Cross Country Captures 2 SCIAC TItles

Entering the meet the teams were seeded first (women) and second (men) but by the end of the competition both Tigers squads could call themselves SCIAC Champions.

For the first time in 15 years both cross country teams brought home the SCIAC title in the same year.

While the women’s team thrived all season, the men overcame numerous struggles with injuries, to retain their title from a year ago. The women’s squad last won the SCIAC Championship in 2002.

Both packs ran together. The women’s team maintained their first place pace that they set two weeks back at Prado Park. At the front of the Tigers pack was sophomore Maddie Weissman (23:07.35). Finishing back-to-back were Rachel Keylon and Denali Hasley who crossed the finish line in 23:25.45 and 23:29.30 respectively. Also breaking the top-10 was sophomore Grace Park, in ninth in a time of 23:37.49. Caitlin Croall was the final scoring member of the team as she clocked in at 24:05.18.

Oxy Tigers swept the top three spots for the men’s team, led by new SCIAC Champion and SCIAC Cross Country Runner of the Year Kevin Chaves (26:23.92) followed closely by senior teammate Galen Smith (26:42.19) and junior Tiger Keith Blumenfield (26:51.77). The biggest surprise however came from junior David Martinez who improved from a 32nd place finish two weeks ago to place eighth at La Mirada Park today. Rounding out the scoring the Occidental was freshman RJ Infantino, completing the course in 27:41.98.

In the history of Oxy cross country the men now hold 32 SCIAC Championships while the women have 11.

When asked about the level of competition at this weeks meet Head Coach Rob Bartlett said, "Both the men and the women ran phenomenally well this weekend to clinch the SCIAC Championship." He went on,  "The two performances were special for different reasons. The women ran with the weight of being favorites after winning Multi-Duals two weeks ago, while the men went into the meet as the under-dogs haven gotten soundly beaten by CMS two weeks ago. Both genders ran with incredible character with the majority improving on their position at Multi-Duals as the only school to have so much improvement across the board."

Both teams edged Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the win. The women’s team averaged a time of 23:32.96 and the men’s team averaged a time of 27:00.12. Following the meet the Chaves, Smith, Blumenfield, Martinez, Weissman, Keylon, Hasley and Park were all named to the SCIAC First Team. Representing the Tigers on the All SCIAC Second Team were Infantino and Croall.

The Tigers runners will be training in the coming weeks for the NCAA West Regionals, which will be held in Estacada, Ore. On Saturday, Nov. 10. "We will go into the Western Regional Meet in two weeks time with nothing to lose. Both teams will be pushing for a top two finish and a trip to the NCAA Championships in Northfield, MN."

Photos from the event can be seen at http://www.trackshark.com/photos/2008/sciac.php.

Oxy SCIAC Championships
Men: 1958-62, 1965-78, 1983-88, 1990-92, 1994-95, 2006-07
Women: 1978, 1981-83, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1992-93, 2002, 2007