Cal track and field is sending a brand new crew to the NCAA Championships this year, which will be taking place at the historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Starting on Wednesday evening, Bears will compete in the women’s triple jump, men’s shot put and men’s 110-meter hurdles over the course of the weekend.
Last week, Cal sent 28 athletes to the NCAA West Regionals meet, a significantly larger number than last year. In order to qualify for the NCAA Championships, the participants had to fall within the top 12 athletes in their respective event.
Though many Bears were extremely close to qualifying, four sophomores for the team advanced ultimately to the sought after meet: Isabella Marten, Ashley Anderson, Ashtyn Davis and Peter Simon.
It won’t be until Saturday afternoon that Marten and Anderson will get their single chance in the competition. Based on her seed mark of 13.01 meters, Marten is entering the meet with a seed rank of 19. Following shortly behind is Anderson, who is ranked 21st based on her seed mark of 12.91 meters. Cal is the only school to qualify two women for the triple jump event.
In the 110-meter hurdles, Davis is going into the meet with a No. 20 ranking and a seed time of 13.82 seconds. The margin for error is so small in sprint hurdling events that there is a larger possibility for Davis to break through the seed ranks and make it past the preliminary round. Other than Oregon’s second-ranked Devon Allen, all of Davis’s competitors will be from outside of the West Regionals.
The Cal athlete entering the meet with the highest seed rank, at No.18, is shot putter Simon. His high distance of 18.68 meters puts him well within two meters of UCLA’s Nicholas Scarvelis — the top-ranked athlete in his event — whom Simon has already faced off against in the Regionals competition.
Last year at the NCAA Championships, the two athletes who qualified were then-freshman Walt Jones IV in the long jump and then-junior Thomas Joyce in the 1,500-meter.
Jones leaped a distance of 7.79 meters to solidify a seventh place finish in the men’s long jump. This was the highest a Cal man had placed in NCAAs since 1995.
With a time of 3:48.43, Joyce finished the 1,500-meter in 21st place. While he was unable to qualify for the finals of his event, Joyce still holds the school record in the 1,500-meter for the Bears.
Like every year, the NCAA Championships is the culmination of the season for all the track powerhouse schools across the nation.
Given the fact that they do not have the highest of seed rankings going into the weekend, each of the four Cal athletes will have to buckle down and put their training for the past few weeks into practice. With this weekend being the final chance that the four Bears will have to record new personal records in a collegiate setting this year, they will have to really pay attention to every detail of their performance because in the end that is what will make the difference in these extremely close events.
Lucy Schaefer covers track and field. Contact her at [email protected].