The ability to perform at the highest level of collegiate athletics takes years of dedication and talent unimaginable to those not familiar with the sport. Putting aside all the pressures that come with representing a team, stepping onto the field to one-up your personal best performance and challenge other formidable competitors at a selective invitational is no easy task.
Senior Camryn Rogers is a highly accomplished thrower with years of experience in the circle. As the reigning 2019 Division 1 hammer throw champion, Rogers is no stranger to the pressure of competing and thrives in the collegiate track and field environment. Rogers has collected many wins in the weight throw and hammer throw but took her talent to new heights Saturday at the West Coast Classic in Eugene, Oregon.
Rogers hit the Olympic standard in the hammer throw with a career-best distance of 73.09 meters. As No. 1 in the NCAA and No. 7 in the world, there is little in the way of Rogers’ potential to win the NCAA Division 1 Outdoor Championships for a second consecutive year (due to pandemic-induced cancellations, the NCAA Outdoor Championships did not take place in 2020).
The blue and gold are developing a pattern of turning out impressive throwers. During the 2020 indoor season, Cal senior and thrower Joshua Johnson, as well as former Bear and current USC Trojan McKay Johnson, qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships shortly before it was canceled.
While Josh and McKay had successful and abbreviated 2020 seasons, Rogers did not compete in any invitationals. One can only speculate on the accomplishments she would have achieved had the pandemic never interrupted the 2020 track and field season.
Besides Rogers’s inspiring performance at the West Coast Classic, other Bears brought home victories and new personal bests to continue the momentum the team has been building this outdoor season.
On Saturday, Cal split up its group and traveled to two different states to compete in the West Coast Classics. The distance and throwing squads took on Eugene, Oregon, while the sprinters and jumpers competed in Tucson, Arizona.
Freshman Garrett MacQuiddy placed first in the 800 meters with a personal-best time of 1:49.97. This is MacQuiddy’s fourth first-place finish across the four collegiate invitationals he’s competed. With such an impressive winning streak, MacQuiddy is sure to bring in more victories at invitationals to come. Sophomore Asha Fletcher won the triple jump with a new personal-best mark of 13.22 meters, revealing the depth of talent that the underclassmen have.
Upperclassmen also showed out in Oregon and Arizona, with senior Deshae Wise taking first in the 100-meter hurdles and senior Annie Boos winning the steeplechase event.
The Bears are over halfway done with their outdoor season and have the upcoming Big Meet at Stanford on May 1 to look forward to, as well as the Pac-12 Championships and NCAA Division 1 West Regionals looming in the distance. This season of track and field has felt somewhat normal — despite the unusual circumstances — and serves as a reminder that Cal has lots of potential to fulfill this year and in years to come.
Mia Horne covers track and field and cross country. Contact her at [email protected]