Cal Opener means outdoor season is open for business

Karen Chow/Senior Staff

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Edwards Stadium sits at the bottom of Cal’s sprawling campus and could easily be called California Memorial Stadium’s younger sibling. Its towering concrete walls loom above students as they walk to class. Some inexperienced Bears fans might accidentally show up to Edwards Stadium during their first football game day, but they will quickly correct their mistake after realizing they’re not at that Cal stadium.

On Saturday, however, Memorial Stadium’s younger sibling will get its time in the spotlight. Cal track and field will host the Cal Opener, giving the Bears an introduction to the outdoor season and a chance to compete on their home turf.

The Cal Opener is a good opportunity for fans of track and field at Cal to get to see their team in action. This is one of the few meets the Bears will host all season, and the first time all year Cal will be competing outdoors.

Cal fans attending the meet might be disappointed to learn that juniors McKay Johnson and Joshua Johnson will not be competing at the Opener in preparation for the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 13 and 14. They’ll be spending these next few weeks in training for the highly anticipated competition, which will be hosted in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

As the sun comes out, the Bears will turn their focus toward the outdoor track. The team’s transition into outdoor season comes along with more than just a change in the weather.

The beginning of the outdoor season means the Bears are ramping up training and intensity. They aim to peak around the time of the NCAA Outdoor Championships, but the season will be different for each athlete depending on which invitationals they compete in and qualify for.

The 60-meter race will now become the longer 100-meter race and the 60-meter hurdles will convert to the 110-meter hurdles. The 3000-meter distance race will be replaced with the shorter 1500-meter race.

Other changes that come with outdoor season will be the addition of the discus throw, hammer throw and javelin throw.

Junior Camryn Rogers will be back this season to compete in the hammer throw, an event only held outdoors. Rogers had an outstanding sophomore year, ending the 2019 season with a national title in the competition. Fans should anticipate more success in 2020 from the junior.

Senior Zion Corrales Nelson will transfer her speed from the 60 meters to the 100 meters. She ended last season with an impressive career best of 11.41 seconds in the 100 meters at the NCAA Division 1 West Region preliminaries.

UC Davis and the University of San Francisco will be traveling to Berkeley to compete in the Cal Opener. The Bears are hoping the home track advantage will work in their favor while they compete against other California-based schools.

At the end of the day on Saturday, Edwards Stadium will have had its fill of activity for the next few weeks. The next meet Cal will host is the Big Meet on April 11.

Fans will file out of the stadium after a day of watching competitive collegiate track and field. Athletes will cool down after their events are over and head home to reflect on how their performances went.

After the day is over, McKay Johnson and Joshua Johnson will continue to prepare for the NCAA Indoor Championships, which are just a week away.

The Bears on Cal’s track and field team will get ready for the rest of the outdoor season and the many intense, competitive weeks they still have ahead of them.

Mia Horne covers cross country. Contact her at [email protected].