Cal track & field starts season at Washington Indoor Invitational

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After its long-awaited start to the 2017 season, the Cal track and field team will finally be making its indoor stadium debut at the Washington Indoor Invitational. And while several members of the mid- and long-distance team have been staying in shape during Cal’s 2016 cross country season, this weekend’s meet will be the first opportunity for both track and field athletes to compete simultaneously.

“This is a rust-buster,” said director of track and field Tony Sandoval. “It’s a long way from when we finished in December, so we’ve got to take a couple of weeks to get the kinks out for our first real competition.”

Sophomore Lauren Martinez will get things started for the Bears on Friday on the pole vault. Although she will be Cal’s lone female representative for the event, she comes with a pedigree that is rightfully impressive, as she is a four-time New Mexico state pole vault champion.

On the men’s side of the event, sophomore Tyler Brendel will be looking to pick up a high-scoring mark. Brendel is a multis specialist who placed ninth at last season’s Pac-12 Championships in the decathlon, with a total of 6,932 points.

Saturday will also include the women’s 5,000 meters, which star Cal distance runner Bethan Knights will be participating in. While she hasn’t yet run the 5K during the indoor season, she finished in first and third place in the event during the outdoor Stanford Invitational and Pac-12 Outdoor Championships, respectively.

Redshirt junior Eugene Hamilton III will be participating in the second day of the event in the 800 meter. After obtaining an injury early in the outdoor season last year and redshirting, he will look forward to completing some unfinished business.

While the meet will serve as a chance to have some more experienced members of the team rack up points for Cal, it will also give the team’s freshmen the opportunity to experience their first indoor meet without much pressure.

“We’ll be like children on Christmas day,” Sandoval said. “We’ll just see what kind of presents are available to us.”

Chris Tril is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected].