By Michael Wells
Sports Information Director

LOS ANGELESClaire Larson (Columbus, Ohio), a two-time defending SCIAC champion in the 800 meters, picked up right where she left off two years ago despite missing last year with a foot injury.

The senior mid-distance runner won the 800 meters at the Occidental College women's track and field team's first SCIAC multi dual on Saturday.

Oxy beat Caltech 94-68, but lost to Cal Lutheran 112-49. La Verne hosted the meet at Oxy, but the Leopards did not score against the Tigers.

Larson finished the race in 2 minutes, 18.40 seconds nearly 4 seconds faster than the second-place finished, Ashley Frese from Cal Lutheran (2:22.07).

Larson posted qualifying times for nationals and was putting the finishing touches on a quality season in 2010, her sophomore year, before breaking her foot on what Oxy head coach Rob Bartlett said may have been the, "last rep, of her last workout of the season."

The injury sidelined her for all of last season, but now she seems to be healthy and hitting her stride.

"She won the 800 in her freshman and sophomore years," Bartlett said. "This is her on the comeback trail and she's nearly right back to where she was two years ago."

Larson wasn't the only Tiger doing well in trying to make up for lost time.

Marnie Kinnaird (Oak Park, Ill.), who missed last season, won the 5 k for the Tigers, with the best time of any female athlete at the meet (18:54.16).

"Marnie has been out for a year so to come out with a win is impressive," Bartlett said, adding that what was even more impressive was the convincing fashion she won it in. Kinnaird finished almost 32 seconds faster than Cal Lu's Toccoa Kahovec (19:26.75).

Oxy's Sierra Walker (San Diego) won the 3,000 meter steeple chase (12:01.62).

Deanna Dupuy (Newbury Park) and Danielle Lyons (Lake Forrest Park, Wash.)  posted lifetime bests for the Tigers in the 1,500, finishing in second and third respectively.

Kristina Gustovich (La Canada) jumped 1.57 meters in the high jump.

The Tigers are back on the track on March 9 in a dual meet with Pomona-Pitzer.