There is no place like home. For the Bears, home is Edwards Stadium. After bouncing from San Diego to Stanford to Texas, the Bears will finally have the chance to compete at their home track.
This weekend, the pressure is on for the blue and gold. The most recent weekly national poll released by the U.S Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) ranks the Cal men’s team in 34th place — a big drop from its third place ranking the previous week. Not to be outdone, the women’s team plunged from 17th to 48th place.
Within the Pac-12, however, the Bears have managed to hold their own with the latest USTFCCCA poll placing the men in third and women in fifth.
Given the team’s strength and depth, climbing up the ranks is not an impossible feat.
This year’s meet will follow a new three-day schedule featuring multi-events on April 6-7 and the rest of the events on April 8.
Starting off with the men’s decathlon, the notable athletes competing in the event include sophomore Riley Knott and senior Cole Whatley.
Last outdoor season at the Pac-12 Championships, Knott earned a personal best of 6,128 points. With a strong history in the high jump, Knott can be expected to put up a high finish in the event and rack in points. Earning a personal best in the discus last month in San Diego, Knott can also hope to keep building off of his achievement.
At last week’s Stanford Invitational, Whatley managed to finish eighth in the low pit high jump. Coming from Texas Tech, Whatley brings a decathlon personal record of 7,031.
Indoor national qualifier and senior Hakim McMorris will not make an appearance in the decathlon as he will be resting up for the upcoming Mt. SAC Relays. However, competing the 400m and discus, McMorris will not have the weekend off.
For the omen’s team, just two Bears will take on the heptathlon — one of who is freshman Torre Anderson who earned the No. 5 spot in the pentathlon in Cal history during the indoor season. Though there are certainly improvements to be made in her game, the freshman has had a strong start to her collegiate campaign.
Sophomore Yuki Hamachi makes up the other half of the squad. Hamachi, who is a long jumper and hurdler, will be competing in the heptathlon for her first time as a Bear.
The long awaited day has finally come for sophomore thrower Mykolas Alekna to make his debut. Last season, Alekna set the all-time NCAA discus record at the Pac-12 championships with a throw of 68.73m. To put this into perspective, the second-best all-time throw stands at 67.66m and was set back in 2004 — Alekna appears untouchable.
Making a special appearance in the hammer throw is now-former Cal athlete Camryn Rogers. Rogers will not be repping blue and gold, however, as she competes in the first meet of her professional career. Luckily for Rogers — and Cal fans — she will be starting her professional career right at home.
The pole vault squad has made a name for itself this season with both senior Amari Turner and sophomore Tyler Burns earning Pac-12 weekly honors this season. Currently, Turner ranks No. 9 in the national with Burns fifth in the nation. Senior Skyler Magula is also a crucial component of the pack holding the No. 16 spot in the nation.
In the sprints, sophomore David Foster and junior Jada Hicks have had successful campaigns this season and will be hard to miss this weekend on the track.
For the distance team, junior Garrett MacQuiddy and freshman Caden Carney will be representing in the men’s 800m. MacQuiddy has led the men’s distance squad this season with consistent showings this season while Carney has achieved two top-10 finishes in the 1,500m.
Senior Lucy Hurt is set to race in the 800m for the women. Hurt, who is a graduate student from Cornell, brings a personal best outside 800m time of 2:22.89. Absent from competition is junior and distance star Claire Yerby. Though Yerby’s program top-10 finishes will be missed, the rest of the women’s distance runners will have the opportunity to step up.
As the Bears near the Pac-12 championships, the weekend’s meet will be an important piece of the team’s training block. The multi-events will begin at 1 p.m. on April 6 and 11 a.m. on April 7. The rest of the events will start at 9:30 a.m. on April 8.