Bears aren’t known to travel in packs, which is promising information for a lone Cal Bear who will be facing some hostile terrain this weekend.
Misana Viltz, a senior hurdler for Cal track and field in the 2018 indoor season, is headed to Des Moines, Iowa for the prestigious 2018 USA Track and Field, or USATF, Outdoor Championships. For Viltz’s other 80-plus team members, they either did not declare to compete in the meet, or did not meet a qualifying mark.
Viltz, however, will test his skills in the 110-meter hurdles against some of the best amateur hurdlers in the country, and some professional ones as well.
As the sole representative of Cal in the championship meet, Viltz has a tough task ahead of him. The standard qualifying mark for the men’s 110 hurdles event is 13.65 seconds, although Viltz was accepted into the championships with a time of 13.74.
To put the extremely competitive field into perspective, the two fastest qualifying times in the event, both held by Nike athletes, are 13.09 and 13.10, respectively. To even make the top 10 would be a huge accomplishment for the native of Long Beach, CA.
Viltz has some experience in high-stakes events, however. The former UCLA student-athlete took 24th in the NCAA championships in the 110-meter hurdles as a Bruin in 2017. Viltz competed in the 2018 indoor season for the Bears, logging a 12th-place finish at the MPSF championships in the 60-meter hurdles.
Viltz also made an appearance at last year’s USATF finals as a Bruin, recording a mark of 14.24 in the preliminary round of the 110-meter hurdles. Viltz took 22nd overall, just a few places ahead of future Cal teammate and then-junior Ashtyn Davis.
Davis was one of two Bears to compete in the 2017 USATF Outdoor Championships. Davis ran the 110-meter hurdles, while then-junior Ashley Anderson took part in the triple jump. Neither Cal athlete managed to crack the top 10.
The Pac-12 as a conference has a strong showing in the USATF finals; its field is largely fueled by powerhouses Oregon and USC. The Ducks will send more than 10 athletes, the Trojans will send eight and representatives from Arizona, Colorado, UCLA, Utah, Washington and Washington State will also be present at the meet.
Christie Aguilar is the sports editor. Contact her at [email protected].