Kleinsasser four-peats, makes history for Tigers

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.

"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.

With 6:28 left in the fourth quarter, Collis completed a 27-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Ryan Rodriguez on fourth down to give the Tigers a 27-17 advantage.

"Huge play. It really wasn't designed for Rodriguez, we were just trying to get a first down," Occidental Coach Dale Widolff told the university's website. "We were trying to leak the back out, they covered it and Luke just made a great decision and a great throw."

Collis tossed a four-yard touchdown pass to Rodriguez to give Occidental a 21-17 lead with 25 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Less than two minutes into the third quarter, Collis threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Matthew Tuckness to give the Tigers a 14-3 advantage.

In seven games, Collis has completed 203 of 326 passes for a 62.3 passing percentage. He's thrown for 2,186 yards, 21 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Occidental will next meet host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps at 1 p.m. Saturday in a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game. The Tigers are 2-2 in conference.

Rian Younker (St. Francis High, 2009) Cal Lutheran football, junior: The Kingsmen wrapped up their third straight Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title Saturday with a 54-6 victory over Claremont.

Younker, a defensive lineman, and the rest of Cal Lutheran's defense, shut down Claremont's running game. The Stags ran for just 80 yards on 36 carries Saturday after coming into the game averaging more than 207 yards per game.

Younker had another impressive game with five tackles (three solo and two assisted), which was the second most for 10th-ranked Cal Lutheran on Saturday. Younker also added a sack in the game, bringing his totals to 32 tackles (17 solo and 15 assisted), 10 1/2 tackles for loss and six sacks this season.

Cal Lutheran (6-1, 5-0 in conference) will face Chapman on the road at 7 p.m. Saturday in a conference contest.

Nathan Sellers (Crescenta Valley High, 2006) Adams State College men's cross-country, senior: Sellers, who also starred at Glendale Community College, and the Grizzlies finished second behind Western State College at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference championships on Oct. 22 at Willis Case Golf Course in Denver.

According to the university's website, it also marked the first time that Adams State was beaten by a Division II team since the 2007 NCAA Division II Championships, a run of 22 straight races.

Western State College finished with 28 points and Adams State registered 31.

Sellers finished second in the conference race, clocking 25:10 to earn all-conference honors.

Adams State will next participate in the NCAA Division II Central Regional Championship, which will take place Saturday in Denver.

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