LOS ANGELES — The Occidental College men's 4 x 400 meter relay team is shaping up as one of the best, if not the best, teams in the SCIAC.
Alex Nieves (Stevenson Ranch), Kevin Cox (Sedona, Ariz.), Will Moseley (Seattle) and Cole Williams (San Francisco), combined to finish the race in 3 minutes, 19.34 seconds at the Tigers first SCIAC multi-dual meet on Saturday, an impressive NCAA Division III time for this point in the season.
"The benchmark for this level is 3:20. We've gone under that before, but only at the end of the season," Occidental College track and field coach Rob Bartlett said. "For us to go (3:19.34) this early in the season is a big deal. It's a good indicator for later in the season."
The Oxy men beat Caltech 114-37, but lost to Cal Lutheran 88-74, both results that were somewhat expected going into the meet.
Cox also set a personal best in the 200, running the race in 22:39 in his first 200 of the year.
Oxy freshman Jesse Wong (San Mateo) won the 400 hurdles, finishing the race in 57.37.
"He's still very raw, but he's got a lot of potential," Bartlett said.
La Verne hosted the tournament at Occidental, but the Tigers did not score against the Leopards, nor did they pay attention to where they were on the track. Bartlett encouraged his athletes to keep the team score in mind over outstanding individual performances.
For example in the 800, Williams was in cruise control well behind Moseley, who won the race, despite maybe being able to catch several ULV runners in front of him. The idea was that by saving himself a bit in the 800 and still finishing second, he'd have more juice left for the 4x400 at the end of the meet.
"The only person he finished behind was Moseley," Bartlett said. "From a scoring perspective, it was about the team first, not about great individual performances. Those days will come."
Colin Smith (Las Vegas) won the 1,500 and the 5k for the Tigers.
"He's going to run faster, but he did the minimum he had to do to win and looked very confident doing it," Bartlett said.
Oxy host Pomona-Pitzer in its next dual meet of March 9.