This weekend, two jumpers from the Cal track and field men’s team were sent to the Nike Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin, Texas, to represent the blue and bold for the Bears in a competition that included a mix of high school, college and professional athletes.
Redshirt junior Jonte Grant and freshman Walt Jones IV made the long flight to the Lone Star State, with Grant competing in the university A triple jump and Jones competing in the university A long jump.
The two Bears competed at Mike A. Myers Stadium in the 85-degree heat, where they were met by thousands of onlookers in the stands and hundreds of athletes in the field who came out for the 88th running of the famous Texas Relays. According to Grant, the massive relays are as much of a social event as they are a track meet, and he was honored to participate in such a prestigious and historical event.
“I’ll admit, I was nervous going into this meet. Being nervous is important for me, though,” Grant said. “I’ve never done well at a meet where I don’t feel butterflies in my stomach. How well I channel that feeling into my jumps is the difference between a good day on the track and a bad one.”
On Friday, the second day of the three-day event, Grant hopped to a 10th-place finish in his event with his best jump at a distance of 48-11.50 (14.92 meters). Still, a swirling wind during the event and a couple of fouls kept a disappointed Grant from having a better performance than his jump last year, where he placed second in the triple jump with a distance of 15.40 meters. While these were obviously not the results he was expecting or hoping for, Grant is using this performance as a learning experience for future meets.
“After meets like these when I don’t do well on paper, I probably take the loss harder than most,” Grant said. “But then I re-evaluated, realize the small things I need to fix and get ready to break records at the next meet.”
The following day, Jones jumped ahead to a third-place finish in the long jump with a nice leap of 25-4.50 (7.73 meters), which tied a personal best that was set a few weeks earlier at the Cal Outdoor Opener.
“I had a great experience jumping at the Texas Relays in a competitive long-jump field,” Jones said to Cal Athletics. “I look forward to making some improvements and bettering my performances as the season continues.”
The Cal track and field team will be competing as a whole again next week — both men and women in all different kinds of events — in a busy week for the team as it participates in the San Francisco State Distance Festival on Friday and the Stanford Invitational on Friday and Saturday. The Bears will also host a tri-meet at Edwards Stadium against Virginia and Michigan.
Chris Tril covers track and field. Contact him at [email protected].