It was 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, a full two hours into the meet, but Edwards Stadium was empty. With the exception of 10 to 15 seats, the sea of bleachers was completely unoccupied. If not for the voice of the announcer, the scene could have been mistaken for an ordinary practice. But the lack of a crowd didn’t stop Cal’s Andrew Cruikshank and Jaci Powell from staying focused on the competition, and the results showed that.
The Cal track and field team had an eventful week, with two athletes participating in the California Multi’s Meet and a handful of athletes traveling to Sacramento for the Hornet Open. Both Cruikshank and Powell — Cal’s representatives at the Multi’s Meet — performed extremely well. Against a field of four other competitors, Powell placed first in the heptathlon. The highlight of her performance was the javelin throw, a victory that catapulted her into first place, which she would hold onto for the remainder of the competition. Cruikshank was up against a larger group of eight others but still secured second place, thanks to his performance in the 110-meter hurdles.
“Jaci had a strong second day, as expected,” said director of track and field Tony Sandoval to Cal Athletics. “We’re all encouraged about her moving forward into the outdoor season. Andrew did record a PR for him in spite of a couple of events that he struggled with, but he persevered, and I am very pleased with his effort.”
The Bears were dominant at the Hornet Open, with a total of seven individual titles in addition to a men’s relay title. At the end of Saturday, the men captured first place, and the women finished in second place, out of a pool of 23 schools.
On the men’s side, senior Derek White earned two titles in the hammer throw and discus. Other athletes who won individual titles include Noel Frazier (high jump), Randy Bermea (400-meter hurdles), Leland Later (1500-meters) and Simon Schmidt (3000-meter steeplechase). The men’s team finished with a commanding total of 182 points, beating out the second-place finisher — Cal State Stanislaus — by more than 130 points.
While Grace Beaudoin was the only one of two women to earn an individual title, strong performances in other events propelled the women’s team to finish second with a total of 81 points. Sacramento State captured the women’s title, with 112 points.
While neither of these events was particularly significant, each helped the athletes get reacclimated to competing. These two meets also served as indicators to gauge how well the team’s preparation was going. If there are any takeaways from this week, it’s that the Bears’ preparations are working.
Contact Kapil Kashyap at [email protected]