Cal’s performance in Eugene, Oregon, at the 2017 NCAA Championships was not picture-perfect, but it was worth the picture, still. The small pack of Bears who competed in nationals were juniors Peter Simon, Ashley Anderson and Bethan Knights.
Simon had the highest finish for Cal, taking seventh in the shot put, and next was Anderson who took 19th in the triple jump. Knights did not finish in the 10,000 meter run.
Simon did not get a shiny trophy, but he threw for 19.49 meters – the second-longest throw of his career. He was also only one of eight throwers (out of 24 competing in the meet) to surpass the 19-meter mark.
“He was consistent (all year),” said director of track and field Tony Sandoval. “He had his second best mark and his best series of the whole season at NCAAs and he competed very very well.”
The seventh-place finish is a 12-place improvement from last year’s championships, where Simon took 19th in the event with a mark of 18.55 meters. He added nearly a meter to his throw, which exemplified his growth. The best news for Simon and Cal? He still has another year left of competition.
Anderson finished in 19th place with a mark of 12.96 meters. In last year’s outdoor championships, Anderson committed fouls on all her attempts and did not place. Her mark was her shortest jump since late April, and in the world of the elite, the mark was simply not enough.
Her finish in nationals is by no means indicative her overall success in the outdoor season. Anderson took third at the Pac-12 Championships, a six-place improvement from her 2016 performance, and marked a career best at 13.20 meters, more than a foot of improvement from her 2016-best.
Knights did not finish competition in the long-distance run due to a reaggravated hamstring injury.
“She aggravated a hamstring during the race in Texas two weeks ago and we thought she could get through it, we kicked her up, but it was too painful to finish,” Sandoval said.
These three athletes wrapped up Cal’s outdoor season, but the Bears had notable accomplishments in both the indoor and outdoor 2017 seasons.
Junior hurdler Ashtyn Davis going undefeated in the regular season, going 7-0 and winning the 110-meter hurdle at the Pac-12 Championships.
In the 60-meter hurdle, Davis took first at the MPSF Indoor Championships, went undefeated in the regular season in the event and took sixth at the 2017 NCAA Indoor Championships.
Sophomore multis event competitor Tyler Brendel had an impressive year, highlighted by a third-place finish in the heptathlon at the MPSF Indoor Championships and a third-place finish in the decathlon in the Pac-12 Outdoor Championships.
Junior hammer thrower Destiny Parker cracked Cal’s all-time leaderboard in the hammer throw and moved up to sixth on the leaderboard with a throw of 58.65 meters.
Many of Cal’s top dogs will be returning for the 2018 season, and an extremely strong rising senior class will pose a deadly threat to its competitors.
“Every year the competition gets better and better and we’re just going to have to be pretty sharp for that, and getting ready for spring we are just hoping we can build upon (the success of the junior class and the strong underclassmen,” Sandoval said.
For the 2018 season, many of Cal’s top dogs and best performers will be returning. An extremely strong junior class will pose a deadly threat to its competitors.
Christie Aguilar is the assistant sports editor. Contact her at [email protected].