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Tigers take third place

Eric Kleinsasser leads the way for Occidental College with record- setting performance at Pomona-Pitzer Invite.

October 01, 2011|By Gabriel Rizk, gabriel.rizk@latimes.com

The following are updates on area athletes at the collegiate level.

Eric Kleinsasser (Crescenta Valley High, 2007) Occidental College men's cross-country, senior: Racing against some of the top National Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics squads in the state, Kleinsasser led the Tigers to a third-place team finish in the Pomona-Pitzer Cross-Country Invitational when he finished second overall in a time of 24 minutes 48 seconds on Saturday morning in Claremont.

Occidental finished with a score of 78 points to easily surpass fourth-place La Verne (136) and finish behind Cal State San Marcos (38) and Westmont (61), which are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 nationally, respectively, in the NAIA. The top five individual finishers all broke the previous course record on Saturday.

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Kleinsasser, who was the top scoring runner on Saturday, as race winner Sam Hyams ran unattached, and the Tigers will be back on the Pomona-Pitzer course Nov. 12 when they host the NCAA West Regional.

"I like the course for the regional meet. I think it is unconventional and a little tricky," Kleinsasser said in an Occidental press release. "I think it kind of messes with people which is what cross-country should be about."

Western Nelson (Burroughs High, 2009) Cal State San Marcos men's cross-country, junior: Nelson, another Pacific League alum, also enjoyed a strong showing at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational on Saturday, finishing just behind Occidental's Kleinsasser in third place in 25:04.70.

Cal State San Marcos bested Kleinsasser's Tigers, overall, however, securing a second-place team finish.

Nelson, a 2010 NAIA All-American in cross-country and two-time NAIA Track and Field National qualifier, has been the top runner this season for the Cougars, who are ranked No. 2 in the NAIA.

Jessica Alvarez (Glendale Community College, 2011) Southern Vermont College women's volleyball, junior: In her first match since garnering New England Collegiate Conference Player of the Week honors, Alvarez, an outside hitter, led the Mountaineers with 14 kills and 17 digs in a 25-17, 25-20, 25-14 nonconference road win over Simmons on Thursday.

Continuing the team's red-hot 17-2 start to the season, the victory was Southern Vermont's eighth in a row.

Alvarez, who graduated from Bellarmine-Jefferson High in 2008, earned the conference's weekly honor for the week of Sept. 18-24 with a pair of big performances against Williams on Sept. 21 and SUNY Cobleskill on Sept. 23.

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