Coming off a break last weekend, the Cal track and field teams will attempt to regain the form they need to propel them into the end of the season in their final home meet of the year: the Brutus Hamilton Open and Challenge. The open portion of the meet, for unattached athletes and athletes from junior colleges, will start bright and early Friday morning and go throughout the day at Edwards Stadium. Saturday is when the Bears will compete for the collegiate scoring portion of the meet.
Most Bears will be participating in either the open or challenge meet, but select athletes will compete on both days, especially those preparing for the Pac-12 Championships or NCAA Regionals because those meets have preliminaries and finals on back-to-back days.
Cal has excelled at the meet for the last few years, so it will be expecting to come away with similar success this year.
Last year at Brutus Hamilton, then-freshman Karsten Wethington won the men’s long jump, with a distance of 7.04 meters, and then-sophomore Christine Canning won the women’s high jump, reaching a height of 1.75 meters.
Then-freshman Leanne Jarvis won the women’s 5,000-meter run, while Trent Brendel, then racing unattached, won the men’s 5,000-meter, with a time of 14:30.43. Then-freshman Morgan Robertson won the 100-meter hurdles, which she also won two weeks ago at the Big Meet.
“Because it is at home, we have the benefit of making sure that we have people at almost all of the events. We end up scoring more people,” said Cal track and field director Tony Sandoval. “I am less concerned about the team score as I am trying to get a fast time to get ourselves qualified for regionals and good seed times for the Pac-12.”
Many of the events on day two are named after people, such as the “Don Bowden Mile.” Don Bowden ran track at Cal in the late 1950s and was the first American to break the four-minute mile.
“A lot of these people were not only great athletes but they continued on to be great supporters and donors to the track and field program,” Sandoval said. “That is our way of giving them the honor they deserve.”
At the very end of the meet Saturday, there will be a senior recognition ceremony.
The whole meet in itself is a tribute to American track coach Brutus Hamilton. He competed in the decathlon at the 1920 Olympics and won a silver medal. He went on to coach the U.S. Decathlon team in the 1932 Olympics before becoming the track and field coach at Cal, where he stayed until 1965. He was known not only as a great coach but a scholar and poet.
Though team scoring is important, this weekend at Brutus Hamilton, the teams will be focusing in on qualifying marks for regionals and paying tribute to great alumni and soon-to-be alumni.
Lucy Schaefer covers track and field. Contact her at [email protected]