Tigers on the Prowl

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Author: Compiled by David Weightman

W.  Golf: Chloe Johnson

As the only first-year on the women’s golf team, Chloe Johnson (Seattle, WA) has shouldered a lot of responsibility. “Chloe has been a wonderful addition to our program,” Coach Erik Johnson said. As Johnson builds the women’s golf program up, he looks to Johnson to provide a solid foundation and to set an example for others. “She is extremely dedicated and focused, and she prepares herself to get better on a weekly basis,” Johnson said. After a strong showing in a preseason tournament, Johnson started SCIAC play slowly, but her coach believes she has what it takes to become a centerpiece of the team. “Over the next few months, I expect Chloe to improve all aspects of her game and really help the women score well,” Johnson said.

M.  Rugby: Austin Irabor

Austin Irabor (Rancho Cucamonga, CA transferred to Occidental this year as a junior from Chaffey College, and he quickly found a home on the rugby team. Irabor never played rugby before coming to Occidental, but the learning curve has been smoothed with the help of fellow lock Thomas Jemielita (senior). “Lock is about technique, and it takes time to get good at. Austin’s a fast learner, and he asks a lot of questions,” Jemielita said. With Jemielita’s help, Irabor has become a valuable member of the team, starting alongside Jemielita in wins over Pacifica, Concordia and UNLV. “I have physical strength that allows me to make up for some of my technical shortcomings, but it’s been an adjustment playing a game that’s physically demanding nonstop,” Irabor said. His strength hasn’t gone unnoticed either. The football team tried to recruit him, but he quickly turned them down. “I love rugby too much. I really like the guys that make up this team. It’s lighthearted, it’s fun. Sometimes you forget you’re on the best D3 team in the country just because of how fun it is,” Irabor said.

M. Tennis: Jamie Grossman

Coach Brian Newhall was evidently impressed when describing Jamie Grossman (Tiburon, CA). “Jamie is an excellent athlete with a big upside,” Newhall said. Grossman gained a strong reputation as a high school player, earning a national ranking and recognition as one of the best players in the San Francisco area. In addition, he had a strong showing in a fall tournament. Grossman has a balanced all-court game and a strong forehand that he complements with his athleticism. “He has good quickness and lateral movement,” Newhall said. Grossman teamed with Ben Herrington-Gilmore to coast to an 8-3 doubles win in the season opener against Glendale Community College. With his forehand, athleticism and all-around game, Grossman is poised for a breakout season. Jamie has great composure on the court. He’s a solid tennis player and a great addition to the team,” teammate Kevin Siebs (sophomore) said.

Baseball: Joe Kling

At 6 foot 3 and with a chilling demeanor, Joe Kling (Kirksville, MO) presents an intimidating figure on the mound. “We call him ‘Cool Joe’ because nothing seems to affect him on the field. When you watch him you would have no idea what the score is or where we are in the game,” Coach Luke Wetmore said. Opposing batters this season have struggled to crack Kling’s composure. In three starts this season, Kling has posted an impressive 1.11 earned run average in 24.1 innings, conceding only 15 hits. “Joe doesn’t have an overpowering fastball, but he has great command. He hits the corners really well and puts his curveball wherever he wants it,” pitcher Harry Keyte (sophomore) said. Kling showed no signs of nervousness in his first career start for the Tigers, throwing five shutout innings to earn the win against La Sierra. Since then, Kling has continued to impress. During the Tigers’ weekend sweep of Redlands, he turned in his best start yet. Kling carved up the Bulldogs’ lineup, striking out seven and giving up only one hit and a home run through eight innings. If Kling continues to play at his current level, SCIAC hitters will face a daunting four years.

M.  Track & Field: Cole Williams

“He can sprint as well as run middle distance, he’s very versatile,” teammate Ryan Metzler (sophomore) said. Cole Williams (San Francisco, CA) ran the fifth fastest 800m time in California as a high school senior. Despite his outstanding results, no Division I schools showed any interest in him. By the time a big school came knocking, Williams had already decided on Occidental, and head coach Rob Bartlett is delighted to have him. Immediately proving his versatility, Williams excelled in the fall for the men’s cross country team that stormed to SCIAC and Division III West Region championships, crossing the finish line as the third fastest freshman in the country at the national championship meet. “The team’s great, we hang out a lot. We had a lot of fun in the fall, and that was a big reason behind our success,” Williams said. In Williams, Bartlett sees the consummate team player. “He’s very humble, a big team person. He didn’t need encouragement to shake everyone’s hand on the team,” Bartlett said. Williams’ polite, modest nature doesn’t hold him back on the track though. “Cole consistently rises to the level of the competition, he competes very well,” Bartlett said. Williams flashed a tantalizing season preview in the 1000m at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational, where he finished less than two seconds behind Charles Jock, a Division I champion and a member of the U.S. National team runner. “He’s going to have a very good year,” Metzler said.

W.  Track & Field : Jenny Quilty

Jenny Quilty (Sheffield, MA) began her collegiate career competing only in track for the first time in her athletic career. In high school, she played volleyball and basketball in addition to track. In college, however, she decided to narrow her focus. “I wanted to experience college sports,” Quilty said. Sprints Coach Tyler Yamaguchi anticipates rapid improvement as a result. “Now that she’s only running track, she’ll exceed her high school marks very quickly,” Yamaguchi said. Quilty should have no trouble achieving her potential, especially with her commitment to the program. “The coaches care a lot about why I’m doing the sport. They let yo
u get out as much as you put in,” she said. What she has put in appears to be substantial. At the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational to open the season, Quilty roared to the second best women’s 100 meter time in addition to a strong performance in the 200 meters. The results came as no surprise to Yamaguchi. “She quietly works extremely hard. Jenny does all the little things she needs to do to be the best athlete she can,” Yamaguchi said.

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