LOUISVILLE, KY. - -The Pomona-Pitzer Men's Cross Country team claimed its first ever NCAA National Championship on Saturday morning at Tom Sawyer State Park.
The Sagehens earned the 2019 National Championship as well as the NCAA West Regional Championship en route to the best season in program history. This is the first time that the Sagehens have ever seen the podium in program history and ends a three-year reign from North Central College.
"This really is surreal, words can't really describe the feelings from today," said Head Coach Jordan Carpenter. "So much elation and excitement for what these guys accomplished today. We came in with the goal of finishing on the podium, but we hadn't really talked about the ability to win. We have such a young group and only had three runners with national meet experience so I honestly thought that next year would be our chance to win. The guys proved me wrong and We had an amazing day today. The group ran with confidence and executed their race plans to perfection. The conditions were wet and muddy, but it didn't matter. The message to the team was that "fitness doesn't lie," meaning they just needs to run hard and trust in their training to carry them through the race."
Pomona-Pitzer ended the day with a team best total of 164. North Central finished in second at 182, Williams in third at 183, Washington U. In fourth at 193 and rounding out the podium was Johns Hopkins in fifth at 208.
Pomona-Pitzer also had two All-American performances in their top-two runners. Ethan Widlansky came off of his West Region Championship and added All-American to his resume with a seventh place finish at 24:32.9. Not far behind Widlansky was Dante Paszkeicz who also earned All-American honors with a 16th place finish with a time of 24:48.5. Widlansky and Paszkeicz become the 9th and 10th All-Americans in program history.
"Ethan ran such a strong effort and completed one of the most consistent seasons I've ever seen," said Carpenter. "He put himself in the mix with the front guys early and battled to the line for a top-10 performance. Last year at this meet Ethan finished 192nd. Dante also had his best race of the season today in finishing 16th. Dante ran with such confidence today; I could tell by the midway point in the race that today was going to be a good one for him. He closed so well and really was a key piece in the team win for us as he picked up 14 spots in the final mile. Dante finished 118th a year ago at this meet."
Just missing the cut for All-American honors was Daniel Rosen who finished just outside the top-40 in 41st with a time of 24:57.9. Ethan Ashby finished his race in 68th overall with a time of 25:15.0, Owen Keiser finished in 71st place finish with a time of 25:15.8 and Hugo Ward took 122nd with a time of 25:35.8. rounding out the National Championship performance for the Sagehens was Joe Hesse-Withbroe who took 164th with a time of 25:51.5.
"The rest of our top-5 runners all were making their national meet debuts for us and really showed up. The improvement this group has made from last year is remarkable."
The Sagehens hoist the NCAA National Championship trophy for the first time since the 1992 Women's Tennis team completed the Triple Crown.