Although they are used to training and traveling together, the Cal track and field teams split up this weekend, competing in two meets across state lines. At their respective meets, athletes placed a strong emphasis on individual performance rather than team scores. This focus allowed them to identify what is important to work on in anticipation of the NCAA Indoor Championships coming up in early March.
The jumpers who attended the Don Kirby Elite Indoor Invitational from Friday to Saturday had unimpressive results aside from sophomore Isabella Marten who placed first in the women’s triple jump event with a length of 13.26 meters, a personal record. Furthermore, she competed in the most competitive triple jump heat at the meet and managed to maintain her first place position moving into the finals. Marten is a sophomore transfer from Southern Methodist University, so this was one of her first meets in a Cal uniform.
There were very few Cal athletes in general that competed at Don Kirby in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The men sent only three jumpers and the women sent only six.
The bulk of the Cal competitors this weekend were in Seattle for the Husky Indoor Classic, hosted by Washington.
The most successful man of the weekend was junior Khalfani Muhammad, who placed first in the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.54 seconds, finishing less than 0.2 seconds before Academy of Art runner Jordan Edwards. This not only beat his time from the 200-meter last year at the Husky Classic of 21.74 seconds, but broke his indoor personal record for the event. Muhammad, who also plays for the Cal football team, had to stay in shape all the way through the football team’s bowl game on Dec. 29.
Senior Isaac Dan, who consistently places well in events, was also successful, placing fifth in the weight throw with a metric of 18.80 meters.
For the women’s team, seven runners competed in the 200-meter dash, but no one placed higher than 15th. That seemed to be the theme of the meet. Even women who had placed well in qualifying races could not hold on to those rankings in the finals, similar to last year at the Husky Classic.
Junior Eugene Hamilton III’s performance on the 800-meter run and sophomore Bethan Knights’ one mile run were notable in that they both broke Cal records. Hamilton placed third in the 800-meter with a time of 1:48.94, though the runner from Georgia, who placed second in the race, had almost the exact same time. Hamilton was the first person to have broken the record in almost seven years. The previous record-holder was former Bear Sean Carey.
Knights, who came in ninth in the one mile run with a time of 4:39.70, managed to edge out the record set by Chelsea Reilly at the 2012 MPSF Championships.
The events this weekend were important for securing lanes and heats in the upcoming MPSF Championships, as well as qualifiers for the NCAA Indoor Championships. Based on some of the outcomes of the weekend, it seems like the Bears are gearing up to break more school records this season.
Lucy Schaefer covers track and field. Contact her at [email protected].