Every once in a while, a collegiate team gets lucky enough to have the very best athlete in the nation representing it. Recruiting the most skilled competitor is no easy feat — but out of the thousands of talented throwers who compete across the country, Cal had the good fortune and ability to enroll the very best.
Senior Camryn Rogers has been with the Bears for four years and during that time has achieved 20 first-place finishes. Hardly an invitational goes by where Rogers is not dominating in her event.
Among her many victories are back-to-back Pac-12 championship wins in the hammer throw: one at the 2019 Pac-12 championships in Tucson, Arizona and another at this year’s Pac-12 championships in Los Angeles, California. At the 2021 installment that took place this past weekend, Rogers took out tough competition, including No. 2 nationally ranked Alyssa Wilson from UCLA.
Rogers’ win in Los Angeles was especially impressive considering she took a hiatus for the full 2020 season, including the invitationals that occurred before the pandemic. Her season to bounce back was 2021 and by all measures — most notably, qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Trials — she succeeded in doing so.
The athlete hailing from Canada had a noteworthy track and field record long before she joined the Bears. In high school, Rogers won gold medals in the hammer throw and shot put events in 2016 and 2017 at the BC Track and Field Championships. In 2018, she competed for Canada at the IAAF World U20 Championships and notched a victory in the hammer throw.
After a triumphant showing at the 2021 NCAA Indoor Championships earlier this year, Rogers reflected on how she approaches such competitive environments.
“When I compete, I talk to some people because I’m a very talkative person, but during competition I definitely also zero in on what I need to do,” Rogers said. “I don’t watch anyone else compete and I don’t watch other throwers; I never really have.”
Rogers was the only athlete for the blue and gold who managed to secure a first-place finish at the highly competitive Pac-12 championships. Senior Iffy Joyner, who’s currently ranked No. 13 in the nation, placed third in the discus. Junior Hakim McMorris came in third in the decathlon, while placing first in five of the individual decathlon events.
Senior Josh Johnson came in fifth in the shot put finals at the Pac-12 championships. He was previously ranked No. 10 in the shot put, but as rankings are constantly changing based on other competitors’ evolving marks, he has moved down to No. 14. Despite his slight slide in the rankings, Johnson is still in a qualifying position for the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Also on the men’s side, freshman Garrett MacQuiddy finished a stellar first season of collegiate action with a 3:44.97 in the 1500 meters and a 1:51.24 in the 800 meters.
Overall, the Cal women placed ninth while the men’s team came in 10th. The USC women’s team won the Pac-12 championships for its third time in a row, and the Oregon men’s team earned its 14th consecutive conference title.
Ultimately, the blue and gold’s showing at the Pac-12 championships was successful. They managed to earn some strong individual finishes against exceptionally competitive Pac-12 teams, and Rogers blew the rest of the competition out of the water as usual.
The spring track and field season is officially coming to a close, with only two invitationals left. Rogers is expected to continue to shine in her senior year and represent the Bears as the top thrower in the country.
Mia Horne covers track and field and cross country. Contact her at [email protected].