LOS ANGELES — Mixed in with professionals, Olympians and NCAA Division I competitors, a handful of Occidental College track and field athletes stepped up their games at Bill Henry Track on Saturday.
Brooke Staton (Clarksville, Md.) nailed a couple of personal bests in the long jump and triple jump, Deanna Dupuy (Newbury Park) became Oxy's third-best woman all-time in the 5k and Kevin Cox (Sedona, Ariz.) broke 23 feet in the long jump at the 2013 Oxy Invitational, a meet that annually features some of the best track and field athletes around.
Dupuy, a senior who ran the best race of her career at the Oxy Distance Carnival back in March, beat that mark, completing the race in 17 minutes, 47.59 seconds. Only Becky Kopchik and Michelle Trimble have posted better 5K times as members of the Oxy women's team.
"Deanna's 5k PR moves her up to third on the school all-time list and she's already ranked fifth in the 1,500 meter," Occidental track and field coach Rob Bartlett said. "She ends her career as truly one of the best distance runners to ever attend Occidental."
Cox finished seventh overall in the long jump, going 23 feet, 1.75 inches.
"Kevin's been looking great all year and has been due for a lifetime best in the long jump," Bartlett said. "Breaking the 23-foot barrier is a big deal and makes Kevin one of the better long jumpers in both the SCIAC and Division III."
Staton excelled in two events. The senior went 36-2.75 in the triple jump and 18-0.5 in the long jump.
Competing right beside her in the long jump was the current world leader Torie Bowie, the 2011 Indoor and Outdoor NCAA Division I national champion for Southern Mississippi.
She wasn't the only headliner that was rubbing elbows with the Tigers.
The fast section of the 100 meter featured names like Walter Dix, Sam Effah, Samuel Francis and Mickey Grimes, who went 1-2-3-4 in the event.
Dix reached the finals of the 100 and 200 at the 2008 Olympics, winning two bronze medals. In 2011, he was the American champ in the 100 and 200 and earned silver in both events at the World Championships.
Dix, whose career best in the 100 is 9.88, cruised for a smooth 10.11 at Oxy. Just moments after he went off the blocks, Oxy star sprinter and two-time SCIAC Champion Jonathan Padron (Kapolei, Hawaii) posted a very respectable 10.70 in Section 2.
"It's an incredible meet and Oxy has an incredible reputation in the track community," Bartlett said. "Our track is one of the faster collegiate tracks in the country because it was designed specifically to be a training facility for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and we have a long storied history of success at Oxy. For these reasons we are able to provide our current student-athletes and alums with an opportunity to see some of the world's best up close every year at the Oxy Invite."
Both Oxy men's and women's teams will have one final qualifying opportunity next Saturday at the Oxy-Lu Last Chance Qualifier.