Divide and conquer: Bears compete in Albuquerque, Seattle

Photo of Cal Track and Field runner
William Webster/Staff

Related Posts

While generalizations aren’t always fair, it’s safe to say that distance runners are often the “odd ducks” on any given track and field team. While the throwers, jumpers and sprinters spend their autumn in a blissfully long preseason, the distance squad is hard at work in cross country, forming an almost cultlike bond. During the track season, while the rest of the roster hones its strength and explosiveness in the weight room, the distance squad is outside logging miles.

The bottom line is that most sprinters would shudder at the thought of racing more than 400 meters — they simply can’t wrap their head around why anyone would participate in a race measured in minutes, not seconds.

The events of this weekend may have perpetuated the quirky qualities of the distance runners. While the sprinters, throwers and jumpers flew to Albuquerque to compete in the Don Kirby Invitational, the distance runners were sent up north to Seattle for the Husky Invitational.

The Bears divided and conquered, posting strong marks and personal records in both the northern and southern corners of the state.

Throws

A pair of Bears, Justin Wirtz and Krissy Smoot, took on an imposing field in Albuquerque. Wirtz walked away with a new PR of 16.58 meters, while Smoot’s longest toss measured in at 13.11 meters, good for 24th out of 43 competitors.

Sprints

Freshman Aysha Shaheed had a standout performance for Cal sprints — she won the unseeded 200-meter dash in 24.14 seconds and earned the fourth place spot on Cal’s all-time list. Sophomore George Monroe earned third place and a PR in the men’s unseeded 200.

In the men’s 60-meter dash, freshman David Foster continued his successful 2022 campaign, earning a second-place spot on Cal’s all time list in his blazing time of 6.74. Senior Ezinne Abba came in fifth place in the women’s 60.

The Cal sprinters’ strong performance is due in no small part to its underclassmen. The competitive prowess of Cal’s freshman and sophomores bodes well for seasons to come.

Jumps

This weekend, a pair of long jumpers soared all the way into Cal’s all-time top-10 list. Ijeoma Uche did so in the women’s event, landing in 10th with a leap of 5.96 meters. On the men’s side, Mason Mangum continued his outstanding start to the season by jumping 7.45 meters, good for ninth place in Bears history.

Cal pole vaulters also had an excellent showing. Amari Turner and Tyler Burns catapulted themselves to PRs of 3.97 and 4.98 meters, respectively. Turner’s 3.97 was the fifth-best mark in school history.

Distance

Nearly 1,500 miles north of Albuquerque, several members of the distance squad ran circles at the Husky Classic in Seattle. The highlight of Day

While the sprinters, throwers and jumpers flew to Albuquerque to compete in the Don Kirby Invitational, the distance runners were sent up north to Seattle for the Husky Invitational. 

1 was graduate student Erin Archibeck’s notable performance in the 3,000-meter. Not only did Archibeck notch a fifth-place finish and a new personal record, but her time of 9:31.52 landed her a spot on Cal’s top-10 all-time list. While Archibeck competed in undergrad for Notre Dame, 2022 is her first track season with Cal.

It must have felt good to snag a PR this early in her first track season wearing blue and gold.

But Archibeck wasn’t the only Bear to walk off of the oval with personal bests — on Day 2, Claire Yerby and Jessica Nye both recorded their career-fastest mile times in 4:56.10 and 4:57.94, respectively. In the men’s mile, Garrett MacQuiddy posted a sizzling time of 4:01.02, the sixth fastest in Cal history. He was followed by Arjun Vadgama (4:11.90) and senior Jaden Rosenthal, who crossed the line with a personal record of 4:13.23.

Graduate student Ben Micallef was arguably the strongest performer in the distance squad. His second-place time of 1:49.07 is a personal record and the second best in Cal history. Most impressive, however, he ran a Maltese national record.

Not only did the Bears manage to be in two places at once this past weekend, they also managed to thrive in two places at once. The season is still young, and yet Cal athletes have already earned scores of top-10 marks in school history. If one thing’s for certain, it’s that several school records are in jeopardy this year.

Sarah Siegel covers track and field. Contact her at [email protected]. Ethan Moutes covers track and field. Contact him at [email protected].