For most people, March 13 will be a normal Friday. Most people haven’t even thought about what they’ll do on March 13. Maybe you’ll be making plans for the weekend, maybe you’re looking forward to St. Patrick’s Day, but nothing stands out to most about this date.
For Cal track and field, however, March 13 is when the NCAA Indoor National Championships begin. For the select few who qualify, that Friday will be anything but normal — and it’s a date that motivates top athletes hoping to make the cut. For the Bears, March 13 might even be the most important day this year.
The Don Kirby Elite Invitational was a stepping stone for athletes hoping to compete on March 13, and one of the last chances to qualify for indoor nationals. Cal took the Don Kirby invite seriously, and brought in quite a few personal records.
Just like the New Mexico Team Open from the beginning of the month, the men’s throwing team has once again dominated in Albuquerque.
At the Don Kirby Elite Invitational, junior Joshua Johnson placed first in shot put and made a new career best with a mark of 19.44 meters. Iffy Joyner placed third with a mark of 18.34 meters.
“I was happy with my performance. I was chasing 19.50 meters or farther, but I left with a small PR which I wasn’t too mad about,” Joshua Johnson said.
The throwing competition in New Mexico was predicted to be fierce. Arizona State sophomore Turner Washington is ranked fourth in the country, but fouled twice and finished more than 3 meters behind his personal best. From Joshua Johnson’s perspective, the competition ended up underperforming.
“I expected there to be a lot more bigger throws from other people,” Joshua said.
There were no throwers with marks over 20 meters, which might have pushed Joshua Johnson to throw farther. His teammate and fellow junior McKay Johnson has already qualified for indoor nationals and is taking a break from competing to rest in preparation.
“At the end of the day you have to want it for yourself, no matter who comes out to throw. If people were throwing farther it would be more chaotic, which can be good for throwing sometimes,” Joshua said.
With indoor nationals fast approaching, individual throwers for Cal are working toward qualification. Joshua Johnson is ranked No. 18 in the nation, and must make it into the top 16 to qualify. The upcoming Husky Last Chance College Elite Invitational on Feb. 21st is the Bear’s last invitational before indoor nationals, and will be Joshua Johnson’s last chance to qualify.
Throwing wasn’t the only event with impressive performances. Senior Zion Corrales Nelson took second in the 60 meter preliminaries with a time of 7.50 seconds, setting a new personal record. In the 200 meter finals she placed eighth in a crowd of more than a hundred other athletes from all around the country.
Senior Jasher Foster took fourth overall and third out of collegiate athletes in the 60-meter hurdles finals with a time of 7.95 seconds.
In the men’s pole vault finals, freshman Skyler Magula swung into third place with a mark of 4.77 meters.
In a different part of the country, the distance team took on Seattle at the Husky Classic. Only a few athletes competed, and none of them made any personal college bests.
This is junior Mina Anglero’s second season running with the Bears, and she continues to be the top finisher for the Cal women’s distance team. In the 800 meter finals she came in with a time of 2:10.21, a few seconds away from her personal best of 2:07.62.
The Bears will spend the next two weeks training in preparation for their final stepping stone on the road to indoor nationals at the Husky Last Chance College Elite Invitational. March 13 will continue to motivate them to train harder.
Mia Horne covers cross country. Contact her at [email protected].