For many racing sports, a personal best can be just as nearly as great as winning. All athletes want to compete to the best of their abilities, so setting a PR is just another step in improvement.
In its first meet of the season — the UW Invitational, a two-day affair in Seattle, Washington — many athletes on the Cal track team kicked off the year with personal bests as well as a good number of top-five finishes.
Senior Bethan Knights was one of the star athletes for Cal on Friday, winning the 5000m and setting a personal best — a time of 15:45.95. To top it off, Knights recorded the second-fastest time in school history as well as the sixth-fastest time in 2018.
Another top finisher on Friday was sophomore Paramveer Chohan, who took third in the men’s 200m, clocking in at 21:99.11.
Friday’s meet saw the emergence of freshman Camryn Rogers, who competed in her first ever collegiate meet and notched a second-place finish in the weight throw. Rogers completed a toss of 65-6.25 (19.97m), which was enough for a PR.
Saturday also showed itself to be a fairly successful day for the Bears. While the Friday meet was primarily centered on Knights, redshirt freshman McKay Johnson captured the spotlight Saturday. With a throw of 64-5.25 in the shot put, Johnson won the event and set a school record in the process.
Cal also boasted three additional first-place winners in jumping events. Junior Lauren Martinez’s clearance of 13-4.50 in the pole vault was enough to put her atop the podium. She was joined by freshman Noelle Schiller, who won her first collegiate meet with a jump of 19-7.00. Sophomore Tuomas Kaukolahti also made a name for himself, winning first in the triple jump with a jump of 52-2.50. Kaukolahti competed in the long jump as well, finishing third with a jump of 23-10.0.
In the 60m hurdles, senior Ashtyn Davis finished third in the prelims with a time of 7.93 and third again in the finals with a time of 7.91. Davis was up against some tough competition for the title, losing to Aleec Harris, who was the 60m hurdles 2015 Indoor National Champion, and Siddhanth Thingalaya who was on the 2017 Indian national championship team.
The Bears clearly have a very strong team in both the track and the field events. With so many athletes achieving PRs and a handful of freshmen finding success in their first collegiate meet, it’s difficult to imagine the team not getting increasingly better as the season progresses.
While the first meet is not completely indicative of the rest of the season, it does set a precedent. With its first one in the books, Cal has made a statement that standards are very high this season.
Taylor Choe covers track and field. Contact her at [email protected]