Cal track and field falls in Big Meet

Aditi Raghunath/Staff

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Though the usual ritual is to pour Gatorade onto Cal track and field director Tony Sandoval if the men’s or women’s team wins at the Big Meet, only rain was falling Saturday. The Cal track and field teams faced off against Stanford in the 122nd edition of the dual meet this weekend. Unfortunately for the Bears, they did not come out of the meet with a win for either team, though they did record some impressive personal accomplishments.

The pole vaulting events, which were almost canceled because of the weather, took place in the small window between the spotty rain storms. In the women’s pole vault, second place went to freshman Lauren Martinez, who reached the same height of 3.80 meters as the winner from Stanford, another freshman, Kaitlyn Merritt, but took more tries. A similar occurrence happened in the women’s long jump, where the first and second place jumpers tied, but Cal sophomore Isabella Marten ended up in the second place spot.

In fact, that was the consistent theme throughout the women’s events. They were unable to do quite enough to tip the scoring in their favor. The Cal women ended the meet with a loss to Stanford, 114-48.

Sophomore Bethan Knights, who was predicted to win the 3,000-meter run, could not hold on to her big lead for the entire race. Nearing the end, she began to slow down, giving a final push in the last 50 meters but still ultimately falling to a Stanford runner by only 0.05 seconds.

The only victories for the women were sophomore Morgan Robertson’s win in 100-meter hurdles, Marten in the triple jump and senior Christine Canning in the long jump.

“Some events we competed and placed better than we thought, and in others (Stanford) rose to the occasion,” Sandoval said.

The men’s competition was a little closer, as Sandoval had predicted earlier this week. So close that the deciding factor became the results of the men’s triple jump, the final event of the day.

The Cal men performed consistently in all the throwing events, winning the hammer throw, shot put, javelin and discus throw, all of which scored some important points for the team.

Freshman Kai Benedict, speeding up and passing a Stanford runner in the last 100 meters, won the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9:06.49.

The men also shone through in the sprints and took home the win in the 4×100-meter relay, anchored by junior Khalfani Muhammad who also won the 100-meter and the 200-meter dash. The relay finished in 41.19 seconds. Sophomore Ashtyn Davis won the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.12 seconds.

After the men’s loss in the 4×400-meter relay, the teams and the crowd, which was populated by many alumni, gathered on the track to watch the event that determined it all: the men’s triple jump.

Despite the strong support of the onlookers, the Bears eventually fell to the Cardinal, 86-77. Last year, the Cal men beat Stanford by a significant margin, which goes to show that it can be very hard to predict what will happen from one year to the next.

“Every event was critical,” Sandoval said. “They came and were better than us today. That’s the way these track meets should be. They should come down to the very end.”

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