Author: Malcolm MacLeod
The Tigers hosted the Occidental Distance Carnival last Friday, an event that has been held on the college’s campus since the 80’s. In a meet restricted to distance events, student-athletes and professionals alike from all over the country pushed themselves to, quite literally, go the distance.
Considering the number of teams competing at this meet, the Tigers faced a great deal of adversity. Depending on the race, the number of competitors on the track ranged from as few as nine to as many as 59 in the meet’s longest race, resulting in a great deal of elbowing, shoving and jockeying for positions at the starting line.
“You are always competing against someone the entire race, which helps a lot to push yourself to run a fast time,” Louis Jochems (sophomore) said.
At a meet in which team standings count for nothing and striving for your personal best is the goal, Occidental’s athletes thrived on their home track against steep competition. “The meet is a lot of fun for the team to run. Because it’s on their track, they get to compete against good competition with no pressure other than a desire to try and PR,” head coach Rob Bartlett said.
Most notably, Deanna Dupuy (senior) recorded the fifth-best time for the women’s 5k in Occidental College history. Dupuy ran a time of 17:51.91 minutes in the immensely competitive Section 1 of the 5,000-meter race, placing 18th out of thirty-five. Running against the exceptional competition of the day brought the best out of Dupuy, who has been consistently improving since she ran the 5k in around 20 minutes as a first-year. Not intimidated by the caliber of her competition, Dupuy made it her goal to chase down the professional runner in front of her, staying focused on running at a pace between 86 and 87 seconds per lap.
A number of athletes recorded lifetime PR’s in this meet alongside Dupuy: Jenna Wong (senior) set a PR in the 5k as well, coming in at 18:38.67 minutes while Jayson Yuter’s (first-year) 17:29.36 minutes in the 5k bested his previous personal record by seven seconds, Danielle Lyon’s 11:59.78 minutes in the 3,000-meter steeple chase broke her best mark by four seconds and Jesse Wong (sophomore) ran a 1:57.67 minutes in the 800-meters, the first time he had run the race since high school.
“The Distance Carnival is always very exciting because a lot of runners of different speeds and different stages in our careers all get to come and race each other and test themselves,” Lyons said.
The Tigers prepare for the SCIAC Multi-Dual 2 meet on Saturday. Having pushed themselves to their limits last week without the pressure of league competition, they will attempt to attack this week’s meet with even more fervor when it really counts.
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