In the face of adversity or differing goals, success can have many meanings. In sports, the definition of success can be unpredictably complicated and difficult to quantify.
But one undebatable embodiment of success is winning a championship, and on Thursday evening, Cal’s Camryn Rogers walked out of Austin’s Mike A. Myers Stadium as the national champion in the women’s hammer throw.
Rogers had an excellent season, but her work during the season paled in comparison to her performance this postseason, as the sophomore broke her personal record and the school record multiple times and made herself a favorite at these NCAA Track and Field Championships.
Rogers saved her best for the biggest moment of her career.
Her competition did not go out without a fight, as five of the top six finishers, including Rogers, threw personal bests.
None of that mattered, however, as Rogers got off to a flying start, throwing a personal best on her first attempt of the night. On her fourth throw, Rogers threw for 71.50 meters, a mark that was not only her personal best but also the best throw in the NCAA this season.
The sophomore from Richmond, British Columbia, became the first Bear to win a national championship since 2011. Success has many definitions, and on a Thursday evening in Austin, Texas, Rogers wrote a new one.
Rogers’ teammates, Silviu Bocancea and Misana Viltz, both earned second-team All-American honors in the men’s hammer throw Wednesday. Bocancea finished ninth, making the finals for the event but barely missing out on a scoring performance for the Bears, and Viltz, despite being last in his heat, ended his Cal career with 16th-place finish, surpassing expectations.
On Thursday, junior sprinter Zion Corrales Nelson finished in 18th place in the 200-meter dash, just .09 seconds outside of a place on the All-American second team. Rebecca Croft was even closer to becoming a second-team All-American, finishing 17th in the 800-meter. Less than a second separated places 15 through 18.
Tuomas Kaukolahti and Iffy Joyner were the last two Bears to compete at the 2019 NCAA Track and Field Championships.
Kaukolahti finished in eighth in the men’s triple jump. The junior from Helsinki, Finland, equaled his personal best with a leap of 16.50 meters on his third attempt, putting him in sixth place before he tumbled down to eighth. The competition was the highlight of the weekend, as the first-place holder changed hands five times. Kaukolahti scored the Cal men’s team’s sole point.
Joyner finished in 18th place in the discus, failing to make the competition’s finals. It was still a successful season for the sophomore, who was competing at his first NCAA Track and Field Championships.
Cal placed 25th overall in the women’s competition entirely due to Rogers’ performance in the hammer throw. The Bears’ men scored a solitary point from Kaukolahti’s eighth-place finish, landing in 61st place. Arkansas won the women’s track and field championship for the second time in four years, beating last year’s winner USC, while Texas Tech took the men’s title.
It is not an exaggeration to say that these NCAA Track and Field Championships will be remembered at Cal for Rogers’ hammer throw victory. Success has many forms, though none may be as pure as Rogers’.