Cal track and field excels at Husky Classic

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Aditi Raghunath/File

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With every new season, there’s always a going to be some changes. Athletes graduate, new recruits come in, and some returners make “the leap.” Fortunately for Cal, its performance at the Husky Classic showed that the team didn’t miss a beat from last season.

At the Husky Classic, a two-day affair in Seattle, Washington, where some of the nation’s top collegiate and professional athletes turned in some extremely impressive marks, Cal still found a way to show out.

“This is one of the top meets in the country. … We had some outstanding marks. This was a great opportunity, especially for our young people to compete against some of the best people they’ve ever had a chance to compete against,” said Cal track and field head coach Tony Sandoval.

Sophomore Paramveer Chohan was one of the Bear’s standout performers on the first day of the meet, running a 21.93 in the 200-meter — just .01 seconds off of his personal record. His time was good enough for fourth place in the competitive field. Junior Connor Meech and senior Misana Viltz also ran solid races, giving Cal three runners in the top 10.

Day one, however, was headlined by the performance of freshman Brie Oakley. Oakley, coming off a cross country season where she won Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, ran a cool 16:02.01 in her first 5000-meter of the season—the fourth-best time in Cal track and field history.

“I thought that was outstanding for her to run that fast as a freshman against some professional athletes — that’s quite commendable,” Sandoval said.

Day two was filled with more events and, for Cal, more top finishes. Senior Ashtyn Davis continued his run of excellence, placing first in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 7.85s, after coming in third earlier in the season at the UW Invitational. Davis, a dual-sport athlete competing in track and football, is primed for an exciting final season.

In addition to Davis, Cal had two more first-place finishes in both men’s and women’s triple jump. Sophomore Tuomas Kaukolahti and redshirt junior Isabella Marten won both events with respective jumps of 16.08 meters and 12.80 meters.

Kaukolahti bested his previous performance from the UW Invitational earlier this season with a mark of 15.91 meters. While Marten didn’t quite match her best jump, she still has a long season for more marks — and more wins.

Senior Garrett Corcoran anchored Cal men’s distance squad, running the 3000-meter with a time of 8:00.94. With distance stud Trent Brendel having graduated in December, Corcoran has some big shoes to fill this season, and luckily for Cal, he’s just the man to do it.

“We’ll we miss (Brendel) spiritually,” Sandoval said. “He was a great leader, a team captain. When the vacuum happens, somebody’s got to fill the void, and we’re looking for some younger people to step up. I think we’re getting that right now. I think Garrett Corcoran been quite a leader for our team, as co-captain with Trent, so that helps quite a bit.”

With the second meet of the season under their belts, Cal track and field has shown that it is not to be trifled with in 2018. Expect big things from the Bears this season, because they’re off to a blistering start.

Cal will continue to stick around the great state of Washington when it participates in the MPSF Indoor Championships in two weeks. After that meet, Cal won’t head back to the Pacific Northwest until the NCAA Outdoor Championships in June.

Harshil Desai writes for Bear Bytes, The Daily Californian’s sports blog. Contact him at [email protected].