March 17th, 2012
EAGLE ROCK, Calif- The Master’s College Men’s distance track team continued their season Friday night at the Occidental Distance Carnival, hosted by Occidental College in Eagle Rock, CA.
The evening began with the men’s 1500m. Anthony Pizzo (Valencia, CA) and John Gilbertson (Saugus, CA) both broke the previous school record of 3:56, running times of 3:52 and 3:53 respectively. Finishing the race with a phenomenal kick, Pizzo won his heat, followed by a 4th place finish from Gilbertson. The two NAIA All Americans have now qualified for the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships in every event they have competed in this season (the marathon, half marathon qualifier, the 5000m, and the 1500m.) The duo boasts the top two fastest times on the NAIA National Performance List in both the 1500m and the 5000m, with Gilbertson currently holding the fastest time posted in the men’s half marathon.
Following the 1500m were two heats of the men’s 3000m steeplechase. Sophomore Matthew Crichton (Mission Viejo, CA) (2011 NAIA National qualifier) competed in the first heat, finishing in 9:38, 10 seconds shy of the provisional national qualifying mark; a good first outing for the season. For sophomore David Eller (Los Angeles, CA) and freshman John Hurd, (Fairview, PA) the night served as their debut in the event. Leading his heat through the first half of the 7 and ½ lap race, Eller suffered in the latter half and finished with a time of 10:09. Passing Eller in the final lap, teammate John Hurd would complete the race just one spot ahead, crossing the finish line in 10:03. All three men will look to produce NAIA national qualifying marks later in the season, and are off to a good start.
Also notable was a strong performance by Josiah Downer (Palmdale, CA) in the men’s 10,000m. Although not the race he hoped for, struggling through the second half of competition with blisters that bloodied his spikes, Downer managed to run a lifetime best of 31:52; the 3rd fastest 10k ran by a Mustang.
Next on the schedule for the Mustangs is the Cal Nevada Championships on March 31st at Claremont College