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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,

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.


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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