It was evident that Cal track and field’s first home meet of the season was going to be a good one when the morning started off with a bright blue sky and a beaming sun shining down on Edwards Stadium, illuminating a track that hasn’t been put to competitive use since last year about this time.
A clear and sunny sky at the March 6th home meet against Sacramento State was the perfect contrast to last year’s rainy Cal Opener that occurred just days before the pandemic canceled in-person classes and sent students home.
At the March 7th, 2020 Cal Opener, the morning began with heavy rain and the worry that the events might be delayed due to the bad weather. The sky eventually cleared up later in the afternoon and the Bears were able to secure quite a few first-place finishes to end the canceled season on a high note. In retrospect, last year’s downpour was a foreshadowing of events to come.
If the weather from last year’s Cal Opener indicated anything about how the rest of the season would go, the sunny weather at this year’s home meet should be a good sign that the 2021 outdoor season will be a successful one.
The Cal vs. Sacramento State dual meet showcased underclassmen talent that will continue to shine throughout the rest of the spring season. In total, the Bears brought home 26 event wins and achieved 15 personal bests. Among those victories was sophomore Anna Purchase’s win in the hammer throw event, in which she achieved a career-best mark of 66.52.
Junior Ezinne Abba has already made a strong impression this season with a win in the 60-meter dash at the Air Force Collegiate Open and a second-place finish in the same event at the Air Force Invitational, but she built even more momentum at the recent home meet with a win in the 200 meters and a new career-best time of 24.20.
Both the men’s and women’s 4×100 meter relay teams out-sprinted Sacramento State and demonstrated the depth of the blue and gold’s talent. Competing in relays not only takes skill in the 100 meters but also requires the ability to communicate and work together with teammates, both of which the Bears have in spades.
On the women’s side, the 4×100 A-team made up of senior Deshae Wise, Abba, junior Sara East and freshman Ryan Lacefield notched a time of 46.48 and claimed an impressive victory for Cal. The men’s A-team was made up of sophomore Christian Catlin, freshman George Monroe, sophomore Kyle Johnston and freshman Samir Thota, and together they claimed a fast time of 41.05.
Before the outdoor season fully begins, senior Camryn Rogers is scheduled to compete at the NCAA Indoor Championships on March 12. She’s currently ranked No. 10 in the nation for the weight throw, and at the championships, she’ll be competing against some of the best throwers in the nation.
A sunny day at Edwards Stadium was the ideal way to kick off the outdoor season. Much like last year’s introductory home meet, underclassmen proved themselves to be formidable competitors.
Mia Horne covers track and field and cross country. Contact her at [email protected]