CLAREMONT — The annual Rossi Relays hosted by Claremont-Mudd-Scripps are exciting every year because the unusual event format calls for sprinters to pass the baton to distance runners and visa versa.
But for the Occidental College track teams, it was sprinter Jonathan Padron (Kapolei, Hawaii) and hurdler Jesse Wong (San Mateo) with impressive showings in individual events that were Oxy's two best performances, although Padron's was subpar by his high standards.
Padron placed second overall in 100-meter, finishing in 10.99 seconds. It's not a great time for him, but still one that's indicative of his ability and reputation.
"It was still impressive to see Jonathan finish second and beat out several other SCIAC and Division III runners even without putting his best foot forward," Occidental coach Rob Bartlett said of the defending SCIAC champion. "It gives him a measuring stick that shows him how good he can be if he's that fast on a bad day."
Wong ran his first 400-meter hurdles of the season — his feature event — in 55.92 seconds, a new personal best. Last year he ran 56.57 at the Oxy Invite.
"Jesse should be among the top five 400-meter hurdlers in the conference," Bartlett said. "And with his current rate of improvement, he looks to be a contender for the SCIAC championship."
Oxy's men's 4 x100-meter relay team, that has its sights set on qualifying for nationals, did not get to race due to an administrative error.
The Tigers had two men's teams and three women's teams compete in the distance medley relay, one of the meet's signature events that breaks down into 1,200, 400, 800 and 1,600 legs, in that order.
"It's a really fun way for the distance runners to get to compete as part of a relay," Bartlett said. "It's nice to see the sprinters mixed in with the distance runners in the same event."
Ayana-Malkia Foster (Oakland) split 60.9 in the 400 leg of Oxy's women's A team. Megan Lang (Longmont, Colo.), Oxy's No. 1 female cross country runner this past fall, ran the 1,200, Danielle Lyons (Lake Forrest Park, Wash.) ran the 800 and Deanna Dupuy (Newbury Park) finished the race with the 1,600. As a group, Oxy crossed the line in sixth out of 26 teams, in 12:44.79.
Cox finished fourth out of 24 athletes, jumping 21-feet, 9-inches in the long jump.
"Kevin's jump was a pretty significant early-season mark since he is still jumping off of a short approach," Bartlett said. "As the season progresses Kevin's approach will lengthen considerably, giving him additional speed down the runway."
Mayer jumped 33-6 in the triple jump, well over 1-foot further than she jumped last week (32-1.5).
"Hailey is way ahead of where she's ever been at this time of the season," Bartlett said. "It's her senior year and she is determined to have her best season yet."
Kurnizski showed off her natural athleticism by pole-vaulting 10-6 despite limited training due to injury.
Both Oxy teams open the SCIAC season with a quad meet at Pomona-Pitzer on March 3 against Chapman, La Verne and Whittier.