In January, back when the weather was cooler and we were all still memorizing our class schedules, Cal track and field started chipping away at an intimidating meet schedule. Twenty-two meets in multiple states were slated for the Bears. Now, depending on end of season qualifiers, the Bears have just six meets left — six more chances to walk off the track proud.
On Saturday, the blue and gold will knock that number down to five as they host the Brutus Hamilton Invitational at Edwards Stadium in Berkeley. Cal seems to be rounding the last corner of the track.
Sophomore Garrett MacQuiddy has slowly been building his confidence on the track, and impressive results have followed. At the Stanford Invitational, he ran a PR and the seventh-fastest time in school history in the 1500-meter, crossing the line in 3:41.62.
Fans should follow sophomore Claire Yerby’s campaign in the 800-meter. At the end of March, she posted a blazing PR of 2:09.82, which was good enough for No. 2 at the meet.
While it isn’t the strongest facet of Cal’s track and field team, the distance lineup is bolstered by its consistency. It might be a building year for the distance athletes. But with a new assistant coach and younger talent, it’s likely the distance team is thinking in years, not weeks.
If there’s any sprinter to watch, its senior Ezinne Abba. 2021 was her breakout season, and she has not been shy in building on last year’s success. Last weekend at the Stanford Invitational, Abba won the 100-meter and the 200-meter, penciling her name in as the third-fastest 200 runner in school history. Not only has Abba forged her own success, but she seems to be pulling along classmate Maisie Stevens, who took second place in both the 100 and 200 last weekend.
Cal has found itself ranked among the top 15 teams in the nation — due, in no small part, to the dominance of the throwing squad.
Senior Camryn Rogers often wins by margins nearly too ridiculous to print. At the Stanford Invitational, she threw the hammer 21 feet further than the No. 2 finisher. Rogers is in elite company: Her throw marks her as the third-best hammer thrower on the planet.
While Rogers is an obvious standout, many members of the throwing squad can consistently break into the top five in their events — a trend Cal fans hope to see persist as the season wears on.
Senior Hakim McMorris managed to usurp both Mason Mangum and Kamau Carlisle in the long jump last weekend to take second in the event. Cal’s men’s long jump lineup is solid and arguably the strongest facet of Cal’s jumping squad. However, junior pole vaulter Amari Turner is not to be overlooked. She PRed in Palo Alto, hoisting herself 4.05 meters into the air and into the fifth-place spot in Cal’s history books.
As the meet schedule dwindles away, the pressure is on for the Bears. Cal will split into three parts for the next weekend of competition for the Bryan Clay Invitational, the Long Beach Invitational and the Mt. SAC Relays. It’ll be vital for Cal to run strong Saturday as its next competition as a team will be at the Big Meet against Stanford.