Occidental’s track and field team dominates in first conference meet

Keena Brescia (senior), Occidental Track and Field Team, in the Lower Herrick at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA. March 10, 2023. Liang Zhu/The Occidental

Occidental’s track and field team dominates in first conference meet

Occidental’s men’s and women’s track and field team dominated the bright blue Pomona-Pitzer track, bringing home a total of 42 personal records (PRs) from their meet March 4.

According to distance runner Renn Stearns (sophomore), this event was the first conference meet of the Tigers’ season, which made the team’s success extra special.

“We were going out there focusing on competing with specifically the La Verne and Whittier teams or [whoever else] we were scoring against,” Stearns said. “We went out with a goal of competing and just trying for the team score instead of looking for PRs. PRs are nice, but at the end of the day we were there for the conference standing.”

Renn Stearns (sophomore), member of Occidental Track and Field Team, smiles in the Lower Herrick at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA. March 10, 2023. Liang Zhu/The Occidental

Stearns achieved a personal record in the 1500-meter race, finishing second overall with a time of 4:05.13 which beat his competition by 0.01 seconds. Stearns’ teammate Justin Edwards (sophomore) also achieved a personal record in the long jump and 100-meter dash. According to Edwards, the vast number of PRs can be linked to the intense training that the team underwent over the course of the past year.

“This was only the third meet of the season, so it was exciting to PR,” Edwards said. “This year we did a lot of work last semester over the fall season, and then we’ve been working really hard the past month, so at the meet it was just all that work falling together.”

Thrower Keena Brescia (senior) said that the success of the team was definitely a result of the training, but also it was also positively impacted by the energy at the recent meet. She said that this energy marked a change from previous seasons. Brescia also walked away from the recent meet with both a personal record in the hammer and a collegiate best in the shot put and discus.

“We blew out the other teams and that made us feel really good, especially going to the next meets,” Brescia said. “Last season, our coaches said they didn’t feel like we were a team in terms of cheering and bringing up the energy. But they said that they saw a change in that during this first meet.”

Brescia said that this change in team energy is promising for the rest of the season, and she is looking forward to closing out her final collegiate season with Occidental. Stearns also said that the energy was present on the track, and he believes that it holds great promise for their upcoming meets.

“A team goal is to continue to compete and bring the energy and the mentality that we brought on after the race,” Stearns said. “The coaches were talking about the good energy, supportive vibe and how engaged mentally we all were. I think if we can continue that throughout [the season], especially when it comes to the conference championships, I think we really have potential to do pretty amazing.”

According to Edwards, alongside the positive energy, a commitment to consistent and demanding training will take the team closer to their goals of placing high in the conference.

“Right now, we are training six days a week,” Edwards said. “We are just doing a lot to get ourselves ready, always training hard and bringing the energy.”

Justin Edwards (sophomore), member of Occidental Track and Field Team, in the Lower Herrick at Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA. March 9, 2023. Liang Zhu/The Occidental

Brescia said that for her hammer PR, she really relied on her teammates in a way that she had not felt before. According to Brescia, it is a new event for her and so it was nice to feel the progress and have her teammates witness that.

“Hammer is the first event, so no one else is really getting going yet. Some distance runners and sprinters came to watch for my last throw,” Brescia said. “At first, I was really nervous because all my teammates were right in front of my eyesight, but the energy of having other people there was really special. It’s nice when everyone is cheering for each other at different events.”

According to Stearns, the Oxy Distance Carnival is the next event that the team is preparing for, and they plan to bring the same energy to the upcoming meet. He said that he hopes that more Occidental students will also come out to support the track and field teams at their upcoming events.

“People were having good days at the Pomona-Pitzer meet and that gets others excited to go out and watch and support the other events,” Stearns said. “All that positive energy ends up manifesting into you doing well personally. I’m really excited for where we’re headed. I have high hopes for this season as a team.”

Contact Nora Youngelson at youngelson@oxy.edu.


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