They came. They raced. They did pretty well.
This weekend, Cal track and field sent athletes to two meets: the prestigious Stanford Invitational and the San Francisco State Distance Carnival. The former is regarded as one of the most competitive meets in the nation, especially in the distance events.
“I think it was a nice way to get things going and compete against other athletes from other schools,” said Cal head coach Tony Sandoval. “Some people were using it as a stepping stone for down the road, others just kind of training through. So, it was a nice mixture of objectives for this weekend’s meet.”
Day one of the Stanford Invitational featured some of Cal’s best performances by its distance squad. Senior Garrett Corcoran hit a huge personal record in the 5000 meter with a time of 13:54.64. To put that in perspective, Corcoran averaged a blistering 4:29 mile pace for more than three straight miles. His performance was enough to put him in fifth place along with a top-15 national ranking.
Freshman Brie Oakley placed seventh in her 5000-meter heat, finishing with a time of 16:27.10. While her time was a far cry from her indoor PR of 16:02.01, Oakley’s performance was still formidable.
The Bears, however, didn’t just show poise on the track, but they continued to excel in the field events. Redshirt junior Isabella Marten won the triple jump invitational with a season-best triple jump of 13.05 meters.
Cal’s throwers added to the field success with multiple high finishes. Sophomore McKay Johnson had one of the Bears’ best performances, coming in second place in the shot put. Johnson set a new PR at 19.80 meters, and his mark stands as one of the best in NCAA.
One name missing from this list is senior Ashtyn Davis. Davis qualified for the finals behind a second-place performance in the 110-meter hurdles prelims, but he did not compete in the finals.
Instead, transfer senior Misana Viltz competed in the 110-meter hurdle prelims and finals, finishing in first for both races. Viltz is redshirting the 2018 season because of his transfer ineligibility, and he competed as an independent athlete during this invitational.
North of Palo Alto, at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival, only six Bears competed. One of the highlights of the meet came when the underclassman duo of freshman Charles Sherman and sophomore Ben Harper finished one-two in their 3000-meter steeplechase.
“They were our emerging athletes,” Sandoval said.
Cal will be seeing Stanford again next week as the team kicks off the annual Big Meet with Stanford at Edwards Stadium. Cal’s athletes have shown a lot of flashes this season — now let’s see if they can keep the blinders off for the remainder of the season.
Harshil Desai covers track & field. Contact him at