Cal track and field shows out at Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge

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Jinsu Elhance/File

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Cal track and field will be returning from Arizona this weekend with not only some high finishes, but a couple of historic performances.

At the Pac-12/Big Ten Challenge, Cal’s first outdoor meet against West Coast rivals, the men placed fourth in the eight-team competition while the women followed not far behind in fifth.

“Well, I think it was kind of low-key, because most of these teams are coming back from a pretty heavy-duty indoor season,” said Cal head coach Tony Sandoval. “But nevertheless, those are very, very good athletes. When you talk about LSU and Arizona State and Colorado, every event had some very good people to compete against.”

The challenge kicked off Friday afternoon with the women’s hammer throw. Freshman Camryn Rogers, in what is becoming a regular thing, set a new freshman record in event — a record previously held by herself. Rogers placed second with a throw of 213 feet and 4 inches.

But Rogers’ performance arguably wasn’t Cal’s most impressive of the day, as junior Chrissy Glasmann set a school record in the javelin, launching it for a distance of 164 feet.

The impressive throw bested the 12-year record previously held by Emilee Strot. In addition to shattering the record, Glasmann came in second in the event and set a career best by nearly 16 feet.

Junior Silviu Bocancea and senior Destiny Parker also impressed in the hammer, as Bocancea placed third for the men while Parker notched in a fifth-place finish for the women.

“Well I think that the teams that were there brought some good throwers,” Sandoval said. “I think (throws) coach (Mohamad) Saatara focused in on this meet because of the good weather. The javelin, the discus — those long throws would be under ideal conditions, and they responded very well with that.”

After a successful day one, Cal’s remaining athletes had some big shoes to fill on day two. Three first-place finishes and 12 top-three performances later, it was safe to say that Bears’ shoes were bursting at the seams.

Cal’s throwers picked up right where they left off in the discus. In the first event of the day, junior Kendall Mader and sophomore McKay Johnson placed third in the women’s and men’s discus, respectively. Johnson would later notch a win in the men’s shot put .

Junior Lauren Martinez impressed as well, winning the pole vault with a vault of 4.02 meters. For Martinez, that performance was practically a layup, having won the event without even having to attempt a vault near her career best of 4.30 meters.

Redshirt junior Isabella Marten notched the Bears’ third win of the meet in the triple jump. Marten’s jump of 12.92 meters now stands as her season best.

The track part of track and field, however, shouldn’t be ignored. Senior Ashtyn Davis had a solid performance in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 13.86 seconds. Despite beating his mark from last season’s challenge, Davis finished the event in third.

Sophomore Paramveer Chohan contributed in the 400-meter with a second-place finish of his own.

This weekend was the perfect opportunity for Cal. With a combination of elite competition and great conditions, the Bears truly showed out.

Harshil Desai covers track & field. Contact him at [email protected].