We watch college sports. We talk about college sports. Some of us even write about college sports. Even though these actions give us some insight into the world of Division I athletics, those who actually participate know that watching high-level competitions comes nowhere close to simulating the reality of being a college athlete.
Cal’s very own Olympic-qualified Camryn Rogers is an unstoppable competitor. Her star power stands out at a university that’s experienced celebrities such as Aaron Rogers, Marshawn Lynch and Missy Franklin.
Rogers competes as a thrower at the highest level possible and as observers of her talent we can only take guesses at how she manages to stay on top year after year.
Rogers’ past is lauded with incredible accomplishments and a promising future stands in front of her. She’ll compete at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics in the hammer throw event after her NCAA performance put her fourth in the world rankings. Her off-the-charts talent shines a spotlight on a track and field event that doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of why the Bears are very lucky to claim Rogers as their own.
She’s been a champion since she was in high school
Before she competed for the blue and gold, Rogers, who hails from Richmond, Canada, earned several accolades in her home country. In 2016 and 2017, Rogers won the gold medal in the shot put and hammer throw events at the British Columbia high school track and field championships.
She broke a collegiate record twice in one day
The 2021 track and field season was a product of the hard work Rogers had put in since 2019. Rogers was unable to compete in the abbreviated 2020 season due to injury and COVID-19 pandemic-related cancellations.
At the 2021 Division I NCAA Outdoor Championships, Rogers earned her second consecutive NCAA outdoor title with a series of stellar throws. She used her mental and physical strength to break the NCAA collegiate record in the hammer throw with a mark of 75.52 meters. But, even before she threw her personal best, she had already broken the collegiate record with her first throwing attempt of 74.97 meters.
She is the first Bear in 33 years to win two consecutive NCAA titles
No Cal athlete has defended an NCAA title since Sheila Hudson won the triple jump two years in a row in 1987 and 1988. Hudson went on to become a renowned Olympian, with two world bests and nine American records in the triple jump.
Rogers has swiftly followed in Hudson’s footsteps. With her 2019 and 2021 victories in the hammer throw, she became the first Bear to win two NCAA titles in a row since Hudson’s reign. If the Hudson’s precedent holds, winning consecutive championships while competing for Cal is a predictor of Olympic success.
There’s no other athlete quite like her
There are many qualities that make up a great athlete. Talent is important, along with hard work and dedication. However, these talents alone aren’t enough to win championships and qualify for the Olympics. By not succumbing to the pressure that high-level competition brings, Roger’s has used her mental composure to distinguish herself from the competition.
While others crumble, Rogers focuses better in intense environments — such as the NCAA championships — using her years of experience to help her bring home victories. Her fortitude proves that she has the mental strength and determination to take her abilities to the next level.
Mia Horne covers track and field and cross country. Contact her at [email protected].