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The Sagehen Report for November 18

The Men's Cross Country team earned the championship of the NCAA Division III West Regionals on Saturday, the program's first regional title in 31 years.

The Men's Cross Country team earned the championship of the NCAA Division III West Regionals on Saturday, the program's first regional title in 31 years.

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@sagehens

The Pomona-Pitzer Men’s Cross Country team won the NCAA West Regional championship for the first time since 1982, and the Men’s Basketball team started the season with a win over nationally ranked St. Thomas (Minn.) to highlight this week’s action.

After narrow losses to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the SCIAC Multi-Duals and the SCIAC Championships, the Men’s Cross Country team turned the tables with a seven-point win in the NCAA West Regionals on its home course. The Sagehens ran a patient race, ranking a distant fourth at the midway point before making their move on the second half of the course. Ben Girodias ’15 came in fourth place in 25:01, with John Fowler ’16 in fifth with a time of 25:11 to lead the way.

Alex Johann ’14 added a top 15 finish (14th in 25:51), and Pryor Stroud ’15 and Corey Purcella ’16 also earned second-team All-Region honors by coming in 24th and 26th, respectively for the Sagehens, who will advance to compete at the NCAA Division III Championships this weekend in Hanover, Indiana. Claire Brickson ’14 also earned an individual qualification on the women’s side, finishing in tenth place overall with a 22:38 time.

Volleyball competed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1997 and put up a tough battle against UT Dallas before falling 3-1. Allie Frappier ’15, the nation’s leader in kills per set, had 17 kills but was forced out of action twice with an injury, missing almost the entire third set and then coming out again after six kills in the fourth set staked Pomona-Pitzer to a 16-11 lead. Michelle Schultz ’16 and Ellen Yamasaki ’15 had 10 kills apiece, and Beth Smilkstein ’14 had 23 digs to lead the defense in her final collegiate match.

Football closed out the season with a narrow 29-23 loss to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps after rallying from a 29-9 deficit with two fourth-quarter touchdowns. Despite the loss, several seniors went out on high notes, as middle linebacker Kyle Roskamp ’14 had a career-high 21 tackles, Duncan Hussey ’13 (CGU ’15) caught two touchdown passes, and Michael Weil ’14 started the scoring with a career-best 40-yard field goal.

Men’s Basketball got the season started on a high note by defeating St. Thomas (Minn.) 80-77 on Friday at Voelkel Gymnasium. St. Thomas was a Division III Final Four team a year ago and entered the new season ranked No. 15 in the nation. The Sagehens built a 14-point lead early in the second half and held off repeated St. Thomas rallies before holding on for the narrow win. Xavyr Moss PI ’13 (CGU ’15) had a big day with 24 points, while John Weiss ’14 had a strong all-around effort with 18 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals. Nick Nordale PI ’17 also contributed 15 big points in his college debut, including two clutch free throws in the final minute to push the lead to four. The Sagehens will be on the road this week for games at Biola on Tuesday and Westmont on Saturday.

The Women’s Basketball team also opened its season, playing at the Whit Classic in Spokane and falling to both host Whitworth and Whitman. The Sagehens entered the tournament with only freshmen and sophomores on the active roster, as the team has no seniors on the roster and its only two juniors were out of action. Jenn Okonkwo started the year with back-to-back double-doubles, tallying 20 points and 14 rebounds against Whitworth and 13 points and 11 rebounds against Whitman. Basha Brulee-Wills PI ’17 almost accomplished the same thing with 10 points and 10 rebounds against Whitworth in her college debut, and 15 points and nine rebounds against Whitman. The Sagehens will be at Hope International on Saturday before its home opener next Tuesday against Linfield.

The Men’s Water Polo team wrapped up the regular season with a 14-11 win over La Verne on Saturday, giving it the fourth seed in the SCIAC Tournament and leaving it still in control of its own destiny for the 2013 SCIAC championship. Clayton Hardman ’15 had a season-high four goals to lead the way, as the Sagehens took the lead for good at the end of the first quarter and held off several La Verne rallies. Jarrod Gaut PI ’14 added three goals, and Ryan Higgins ’14 and James Baker ’17 added two apiece for the Sagehens, who will be at the SCIAC Championships this Friday-Sunday at Chapman.

Pomona-Pitzer’s Swimming teams also had their first dual meet of the season at home against Division II Cal Baptist and had a solid performance as the women’s team lost by just nine points (135-126). The meet ended with the 400-yard freestyle relay team setting a new Haldeman Pool record, with Cayla Nishizaki PI ’17, Vicky Gyorffy ’15, Johanna Rayl ’16 and Alex Lincoln ’14 finishing the relay in 3:35.04. Nishizaki also won the 50-yard freestyle, Maki Tohmon ’17 won the 200-yard breaststroke, and Kay Sterner ’17 won the 500-yard freestyle. On the men’s side, Eirik Hansen PI ’15 and Chris Garnatz finished 1-2 in the 50 free, and then finished 1-2 the other way around in the 100 free.

To keep up to date with all the Pomona-Pitzer athletics action, follow us on the web at www.sagehens.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sagehens, or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/sagehens.

This Week's Schedule

Home Games in Bold

Tuesday, Nov. 19
Men’s Basketball at Biola, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 22
Men’s Water Polo at Chapman, 7 p.m. (SCIAC Championships)

Saturday, Nov. 23
Women’s Cross Country at NCAA Championships, 8 a.m. (at Hanover, Ind.)
Men’s Cross Country at NCAA Championships, 9:15 a.m. (at Hanover, Ind.)
Men’s Water Polo at SCIAC Championships, TBA (at Chapman)
Women’s Basketball at Hope International, 5:30 p.m.
Men’s Basketball at Westmont, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 24
Men’s Water Polo at SCIAC Championships, TBA (at Chapman)

Tuesday, Nov. 26
Women’s Basketball (H) vs. Linfield, 6 p.m.