It took 14 long years, but Cal track and field finally did it again — it swept the Big Meet.
On Saturday, at Edwards Stadium, both the men’s and women’s and track and field team came out on top in the 120th installation of the duel between Cal and Stanford. The Bears dominated on the men’s side and finished with a final score of 113-48, while the women’s meet was more tightly contested, resulting in a 97-66 victory for the Bears. In total, Cal won 23 events, 10 of which were from the women’s side. With the men’s and women’s victories, the series score is now 68-50 for the men and 12-23 for women.
The men’s total consisted of victories by Tom Blocker (100 meters, 200 meters), Thomas Joyce (1500 meters), Randy Bermea (110-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles), Simon Schmidt (3000-meter steeplechase), Nick Ridge (high jump), Hammed Suleman (long jump, triple jump), Sullivan Parker (shot put), Scott Esparza (hammer throw) and Derek White (discus).
“I think Joyce’s upset victory was the exclamation point on the day,” said director of track and field Tony Sandoval to Cal Athletics. “It is one of their best events, and they have two nationally ranked 1500-meter runners. They were targeting to try to beat Jordan (Locklear), thinking he was the one, and Thomas, who did this last week as a matter of fact, sprinted past both of them, and that was pretty special.”
In total, the men’s team captured 13 out of 19 possible events, including the 4×100-meter relay. The relay team consisted of Khalfani Muhammad, Dash Oliver, Milan Ristic and Blocker. A number of Bears also set new personal records for themselves, including Joost de Jong in the 400-meter hurdles, Matt Esparza in shot put and Leland Later in the 3000 meters.
On the women’s side, event titles were won by Kiare Tanner (100 meters, triple jump), Angelica Weaver (100-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles), Megan Bordes (3000-meter steeplechase), Grace Beaudoin (high jump), Malaina Payton (long jump), Chioma Amaechi (shot put) and Shelby Ashe (hammer throw). Despite not earning individual victories, Khala Taylor was able to set a personal record in the 400 meters, and Sydney Gray set new records for herself in both the 1500 meters and the 3000 meters.
“Every Big Meet is a special meet,” Sandoval said to Cal Athletics. “The kids knew the significance of it and stepped up one event after another and had some people that did step up and did a tremendous job, especially on the women’s side.”
Taking into account the rankings difference between No. 18 Stanford and unranked Cal, the women’s meet victory was considerably more impressive and is an encouraging sign for the team with the Pac-12 track and field championships just over a month away.
Kapil Kashyap covers track and field. Contact him at [email protected]