Cal track and field breaks school records at MPSF Championships

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This weekend the Cal track and field teams not only qualified individuals for the NCAA Indoor Championships but shattered school records in multiple events. The team traveled back to Seattle to compete in the MPSF Championships where they competed in the Husky Indoor Classic two weeks ago. The MPSF Championships are extremely competitive, including members of the Pac-12 and Big West conferences.

“The margin of error is so small that if you slip up just a little bit, you either don’t score or you don’t go to the NCAAs in your event,” said Cal track and field director Tony Sandoval.

One of the most notable performances for the teams Friday was the Cal women’s distance medley relay which placed first, earning the Bears 10 points. The medley consisted of senior Sydney Gray who ran the 1,200-meter, freshman Jackie Chandler who ran the 400-meter, freshman Rebecca Croft who participated in the 800-meter and sophomore Bethan Knights who ran the mile. This was an especially promising race for Cal because the medley contained two freshmen.

The men’s distance medley also did not fail to impress, coming in second place behind widely acclaimed track powerhouse Oregon. The four Bears who competed in this race were junior Josh Lewis, sophomore Alexander McElwee, junior Eugene Hamilton III and senior Thomas Joyce.

Knights continued her streak by placing second in the 3,000-meter run, less than one second away from stealing another victory this weekend. Her time of 9:08.77 qualified her for NCAAs.

On the men’s side, junior Khalfani Muhammad came in third in the men’s 200-meter dash with a time of 21.44 seconds, only 0.02 seconds after the runner up from Arizona State. Another sprinter, sophomore Ashtyn Davis placed third in the men’s 60-meter hurdles with a time of 7.80 seconds.

Among other noteworthy performances was Hamilton in the 800 meter.  He ran a time of 1:48.55, putting him in fourth place. In this race, he rebroke the school record he had set two weeks ago at the Husky Classic.

On the field side of the competition, sophomore Isabella Marten won the triple jump event with a distance of 13.07 meters. Marten had already qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships to be held in Birmingham, Ala., in two weeks by placing within the top sixteen women’s triple jumpers in the country.

Sophomore Peter Simon ended up breaking a school record and qualifying for NCAAs in men’s shot put. He placed fourth in the event and threw for a distance of 19.09 meters.

Senior Isaac Dan placed fourth as well, in the men’s weight throw with a distance of 19.21 meters, followed closely by junior Aaron Russell who placed fifth with a distance of 18.38 meters.

With all the stiff competition coming from the Pac-12 and the Big West, the Bears pulled together and performed well in the categories they were expected to.

“The fact that we were able to get two new school records and two new NCAA qualifiers is very commendable,” Sandoval said. “Overall, we came away with a lot of very good marks and certainly learned a lot.”

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