When you walk into a lecture hall for the first time, you look around and observe a sea of unfamiliar faces. You take the seat that seems most innocuous, but ultimately, you’re surrounded by a bunch of people you do not know. And while you are in close proximity to your classmates, that does not necessarily mean you care about their performances in the class. Track and field has a similar dynamic to that of an academic class, in that no athletes really compete against each other, but simply compete next to each other.
As the Cal track and field team heads to Sacramento for the Hornet Multi Meet, its success will not be based on which schools it is competing against but rather on how well it can contest its own personal records.
The last time Sacramento State and Cal competed next to each other was Feb. 10 and 11 at the Husky Indoor Classic. The Bears competed significantly better than the Hornets, totaling 10 top-five finishes, including three first-place finishes. The Hornets, however, totaled only five top-five finishes, with one first-place finish.
Based on those results, one would assume that Cal is the favorite in the upcoming meet, but when players are competing against themselves nothing can be assumed. Some teams on campus can attest to that notion and exemplify that an underdog can easily eradicate a top seed.
In any case, these smaller meets are treated more as practice, and the primary focus is to improve on individual marks. Track and field is an extremely competitive sport, and in any given week there can be a new fastest time in the nation. If steady improvement on times and distances is not made throughout the season, it is unlikely that an athlete will qualify for nationals.
Cal’s consistent veterans, who are no strangers to national championships, have been leading the way throughout the season. Junior Ashtyn Davis is the king of hurdles, junior Destiny Parker reigns over the platform in throwing events and senior Thomas Joyce dominates in long distance.
At the most recent outdoor meet, however, Cal’s younger members came out with many impressive marks. A total of five freshmen took first place in their events: Diab Davis in the 100 meters, Cole Johnson in the 400 meters, Robert Brandt in the 3,000 meters, McKay Johnson in both the shot put and discuss and Terence Wilson in the javelin. The newest members of the team have shown that they are not to be disregarded simply because of their lack of collegiate experience.
Younger members and seasoned vets alike will look to set new standards for themselves this weekend. The Bears will try to leave a history of their own on the famous city and look to strike gold at the podium.
Christie Aguilar covers track and field. Contact her at [email protected].