Blowouts are inherent to all sports, but the wide-margin losses are differentiated by varying degrees of humiliation. In late March, UCLA men’s baseball put up 20 uncontested points against Cal, an event that likely had the Bears wishing there was a mercy rule in play. During the 2016 season, Cal football lost to Washington by more than five touchdowns, proving that defense wins championships but a lack thereof makes for the best blowouts.
A quick glance at the results from the 90th Kansas Relays would reveal nothing less than a Cal blowout — the men taking third, trailing 91 points behind winning team Kansas, and the women coming in last, with the victor coming in 67 points ahead. But Cal has shown throughout the season that its strength, unlike the Golden State Warriors, is not in numbers. Rather, most of the team’s success has come from individual athletes. Although undergoing massive losses as a team, the Bears still managed to make the outing worthwhile by racking up a handful of first-place finishes and several new personal records.
Junior Ashley Anderson, who accounted for one of Cal’s first-place finishes, also set a new best in the the triple jump event. With a previous season best of 12.89 meters, Anderson added four inches to her jump, recording a distance of 12.99 meters.
Sophomore Kendall Mader did not reach the top of the podium this weekend, but she did find a place on Cal’s top-10 list in the discus event. Mader finally toppled her previous PR of 51.51 meters, a mark that had stood since the second meet of her freshman year. While the throw of 53.22 meters was 12 feet shorter than the first-place Minnesota junior, it was still enough to move Mader up to the No. 8 spot in school history.
Sophomore Malik McMorris was another Bear who missed the top tier of the podium, but he still managed to build upon his previous work and rack up a new PR in the discus event. Adding nearly five feet to his previous best, recorded just two weeks prior, his new longest distance stands at 55.77 meters. Since Cal’s outdoor opener on March 4th, McMorris has improved his throw in every meet, so if he can continue this pattern of constant growth through the last few meets of the season, he could sneak into the championships — unlikely to reach the podium, but as a contender nonetheless.
Junior Ashtyn Davis, Cal’s premier athlete and model of consistency this season, did not disappoint in the 110-meter hurdle event, racking up his fifth consecutive win of the season. While Davis did not surpass his PR time of 13.65 seconds, he more than got the job done, leading his closest opponent by more than half a second. This win added to Davis’ already impressive resume, and he has proved throughout the duration of the season that he is Cal’s best shot at winning in the NCAA Championships.
This weekend’s meet was not Cal’s prettiest outing on paper, but it may prove to be pivotal for some athletes. Blowout or not, a select group of individuals from the team exemplified growth and perhaps even put themselves in national championship contention.
Christie Aguilar covers track and field. Contact her at [email protected].