As most students have shipped off for spring break, the Cal track and field teams will be making a trip of its own this weekend. With the conclusion of the indoor season marked by the end of the NCAA Indoor Championships last weekend, the Bears are looking to use this weekend’s meet to prepare for the upcoming outdoor meets that will be scored within the Pac-12.
Starting this Thursday, the Bears will be sending select members of the team to compete in Sacramento State’s Hornet Multi Meet at the newly renovated Hornet Stadium track. Meanwhile, most Cal athletes, including those who competed in the NCAAs, will stay back to prepare for the Pac-12 vs. Big-10 Team Challenge next week.
“We can’t have everyone compete in the same events every weekend. For example, if you ran the 5,000-meter every weekend, you would break,” said Cal track and field director Tony Sandoval. “We usually try to have throwers at every meet though.”
Cal is one of the biggest schools that competes in the meet so it gives them a chance to outperform their opponents who aren’t as used to competing against higher-level competition. Smaller junior colleges such as American River and Santa Rosa typically make up the majority of the field at the Hornet Invitational.
Last year, then-freshman Bethan Knights placed second in the 800-meter run, finishing in just 2:10.73. Also participating in the 800-meter run, then-sophomore Eugene Hamilton III won the race by a margin of more than one second.
Then-junior Mariel Mendoza won the 5,000-meter run with a time of 17:29.59, as did her male counterpart, Yohaness Estifanos. The then-sophomore finished in only 14:32.06.
In the field side of the competition, Cal women placed first, second and third in the triple jump.
Additionally, then-freshman Peter Simon — who just competed in the NCAAs last weekend — won the shot put, throwing a distance of 17.34 meters, followed by Matthew Esparza with 16.68 meters.
Despite many impressive performances, however, both the men’s and women’s teams ended up ranking second to Sacramento State overall in the 2015 meet.
One thing that the Bears can be proud of is the fact that there are multiple Cal athletes that hold course records at Sacramento State, including Ryan Young who set the record for men’s javelin in 2006, and Noel Frazier, who set the record for men’s high jump in 2014.
This meet will give athletes that are not usually in the spotlight the opportunity to rank and score points for their team.
“This is mostly a meet for those who didn’t compete in outdoor or need more practice to gain some experience,” Sandoval said.
Though it is certainly desirable to break a meet record, this being the first meet of the outdoor season, the Bears should first and foremost focus on setting benchmarks and goals that they will aspire toward for the remainder of the season.
Lucy Schaefer covers track and field. Contact her at [email protected].