If Cal’s season is a marathon, it’s just reached the turnaround point — There are many miles behind them, but the toughest part still lies ahead. After an impressive indoor season, Cal track and field will be hosting its outdoor season opener on Mar. 5 at Edwards Stadium. Events will start at 9:30am.
Saturday’s meet will offer a 1500m and 800m race for Cal’s distance corps. The squad’s training has been consistent and intentional, completing two speed workouts, a long run, a couple of recovery runs and two weight training sessions each week. This training regime will extend throughout the duration of the outdoor season, until the Bears taper for championship races at the end of the season.
“I wouldn’t say there’s a specific mileage that everyone’s running, we’re just maintaining and staying consistent going into outdoor season: Trying to stay injury free and ready to go. [We are] doing a lot of track workouts and hills,” said assistant distance coach Kayla Ferron. “Staying fresh, but also putting hard work in.”
Sprinting is serious business — Times are measured in fractions of a second, leaving virtually no room for error. As the Bears get fired up for the start of outdoor season, Cal fans will likely lean on each other for support as they watch their team attempt to break barriers and shave milliseconds off their times.
“It’s very family oriented. You come in here and you have a great support system. A lot of people out there are rooting for you and supporting you,”said senior Jenea Spinks.
Spinks competes in the 100m and 200m races, and has struggled with ongoing injuries. On the bright side, Cal’s sprinting squad is young, and many of the top performers are freshmen. In that regard, the stakes for the 2022 season are relatively low. If nothing else, this outdoor season will offer a chance for underclassmen to get more races under their belt and set long-term goals.
Nevertheless, fans can surely expect strong performances out of freshman Aly Conyers and sophomore George Monroe.
Outdoor season adds a few more throws to the event schedule — which might translate into a few more opportunities for Cal throwers to showcase their talent. When asked to name some of Cal’s standout performances, head coach Robyne Johnson’s response was swift and decisive:
“Camryn Rogers, as per usual. And Josh Johnson.”
To be fair, she went on to mention a handful of jumpers, sprinters and distance runners. But her initial praise went to Rogers and Johnson, two names mentioned without hesitation. That speaks volumes to their consistent domination of the throwing ring.
Several Cal jumpers shone brightly during the indoor season. Junior Mason Mangum emerged as a top competitor for the corps after having participated solely in sprints during the 2021 season. Mangum soared to a PR of 7.58 meters at the 2022 Pac-12 Invitational.
Fellow junior Kamau Carlisle has also shown out — At the Dr. MLK Jr. Collegiate Invitational in late January, he launched himself 7.31 meters for a new PR. Expect big things from Mangum and Carlisle as the track season moves outdoors.
A pair of transfers from Brown have also performed impressively in their first months donning blue and gold. Ijeoma Uche and Felicia Renelus put up strong, consistent performances in the long jump and triple jump, respectively. In fact, Renelus put up a career-best 12.64 meters in the triple jump at the Don Kirby Invitational.
With the indoor season behind it, Cal has its sights set on what lies ahead. Off in the distance, the season’s finish line awaits in Eugene, Oregon — home of the 2022 Pac-12 Championships.
But there’s a lot of work to put in before that finish line is reached. Meets like the Bears’ upcoming season opener will help them find their footing to ensure they’re in full stride when it comes into view.