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Kleinsasser four-peats, makes history for Tigers

Former Falcon is first in SCIAC history to win four conference titles in cross-country.

November 02, 2011|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@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: The accolades keep coming for Kleinsasser, who once again ruled the course in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference individual championship. He made history after winning his fourth consecutive conference crown Saturday at Prado Park in Chino.

Kleinsasser raced his way into unchartered territory in winning his fourth title, clocking 25 minutes 37 seconds on the 4.96-mile course and becoming the first athlete in the conference's history to win four straight individual crowns. In addition, Kleinsasser guided the Tigers to a first-place team finish and the conference team championship.

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"It's really just sort of nailing in the final component of that goal," Kleinsasser said on the university's website. "The real excitement today is combining that with the team championship. For it to come together that way, that's the real icing on the cake."

Kleinsasser won his third race of the season. He also captured the SCIAC Multi Dual at La Mirada on Oct. 15 and the UC Riverside Invitational on Sept. 17. Kleinsasser has also been tabbed the conference's male student-athlete of the year seven times during his superb run at Occidental.

Kleinsasser's efforts on the course were praised by Occidental Coach Rob Bartlett.

"It's obviously a unique accomplishment that has never been done before," Bartlett told the university's website. "It's just a testament to his hard work, his attitude and really his dedication over four years. … As a coach you couldn't ask for more."

Occidental will serve as host to the NCAA Division III West Regional at Pomona-Pitzer in Claremont on Saturday, something Kleinsasser has begun to prepare for.

"The conference has gotten really competitive in last couple of years," Kleinsasser said. "I feel confident about our chances going up against the teams from the Northwest."

Luke Collis (St. Francis High, 2007) Occidental College football, senior: The former All-Area and All-Mission League quarterback enjoyed another big effort Saturday. Collis completed 20 of 34 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns to help propel host Occidental College to a 27-17 nonconference victory against Chapman University.

With Occidental struggling with its running attack, Collis went to the air to come through for the Tigers, who improved to 4-3.

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