The 2021 outdoor season has been marked by impressive accomplishments from underclassmen that indicate a successful future for Cal track and field. When the underclassmen stand out among a sea of highly trained collegiate athletes, it proves that they have the potential to bring the Bears’ program to new heights.
On March 26 and 27 at the Aztec Invitational in San Diego, California, Cal track and field continued an outdoor season filled with outstanding individual achievements and competed against Arizona, USC, Grand Canyon, Oregon and the Air Force Academy.
Among the underclassmen who put on exceptional performances was sophomore Kamau Carlisle, who took first in the long jump and notched a personal-best mark of 7.26 meters. Sophomore Jasmine Blair also showed out for the youngsters, winning the hammer throw event with an impressive throw that was just 0.49 meters shorter than her personal best.
Freshman Garrett MacQuiddy is yet another Bears underclassman making a huge impact this spring. At the Aztec Invitational, he won the 1500 meters with a new career-best time of 3:47.68. This victory comes directly after his first-place finish in the 800 meters at the Cal vs Sac State Dual Opener.
MacQuiddy’s impressive personal record means he has the potential to qualify for the NCAA West Regionals. He is currently ranked No. 28 in the 800 meters and No. 38 in the 1500.
“My main goal would be to qualify for the NCAA West Regionals,” said MacQuiddy. “I’ve worked with Trevor Dunbar, our assistant coach, to try and learn what it will take to qualify. Getting there as a freshman is a good goal to have.”
In order to qualify, MacQuiddy and Cal track and field’s assistant distance coach Trevor Dunbar have estimated he will need to shave half a second off his time in the 800 meters and three seconds off his new personal best record in the 1500 meters.
“It’s been nice to have the freshmen come in and make an impact and make ourselves known,” said MacQuiddy. “Sure we’re freshmen, but we’re here to work and here to work hard. It’s been nice having workouts with older guys who are great role models and who I can look up to.”
Other Bears with the potential to qualify for the NCAA Western Regionals include senior Josh Johnson, a skilled thrower who is currently ranked No. 3 in the nation for the shot put event. Johnson did not compete at the Aztec Invitational and his current best mark is from the USC Trojan Invitational on March 19 and 20.
Besides the strong performances from underclassmen, the distance team collectively brought in several top-three finishes. Senior Annie Boos won the 1500 meters and achieved a new personal best in the event, while senior Mina Anglero and senior Ben Micallef took second in the 800 meters.
The blue and gold will return to action April 2 and 3 at the Stanford Invitational. That meet will provide more opportunities for the Bears to qualify for the NCAA Western Regionals and highlight the abilities of their talented underclassmen roster.
Mia Horne covers track and field and cross country. Contact her at [email protected]