CLAREMONT — For two legs of the men's distance medley, the Occidental College men's track and field relay team of Cole Williams (San Francisco), Kevin Cox (Sedona, Ariz.), Will Moseley (Seattle) and Colin Smith (Las Vegas) was in front of USC on Saturday.
Too bad it's not a regular event that will be featured at SCIAC meets this year.
"It's kind of a novelty just for fun," Occidental College track and field coach Rob Bartlett said of the Rossi Relay special that breaks down: 1,200, 400, 800, and 1600 meters, in that order.
Williams, Oxy's stud freshman that's already turning heads after just two collegiate meets, showed off some serious wheels to get Oxy out to a surprising lead.
"Through three laps he was running a four-minute mile pace," Bartlett said.
Last weekend Williams lost by less than 1 second to Charles Jock — a U.S. national team runner — at the Pomona-Pitzer All Comers meet.
Cox was able to keep the lead through the 400, but with too much ground left and too much talent from the Trojans, Oxy had to settle for second, finishing in 10 minutes, 8.92 seconds. USC completed the race in 9:57.78.
Still, beating Cal State San Marcos, Cal Poly Pomona, among other higher-level schools, is nothing to sneeze at.
"It was fun. We beat Cal State San Marcos. They're on of the better NAIA programs, Bartlett said. "For a (Division III) school to beat (Division II's) and NAIA's was an achievement in itself."
There were no actual winners and no points scored at the annual Rossi Relays, hosted by Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Not that will count toward SCIAC championships anyway.
But there were some notable performances from a handful of Oxy athletes on the men's and women's teams.
Jenny Quilty (Sheffield, Mass.) was the fourth fastest SCIAC athlete in the 100 (12.88), Lauren Johnson (Culver, Ill.) was third among SCIAC runners in the 100-meter hurdles (15.96), andAustin Cheadle (Portland, Ore.) was second among SCIAC men's 100-meter runners (11.17).
Both Oxy track teams have their first SCIAC meet at home next Saturday, a multi dual against Cal Lutheran and Caltech.
"The thing I was most proud of was how the kids competed," Bartlett said. "If we maintain that kind of competitiveness and focus as we go forward, good things will happen."