Cal track and field set to compete in Washington, New Mexico this weekend

Ariel Hayat/Senior Staff

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Although the weather this week in Berkeley has favored outdoor track, Cal track and field teams will be sending one squad up north to Washington and one back to Albuquerque, New Mexico, this weekend for their second set of indoor meets this season.

This weekend, the Cal’s track and field teams are competing in two meets: the Husky Indoor Classic and the Don Kirby Elite Indoor Invitational. Only the jumpers on the teams will be attending Don Kirby Elite, while everyone else will be at the Husky Classic. The similarity between the teams is that they are looking to improve their results from last year.

While a few of the women placed well in the preliminary races at the Husky Indoor Classic, hosted by the University of Washington in Seattle last year, they ultimately were not able to have as successful of a performance when it came to the final races.

For the men, then-freshman Ashtyn Davis came second in the 60-meter hurdles, with a time of 8.07 seconds. Then-sophomore Khalfani Muhammad also placed third in the 60-meter dash at the 2015 Husky Classic. The men’s squad had a similar problem to the women’s in some events in that after successful performances in the prelims, it was unable to reproduce their results in the finals.

Last year, the Bears only sent field competitors to the Don Kirby Elite Invitational, which is hosted in Albuquerque, New Mexico. None of the men or women managed to place higher than fifth place in their events. The teams will again send only jumpers to the Don Kirby meet as the altitude will be advantageous to their heights.

Freshmen Jackie Chandler, Schantell Williams and Taylor Smith will be running in the 400-meter event at Husky, and freshman Rebecca Croft will run the 800-meter. Additionally, freshman pole vaulter Lauren Martinez will be taking the trip to New Mexico. Only a few freshman will be making a journey this weekend, however, as most of the events are reserved for athletes who have been in the program for at least one year. Many new recruits, especially those from warmer climates, do not have a lot of experience running on indoor tracks, so they will spend a few more weeks training before making their debut.

While the New Mexico Team Challenge last weekend placed a huge emphasis on ranking and team scores, neither the Don Kirby Invitational or Husky Classic have a team score, so the focus will be on individual performance.

“This week in both meets we are going to limit the number of events, so people can focus in on one event to try to get the marks that will qualify for the NCAA and to make sure that when we compete in the MPSF that we are in a good heat and a good lane during that championship,” said Cal track and field director Tony Sandoval.

This weekend, both the track and the field components of the teams will need to step up their game in order to earn more impressive results than last year, making sure not to tire themselves out so much on preliminaries that it negatively affects their performance in finals.

The Cal track and field teams did not always have an indoor season because of the warmer climate and lack of an indoor facility, but they have begun to compete in more indoor meets. This allows the teams to be more competitive with East Coast schools, which start their seasons in January, in national meets.

“Nowadays we don’t have an indoor facility, but there are a couple facilities nearby that we can compete in like the meet in Seattle and New Mexico, so we can have a short but competitive indoor season for our athletes at Cal,” Sandoval said.

Lucy Schaefer covers track and field. Contact her at [email protected].