Sports In Brief Dec. 4

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Author: Ryan Whalen

Cross Country NCAA Championships

Junior transfer John Guzman dazzled spectators at the season finale NCAA Championships in the frigid weather of Hanover, Ind., taking home sixth place and an All-American selection with a time of 24:51.3 minutes. He was also one of only seven runners to post a time below 25 minutes. Guzman found himself in an abnormal scenario at the outset of the race, as he was not part of the leading pack of runners. Instead, he decided to nestle into the second group of competitors and make up ground as the 8k progressed. The Tiger speedster’s race strategy paid off, as he was able to pull into sixth with two kilometers left and hold onto the position for the remainder of the event. Teammate Colin Smith (junior) also earned a bid to the national championship meet after placing sixth overall at the West Regionals. However, Smith was unable to participate in nationals due to illness. With one year of eligibility remaining for each, Guzman and Smith both look to add to their individual success and times next season. Meanwhile, both the men’s and women’s squads, who both missed out on nationals as teams, will look to qualify in future years with returning corps of young talent.

Men’s Basketball: (1-2 Overall, 0-0 SCIAC)
The Occidental men’s basketball team captured its first victory of the season with a 79-69 win over the St. Katherine Firebirds on Nov. 23. The Tigers worked hard on the boards, out-rebounding their opponent 44-39 while forcing 21 turnovers. Senior forward Kris Montoya scored a game-high 30 points while guard Juwan Rice (junior) recorded a double-double. The black and orange was unable to build upon its success, losing to Bethesda University 78-68 Saturday. The Tigers open conference play at Caltech tonight at 7:30 p.m.

Women’s Basketball (4-2 Overall, 0-1 SCIAC)
The Occidental women’s basketball team bounced back from losing its first game of the season, winning three out of four games in a two-week span. The Tigers beat Colorado College for the second time this season on Nov. 22, 58-50. The black and orange started off Thanksgiving break with a close 45-42 loss to rival Redlands in its SCIAC home opener. But Occidental rebounded with back-to-back victories over the weekend, taking down La Sierra University and Crown College on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Senior guard Michelle Lo currently leads the Tiger offensive attack, averaging just under 10 points per game. Defensively, center Elizabeth Messick (senior) has pulled down 53 rebounds and blocked 20 shots. The black and orange resumes SCIAC play at Caltech tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.

Fall athletes earn accolades:
Men’s Cross Country:
All-American: John Guzman (junior)
USTFCCCA West Region Athlete of the Year: John Guzman (junior)
SCIAC Athlete of the Year: John Guzman (junior)
SCIAC Newcomer of the Year: John Guzman (junior)

Women’s Cross Country:
All-West Region: Jenna Wong (senior), Marnie Kinnaird (senior), Megan Bull (sophomore) and Mel Devoney (first-year)

Men’s Soccer:
Second Team All-SCIAC: Marcus Branford (senior)

Women’s Soccer:
First Team All-SCIAC: Elissa Minamishin (senior) and Taryn Ng (junior)
Second Team All-SCIAC: Kylie Takafuji (first-year) and Julie Khil (first-year)
Brine Award of Distinction: Tayler Renshaw (senior)

Volleyball:
First Team All-SCIAC: Stephanie Gann (senior)
Second Team All-SCIAC: Madyson Cassidy (senior)
AVCA All-Region Honorable Mention: Madyson Cassidy (senior)

Eda Graham (Women’s Basketball guard/forward No. 10)
The Occidental women’s basketball team has gotten off to a fast start with four wins in its first six games. The Tigers have a well-balanced offense and a hard-nosed defense. Junior transfer Eda Graham has played a significant role on the both ends of the floor, already integrating herself into the Occidental style of basketball despite only being a member of the team for half a dozen games. The Ventura College alumna earned an immediate position in head coach Anahit Aladzhanyan’s staring lineup and currently ranks third on the team with 4.2 rebounds per game and fourth on the squad with one assist per contest. The slasher is both a hard and efficient worker, keeping her averages up despite only playing 17 minutes per competition. Additionally, Graham is the older sister of guard Haley Graham (first-year), who averages 12 minutes per game to go along with the sure-handedness of a team-leading 1.7 turnover ratio. Although the Graham sisters have not made a big impact in the points column, their ability to be lock-down defenders has given a substantial boost to the black and orange defense. The Graham sisters and the rest of the Occidental women’s basketball squad travel to Caltech tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.

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