Chasing victory: Cal track and field begins indoor season at UW Invitational

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The modern world of sports is one of many complex competitions, with various games that increasingly test knowledge of the participants and specific tricks rather than pure physical prowess.

American football is broken down into various specialized positions, fútbol requires years of coordination for competence, and sports such as baseball and basketball have particular needs as well.

Not so with track and field.

More than almost any other sport on the planet, the competitions that fall under the flag of track and field test pure human physical ability. There is no hiding behind tricks. There is simply one and one’s event. Success is defined by how much of one’s self one is willing to sacrifice to succeed. This makes track and field one of the most grueling and difficult sports in the world.

Those on the Cal track and field team have prepared tirelessly for this upcoming season and will push themselves past their limits throughout the competitions, starting at the University of Washington Invitational.

In last year’s Pac-12 Championships, Cal performed exceedingly well in field events. Lauren Martinez returns for her senior year, competing in Seattle after winning the Pac-12 and placing 11th nationally at the NCAA Outdoor Championships at pole vault. McKay Johnson and Joshua Johnson placed second and seventh respectively in shot put at the Pac-12 Championships and will start their seasons as well.

Cal will field a deep and threatening jumps team. Junior Tuomas Kaukolahti, the reigning Pac-12 triple jump champion, and freshman prospect Jalyn Jackson will both line up at the jump pits this week.

The women’s jump team will be led by sophomores Noelle Schiller and Windy Margerum, followed by freshman Sydney Reid in the long jump.

California recruited heavily in track events, particularly in distance and mid-distance. Redshirt-senior Garrett Corcoran will lead a young distance team and will build on his performance in the 1500-meter race at the Pac-12 Championships last year.

Mid-distance will feature a bevy of young and exciting Cal talent. Sophomores Nikolaus Moore and Benjamin Micallef and freshmen Moises Medrano and Adam Saleh will all begin their seasons with high expectations.

All four relays will present Cal teams, as both men and women compete in the 4×400-meter relay and the distance medley.

The sprints team will seek to improve from last year, with multiple runners in almost every sprint race. On the women’s side, freshmen Maisie Stevens, Ezinne Abba and Sara East will all make their debuts.

Men’s hurdles may feel the absence of Ashtyn Davis, but Paramveer Chohan and exciting junior transfer Jasher Foster may well be a dynamic duo as they compete in sprints, hurdles and in the 4×400-meter relay together.

The UW Invitational will be a good start to the season for the Bears. Pac-12 rivals such as Washington, Oregon State, Washington State and a particular red school, which shall go unmentioned, will all field athletes. The season ahead may be long, but if Cal’s athletes are any indication, this Bears team will speed through it.

Jasper Sundeen covers track and field, the Daily Californian’s sports blog. Contact him at [email protected].