Cal track and field welcomes teams for Brutus Hamilton Open

Ariel Hayat/Senior Staff

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This weekend, the Cal track and field team will honor the man, myth, legend and coach that was Brutus Hamilton in the annual Brutus Hamilton Open held at home at Edwards Stadium. The team will hope to encapsulate his winning spirit that led Cal to 14 top-10 finishes at the NCAA championships in his 30-year tenure as head coach.

Before he was a coach, Brutus was an all-around track and field athlete at the University of Missouri, winning the U.S. Decathlon and Pentathlon Championships in 1920 and then a silver medal at the 1920 Summer Olympics. As a coach for the Bears, Hamilton dedicated himself to his athletes from 1933 until his retirement in 1965, mentoring 59 individual conference champions, 13 national champions and seven Olympians.

He was given not only the honor of being inducted into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame but also the National Track & Field Hall of Fame for his achievements. Having a meet named after him is fitting, as he is someone who dedicated his whole life to the sport.

The meet itself is split into two parts: A nonscoring event Friday where individuals can compete without the added pressure of being scored and a scored event Saturday where competitors will be fighting for the top places.

The majority of the action will be taking place Saturday, as the Bears will be battling it out against some unfamiliar faces in Kansas State, the University of Texas at El Paso and Utah State in a four-way scoring meet.

“I’m looking forward to the race, for sure,” said junior distance runner Thomas Joyce. “We have a good group of guys that are looking to break the four-minute barrier (in the mile) for the first time, and there will be some good competition.”

Among the tougher competition the Bears will have to face this weekend is the Miners’ senior distance runner Anthony Rotich. The two-time All-American and three-time National Champion will look to give Cal a run for its money as the Bears look to take home a win in front of their home crowd.

Because the mile at the meet is set up differently than the vast majority of other outdoor meets — teams will run the 1600 instead of the usual 1500 — all four of the teams will be bringing their quality athletes to try to record a good mark on this stage.

“We are very excited to be able to have a meet at our home track against competitive teams we do not usually race,” said sophomore mid-distance runner Josh Lewis. “This weekend is … unique because it is one of the few outdoor races in the country where the full mile is run instead of the 1500, and so it serves as a good place for athletes to better their mile times.”

With only a few more meets until the NCAA Regionals in Austin, Texas, the results of this scored weekend at the Brutus Hamilton Open could be what makes or breaks a trip to nationals. Cal fans should hope that ol’ man Brutus will be looking over his Cal track and field team.

Chris Tril covers track and field. Contact him at [email protected].