Relay teams make history to cap SCIAC Championships

The men's relay team stands on the podium.
Photo by Larry Newman

CLAREMONT, Calif. – A memorable ending wrapped up an exciting and record-breaking SCIAC Championships for the Chapman University track & field teams. The men's 4x400m relay became the first relay in school history to finish on the podium to end the meet.

Both the men's and women's team finished in eighth in the team standings but put together the highest point totals for Chapman since joining the conference in 2012-13. The men scored 23 points and the women scored 19 points to beat out Caltech.

The men's 4x400m relay capped a memorable meet with a narrow second place finish – the highest in school history at the championship meet with a time of 3:19.90. The Panthers went back and forth throughout the four legs with Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Occidental but finished just half a second behind the winning Stags team.

Sophomore Aki Shigeyama led off the relay and handed the baton to junior Cody Epstein. Epstein put the Panthers in front and handed off to freshman Zach Lietzke. With the Panthers in a close race but trailing CMS, freshman Scott Fitzpatrick took the baton and nearly chased down the leader as he crossed the finish line just a step behind.

The men's 4x100m relay nearly missed the podium as well to start the day. The Panthers ran a season-best 43.17 to take fourth by one-third of a second.

The men's 4x400m team wasn't the only relay to make history. The women's team of sophomore Gabi Siguenza, freshman Carly Trent, sophomore Tish Tajii and freshman Angelica Kolar broke the school record with a time of 4:08.29 to take seventh. The women's 4x100m relay took eighth with a 50.97.

Siguenza also took seventh in the 400m hurdles with a 1:07.42 and Tajii took ninth with a personal-best 1:08.98.

Freshman Arabella Reece had the top individual finish of the day for the Panthers, taking fourth in the 1500m run with a 4:47.62. She also took 12th in the 5000m run later in the day. For the men's team, junior Derek Ohara ran a 10.98 in the 100m dash to take fifth.

Shigeyama had another memorable 400m run in his individual final. The sophomore ran a personal-best time and was just a step off the school record with 49.68 to take sixth. Sophomore Armond Gray scored for the second day in a row as he landed in eighth in the triple jump. He jumped to a person-best 13.08 meters (42-11) to score in his second event of the meet. Senior Cedric Cole closed out his career with a personal-best toss of 41.32 meters (135-07) in the discus.

Sophomore Drake Butler made the finals of the 1500m run and took 10th with a personal-best time of 4:06.43. Kolar sprinted to a 12.88 in the 100m dash final and took ninth.

In head coach DeAndra'e Woods second year, the Panthers made a big jump in point totals with the women's team moving up a spot in the team standings from last year to this year.

Select Panthers will continue to compete over the next few week in pursuit of bids to the NCAA Division III Championships.