The Cal track and field team finished the last home meet of the season with a bang this weekend at the Brutus Hamilton Open, with dominating performances from both the men’s and women’s teams against Utah State, Kansas State and the University of Texas at El Paso. The men’s team left Edwards Stadium sporting a first-place finish with 210 points, and the women’s team placed second with 176 points.
Several Bears came out of the first-day events Friday with personal bests. Redshirt senior Scott Esparza put on a show for his last home meet of his collegiate career, placing second in the hammer with a throw of 211-9, tying fellow redshirt senior Derek White for third on Cal’s all-time-performers list.
It was a good day for runners of the 3,000-meter steeplechase, as sophomore Megan Bordes and freshman Elizabeth Flatley set new personal bests in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with times of 10:43.40 and 11:21.24, respectively. On the men’s side of the event, sophomore Yohaness Estifanos finished in third place with his new best of 9:11.29.
Among the other personal records set Friday were freshman Leanne Jarvis in the women’s 5,000-meter (16:36.02), freshman Ellis Newton in the men’s 1,500-meter (3:51.04), sophomore Nijae Jones in the women’s 400-meter (55.62), sophomore Christine Canning in the women’s high jump (5-8.75) and sophomore Khala Taylor in the javelin (119-11).
Perhaps the biggest win for Cal came out of the Don Bowden Mile on Saturday. Bowden, whom the event is named after, was a Cal runner and was the first American to break the four-minute mile. Current Cal junior distance runner Thomas Joyce did his best Bowden impression Saturday, as he finished the race in first place with a final time of 3.58.69, moving past Bowden himself by about a hundredth of a second on Cal’s all-time-performers list, ranking at number four. Close behind for Cal were fellow juniors Leland Later and Josh Lewis, who finished in third and fourth place with final times of 4:01.33 and 4:01.84, respectively.
“Thomas is going to be in a great position because I think that he can kick with anybody,” said Tony Sandoval, Cal director of track and field, to Cal Athletics. “That was a great finish for them (Joyce, Later and Lewis) and was certainly a highlight, but there were a lot of highlights this weekend.”
The personal records kept pouring in for the second day in a row, as 11 Bears set personal bests. Among the notables were redshirt junior Jonte Turner and freshman Jalen Doss in the intermediate hurdles, with a marks of 52.01 and 52.92, respectively; sophomore Khala Taylor’s new career-best in the 400-meter at 55.96; and sophomore Brenden Song’s discus throw of 179-8 to place third.
Eleven seniors will be leaving Cal on a winning note, as this past weekend also marked the Bears’ Senior Day. At the end of the successful weekend, a ceremony took place to honor all the seniors one last time in front of their home fans.
Chris Tril covers track and field. Contact him at [email protected].