Bears rack up personal bests in Palo Alto, San Francisco

Aditi Raghunath/Staff

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When photographers take a photo, they have the power to create a particular context and perception for the photo. A portion of a scene, however, may not reveal the significance of the bigger picture. Zoom in on a picture and all may seem well, but zoom out and things could become troubled.

From a zoomed-in standpoint, Cal track and field performed very well at the Stanford Invitational, racking up four first place titles and 13 additional top-three finishes. Amongst those top marks, a couple personal records were set — accomplishments well worthy of notice. But as the Bears upped their performances, so did the rest of the country. Thus, one must zoom out on Cal’s performance to see where its athletes lie on a national scale.

Sophomore Malik McMorris took first in the discus event with a PR of 53.25 meters. McMorris’s top-of-the-podium finish was also his first win in a college meet. Fellow thrower junior Peter Simon took first in the shot put, marking his second win of the season.

Junior Ashtyn Davis took first in the 110-meter hurdles for the third consecutive time this season. Davis ran a 13.83, recording his fastest time of the year.

Sophomore Lauren Martinez took first in the pole vault, marking her third win of the outdoor season. Martinez was not the only jumper to produce a podium finish, as junior Ashley Anderson took second in the triple jump. Anderson’s jump of 12.89 meters surpassed her previous best by more than a foot and a half, a vast improvement.

Falling less than a foot behind the winner, junior Destiny Parker placed second in the hammer throw. While Parker did not quite notch the top throw of the meet, her distance of 59.53 meters surpassed her previous PR by nearly a meter.To wrap up the Stanford Invitational, sophomore Schantell Williams took second in the

To wrap up the Stanford Invitational, sophomore Schantell Williams took second in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:01.22. The time was her best of the 2017 outdoor season, shaving a little less than four seconds off the mark in her previous meet.

While most of the Bears were competing in Palo Alto, a small group of distance runners were close by, competing in the San Francisco State Distance Festival. About 45 minutes north of the rest of their teammates, that select group of Bears did not find the same success at San Francisco State. Two athletes did, however, make top 10 in their events and set PRs.

Senior Xochitl Navarrete took fourth in the 5000 meters with a new best time of 16:38.43. Junior Max Leach also set a new PR with a time of 9:04.77 that earned him ninth in the 3000-meter steeplechase.

There were no other top 10 finishes and at the conclusion of the weekend, the national rankings did not shine brightly on the Bears’ fortunes.

Davis, formerly ranked third in the nation, dropped to the thirteen spot. Even with his fastest time of the season recorded, he was out-performed by 10 other athletes. Likewise, Martinez fell out of the top 10, dropping from the seventh to fourteenth.

Parker, who improved her throw by nearly three feet is still out of the top 30 by about twenty inches. Ashley Anderson who added 20 inches to her jump also dropped in the rankings from 12th to 15th.
As quickly as these players dropped from their ranks, they can just as swiftly reclaim them. While shedding seconds and adding inches to one’s event is no easy task, the Bears still have ample time to own the top times in the country.

Christie Aguilar covers track and field. Contact her at [email protected].