Cal track and field dominates at outdoor opener

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It’s always important to make a good first impression, and Cal’s track and field team took that to heart this Saturday, using its home opener to the outdoor season to make a resounding statement.

The Bears had a near-perfect finish to the California Outdoor Opener at Edwards Stadium, with the men’s team placing first with 157.50 points while the women’s team finished second place with 114 points, just short of UC Davis’ 116.

Cal’s dominance on Saturday, however, came against a small pool of competition that featured only three other teams: UC Davis, San Francisco, and Stanford. Out of the three competitors, Stanford was the only ranked team (16th in indoor track and field), but it sent a limited roster to the meet.

In addition to the team accolades, Cal racked up a total of 19 individual event titles, as well as several new personal records for the athletes. There were many new faces out on the field representing the Bears on Saturday, a result of the change in roster from the indoor to outdoor season.

“Some of our student-athletes from the indoor season didn’t compete today, and for others, it was a good chance to get their feet wet and I thought it was very good for an early season meet,” said director of track and field, Tony Sandoval to Cal Athletics.

In the hammer throw, an event exclusive to outdoor track and field, redshirt junior CJ Nwuzi set a career high mark of 175-7. The mark earned him sixth place in an event that featured Scott Esparza bringing home the victory. Redshirt senior Derek White captured the discus title with a throw of 185-2, with Nwuzi finishing second.

Sophomore Grace Beaudoin also set a new personal best in the high jump by clearing a height of 5-8.75. Other personal records from Saturday include redshirt senior Maurice Valentine, Jr. in the 110-meter hurdles, junior Joost de Jong in the 400-meter run, junior Chris Walden in the 1500-meter race, and redshirt senior Dash Oliver in the 200-meter sprint.

While they didn’t set any new records for themselves, redshirt sophomore Jonte Grant and senior Charnell price were arguably the most valuable athletes to the men’s and women’s squads, each winning two titles. Grant won the long jump and triple jump events, while Price captured both the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints titles. Also noteworthy were the men’s and women’s 1500-meter run, which brought out some of Cal’s best performances of Saturday. Jordan Locklear, the runner who propelled Cal to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title just last weekend, and Sydney Gray both posted times high enough to qualify them for the NCAA regionals.

Kapil Kashyap covers track and field. Contact him at [email protected].