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The Sagehen Report: Week of May 7

Sammy Chao '14 remained undefeated in singles this year against Division III opponents (12-0) while helping the Pomona-Pitzer Women’s Tennis team to a runner-up finish at the SCIAC Championships this weekend.

Sammy Chao '14 remained undefeated in singles this year against Division III opponents (12-0) while helping the Pomona-Pitzer Women’s Tennis team to a runner-up finish at the SCIAC Championships this weekend.

This week in Pomona-Pitzer Athletics saw the Men’s and Women’s Tennis teams put up a strong fight in the SCIAC Tournament before earning runner-up finishes, while two familiar names had their best times of the Track and Field season in the 5000 meters to put themselves in NCAA contention.

Women’s Tennis earned a close 5-4 win over Redlands in the semifinals of the SCIAC Tournament, as Jamie Solomon PI ’13 picked up the tiebreaking win with a three-set victory at No. 1 singles to put the Sagehens through to the finals. The match-up featured a tough draw against CMS, ranked No. 9 in the nation and undefeated in SCIAC play all year, including a 9-0 win over Pomona-Pitzer in mid-April.

This time, the Sagehens, who are ranked No. 14 nationally, battled the Athenas right down to the end before falling 5-4. Pomona-Pitzer picked up two wins in doubles, as Sammy Chao ’14 and Arthi Padmanabhan ’14 earned a win at No. 2 and seniors Nicole Holsted ’12 and Emily Kawahara PI ’12 had a victory at No. 3.   Chao also added a 7-5, 6-4 win at No. 2 singles to remain undefeated (12-0) against Division III opponents this year while dropping only one set in any of those 12 matches (she did not compete in singles in the first CMS match due to injury). 

Meanwhile, the ninth-ranked Men’s Tennis team picked up a key semifinal win over No. 7 Cal Lutheran, defeating the Kingsmen 5-4. The match was sewn up early on, as Chris Wiechert PI ’14 helped the No. 3 doubles team, along with Alex Groth ’12, to a comeback 8-6 win and then earned the clinching singles win to make the score 5-2, rendering the final single matches meaningless. Meanwhile, the doubles team of Tommy Meyer ’12 and Uday Singh ’12 earned their second 8-0 win of the day after also shutting out Occidental 5-0 in the quarterfinals.

The championship match saw a dead-even battle with fifth-ranked CMS, but the Sagehens fell on the short end 6-3. A tiebreaker at No. 3 doubles went the Stags way to put Pomona-Pitzer in a 2-1 hole, although Meyer and Singh picked up an 8-2 win at No. 2 doubles to sweep through the SCIAC Tournament with an aggregate score of 24-2. Meyer and Wiechert had clutch wins at No. 1 and No. 2 singles as well over nationally ranked opponents to give the Sagehens a chance, but another tiebreaker at No. 5 singles went to CMS and the Stags were able to clinch the match.

Despite the runner-up finishes, both tennis teams are expected to receive NCAA Division III Tournament bids, which will be announced early this week. The Baseball team, which is 25-12-1 and ranked No. 6 in the West Region, will find out its NCAA fate on Sunday, May 13. 

The Women’s Water Polo team, meanwhile, will be in action this weekend at the NCAA Championships at San Diego State, with the first match taking place against No. 1 Stanford on Friday at 3:30 p.m. The Sagehens qualified after San Diego native Mahalia Prater-Fahey ’15 scored in triple-overtime in the SCIAC Championship against Redlands last weekend, allowing her to return home for the NCAA Tournament. Palo Alto area natives Alex Lincoln ’14, Sarah Westcott ’15 and Sallie Walecka ’15 will also get the chance to go up against Stanford after growing up in the shadow of its campus, while Vicky Gyorffy ’15 will get to meet up with her older sister, who is a junior on the Princeton Women’s Water Polo team, which also qualified. 

Men’s and Women’s Track and Field were the only other teams in action this week as they continued to battle for NCAA qualifications. Anders Crabo ’12 has his qualification sewn up in the 3000-meter steeplechase after breaking nine minutes earlier this year, but is still battling for a 5000-meter qualification as well. He ran his fastest career time by 17 seconds at the Occidental Invitational this weekend (14:43) to put himself close to qualifying, as he is only six seconds shy of the current cutoff line. 

Crabo, who will be one of the contenders for the national championship in the steeplechase at the NCAA Championships at CMS later this month, will have another chance to earn a qualifying time in the 5000 this weekend at the Cal State Los Angeles Invitational this weekend. The same holds true for the 4x400 relay team of Greg Hook PI ’14, Adam Faison PI ’15, Matt Sloane ’15 and Ryan Meyer ’12, which ran its fastest time of the year (3:16.47) at the Occidental Invitational and is now just .34 away from the cutoff line for qualification. 

On the women’s side, Annie Lydens ’13 ran her best 5000 time of the spring with a 17:14, chopping nearly 30 seconds off her time from the SCIAC Championships the previous week. That puts her above the cutline with the 19th fastest time in the country this season (the top 22 qualify), and she has the chance to build on that time even further at the Cal State Los Angeles Invitational this weekend. Lydens finished second in the 5000 at last year’s NCAA Championships but has been slowed this year by foot surgery in December and is just starting to approach her top times from a year ago. 

Some postseason SCIAC Awards were announced this week, and Martha Marich ’12 was named the SCIAC Player of the Year Award in Women’s Lacrosse after finishing her career with 331 goals, while John Hasse ’12 earned the Sportsmanship Award for Men’s Golf. Joining Marich on the All-SCIAC Women’s Lacrosse team were Logan Galansky ’14 on the first team, and Casey Leek PI ’14, Rachel Kessler PI ’14 and Jana London PI ’14 on the second team.

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