will be available on the Oxy football website.
The men’s cross country team will be making its 16th appearance at the national championships, and its first trip since 1995. The Tigers clinched a berth in the national championships with a second place finish at the NCAA West Regional meet in Chino on Nov. 11. With two runners in the top 10, Occidental compiled a team score of 87 in the men’s 8k, 12 points behind regional champion Willamette and five ahead of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
Occidental, currently ranked 22nd in NCAA Division III, will be led by Kevin Chaves ’08, who took third in the West Regional Meet. Other athletes to watch are Alex Ramon ’08, Keith Blumenfeld ’09, Galen Smith ’08 and Toby Lemon ’07. The Tigers won a national team title in 1977, following two-runner up finishes in 1974 and 1975. Occidental won its 39th conference title Oct. 28, completing a worst-to-first turnaround that began in 1999, when the Tigers fielded a squad of just two runners.