Returning track and field veterans to watch for this season

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Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ve probably spent some time wondering about what it’s like to be a college athlete and lose a season of your sport. Missing out on a year of the college experience as a student is bad enough, but being deprived of the opportunity to compete with your teammates and break school records must be a different kind of heartbreak.

On Jan. 13, the NCAA announced that the track and field NCAA Indoor Championships will be held at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas, from March 11-13. This announcement followed a previous notice released Jan. 11 by the NCAA that all rounds of winter championships for college sports would be held at predetermined sites instead of the traditional locations.

The release of the NCAA Indoor Championship schedule gives some outline as to how the indoor track and field season might go, but Cal’s schedule of meets for the indoor and outdoor seasons is yet to be finalized. The NCAA is preparing for a socially-distanced season to the best of its abilities, and hopes are high that the blue and gold will be able to compete in several invitationals in the spring, even with the unfortunate cancellation of every all-comers meet in 2021.

Last track and field season ended in a way no one could have predicted, but this 2021 season will expectantly give Cal’s seasoned veterans a chance to showcase the talents they’ve spent this past year building on. A lot of what 2021 will look like is still up in the air, so for now, we can only speculate on how the Bears’ accomplished upperclassmen will perform (if all goes according to plan).

Mina Anglero

Senior Anglero from Oslo, Norway, runs both cross country and track and specializes in mid-distance events. At her very first cross country invitational as a sophomore, she earned first place and stunned coaches, teammates and fans alike with her ability to smoothly transition into competing in longer-distance races. Anglero’s noteworthy accomplishments include finishing first in the 1500 meters at the 2019 Hornet Invitational and being the first woman to finish for Cal at the 2019 Pac-12 Cross Country Championships. Anglero is certain to build momentum in her senior year with the Bears and hopefully, this break from competing has given her time to grow her talent.

Nicolas Bland

Junior Bland is a sprinter from Walnut Creek, California, whose speed was highlighted by a third-place finish in the 100-meter event at the 2020 Cal Opener. The Cal Opener took place just days before the cancellation of the 2020 outdoor season, meaning that Bland’s performance in February is the closest we have to predict how his 2021 season will go.

Hakim McMorris

Junior McMorris is from Santa Ana, California, and competes in multiple events, including the decathlon and heptathlon. McMorris started the 2020 season with a second-place finish in the heptathlon at the 2020 MPSF Indoor Track and Field Championship, with an impressive score of 5626. McMorris’s talent will hopefully grow following his year-long break from competing due to the pandemic and subsequent cancellation of live sporting events.

Sara East

Junior East is a sprinter from Tarzana, California, with noteworthy times in the 60, 100, 200 and 400-meter events. She took second at the 2020 Cal Opener in the 400 meters and first in the 4-x-4 relay. With potentially two more seasons left with the Bears, East is sure to continue to make a splash.

Josh Johnson

Senior Johnson is a thrower from Moreno Valley, California, who qualified for the 2020 NCAA Indoor Championships last season before it was abruptly canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Johnson placed second at the 2020 MPSF Indoor Track and Field Championships in the shot put event, and third in the weight throw at the 2020 New Mexico Open. Johnson has a bright future ahead of him and the potential to qualify for the 2021 NCAA Indoor Championships again in March.

Mia Horne covers track and field. Contact her at [email protected]