Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens

Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens
College Pomona College
Pitzer College
Conference Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference[1]
NCAA Division III
Athletic director Miriam Merrill[1]
Location Claremont, California
Football stadium Merritt Field[2]
Basketball arena Voelkel Gymnasium
Baseball stadium Alumni Field
Softball stadium Pomona-Pitzer Softball Stadium
Soccer stadium Pomona-Pitzer Soccer Stadium
Lacrosse stadium South Athletics Complex
Natatorium Haldeman Aquatics Center
Other arenas Pauley Tennis Complex
Strehle Track
Mascot Cecil the Sagehen
Nickname Sagehens
Colors Blue and orange[3]
Website www.sagehens.com

Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens is the joint athletics program for Pomona College and Pitzer College, two of the Claremont Colleges.[4] It competes in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) of the NCAA Division III. Its mascot is Cecil the Sagehen. Its primary rival is the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags and Athenas, the joint team of the three other undergraduate Claremont Colleges.[5]


There are 11 women's and 10 men's teams.[6]

Varsity teams[6]
Women's Men's
Basketball Baseball
Cross country Basketball
Golf Cross country
Lacrosse Football
Soccer Golf
Softball Soccer
Swimming and diving Swimming and diving
Tennis Tennis
Track and field Track and field
Volleyball Water polo
Water polo


Pomona College's first intercollegiate sports teams were formed in 1895.[1] The college was one of the three founding members of the SCIAC in 1914, and its football team played in the inaugural game at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1923, losing to the University of Southern California Trojans.[1] Between 1946 and 1956, Pomona joined with Claremont Men's College (CMC) to compete as Pomona-Claremont.[1] In 1970, Pomona began competing with Pitzer College (then seven years old) on an interim basis, and the arrangement became permanent two years later.[1]

The Sagehens ranked ninth out of 446 Division III schools and second among SCIAC schools in the 2019–2020 Division III NACDA Directors' Cup, which ranks athletics programs and awards points relative to their finish in NCAA championships.[7][8] The water polo, track and field, women's soccer, and women's tennis teams are regarded as particularly strong.[9]


Pomona-Pitzer's primary indoor athletics facility is the Liliore Green Rains Center for Sport and Recreation, built in 1989[10] and located near the center of Pomona's campus. It is undergoing renovation that is expected to be completed by 2022.[11][12] The Rains Center is complemented by various outdoor facilities, mostly located within the naturalistic eastern portion of Pomona's campus known as the Wash.[13]

Nickname and mascot

The Cecil the Sagehen costume (blue, with white wingtips and an orange beak and legs) at a function at Memorial Court
The third iteration of the Cecil the Sagehen costume (adopted in 2017[14]) dabbing
A brown and white sage-grouse approximately two feet tall, standing on dried grass with two inflated dark yellow sacs on its chest
A male sagehen with its gular sacs inflated during a courtship ritual

The official mascot of the team is Cecil the Sagehen, a greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus).[15][16] The bird is a large ground-dweller native to the western United States (although not Southern California), and is distinguished by its long, pointed tail and complex lek mating system. It is named after the sagebrush on which it feeds.[17]

Pomona-Pitzer is the only team in the world to use the Sagehen as a mascot,[18] and it is often noted for its goofiness.[19][20] Rather than in the grouse's natural brown and white colors, the mascot is rendered in the team's official colors, blue (for Pomona) and orange (for Pitzer).[21]

The precise origin of the nickname is unknown. Pomona competed under a variety of names in its early years, including "the Blue and White" and "the Huns".[1] The first known appearance of "Sagehens" was in a 1913 issue of The Student Life newspaper, and in 1918 it became the sole nickname.[15] Later Pomona-Claremont began using it, and it is now the nickname for the combined Pomona-Pitzer team. The first known reference to "Cecil" was made in the 1946 Metate (Pomona's yearbook).[15]


The Sagehens' primary rival is the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Stags and Athenas, the joint team of the three other undergraduate Claremont Colleges.[5][22] The rivalry is known as the Sixth Street Rivalry,[23] referring to the street that separates the teams' athletics facilities.[24] Historically, Pomona had a rivalry with the Occidental College Tigers.[18][24]

Notable athletes


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Athletic History". Sagehen Athletics. Archived from the original on August 18, 2018. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  2. ^ "Pomona Pitzer Athletic Facilities". SageHens.com. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  3. ^ "Cecil Image and Athletics Color Usage Guidelines". Pomona College. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  4. ^ Wharton, David (28 February 2019). "As the likes of USC and UCLA have struggled, tiny Pomona-Pitzer has big basketball dreams". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Sports and the Outdoors". Pomona College. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens". Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens. Archived from the original on January 28, 2017. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  7. ^ "2019-20 Learfield IMG College Directors' Cup Division III Fall Standings As of December 24, 2019" (PDF). National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
  8. ^ "Division III 2019-20 Facts and Figures" (PDF). National Collegiate Athletic Association. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  9. ^ Fiske, Edward B. (15 June 2019). Fiske guide to colleges 2020 (36th ed.). Naperville, Illinois. p. 147. ISBN 9781492664949.
  10. ^ "1989". Pomona College Timeline. Pomona College. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  11. ^ Márquez, Liset (26 December 2018). "Pomona College announces plans for a $55 million athletics and recreation center". Daily Bulletin. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  12. ^ Fitz, Allison (14 February 2020). "New Rains Center to be completed by 2022; 5Cs prepare for construction's effects". The Student Life. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  13. ^ "Campus Facilities". Pomona College Catalog. Pomona College. Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  14. ^ "Cecil 3.0". Pomona College Magazine. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  15. ^ a b c "The History of Cecil the Sagehen". Pomona-Pitzer Athletics. Retrieved 2016-12-08.
  16. ^ Hotaling, Debra (February 7, 1999). "Mascots Unmasked". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  17. ^ "The Bird". Sage Grouse Initiative. Retrieved 12 March 2021.
  18. ^ a b Bell, Alison (19 September 2010). "Theirs is a 'big game' of a different stripe". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  19. ^ Riley, Kayla (18 June 2012). "The Strangest College Mascots: Part III". Her Campus. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  20. ^ Kendall, Mark (6 April 2020). "Save the Sagehen". Pomona College Magazine. Pomona College. Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  21. ^ "Cecil Image and Athletics Color Usage Guidelines". Pomona-Pitzer Athletics. Retrieved 2018-09-27.
  22. ^ Zmirak, John (11 March 2014). Choosing the Right College 2014–15. Intercollegiate Studies Institute. ISBN 9781480492998.
  23. ^ Shapiro, Noah (26 April 2019). "Business as usual: Sagehen women's water polo beats CMS for 13th straight time". The Student Life. Retrieved 6 August 2020.
  24. ^ a b Reynolds, Kirk (1 April 1999). "The Rivalry". Pomona College Magazine. Pomona College. Retrieved 22 September 2020.

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