From the dynamic hues of the trees to the incandescent sunsets, a season of change is upon Berkeley. As the autumnal season fast approaches, so does the UCR Invitational for the Cal cross country team.
The opening USF invitational at Golden Gate Park saw quite the performance for both new cubs and returning Bears, as three blue and gold jerseys finished in the top three for the men, finishing in second overall place. An eighth-place showing for the women’s team, however, is undoubtedly a call for improvement at the upcoming invitational.
Cal is now tightening its laces to prepare for the next challenge: the UCR invitational. The course that the Bears will take on come Saturday the 17th will certainly not be for the faint of heart.
The UCR Agricultural Ops course should not be judged lightly based on its outset — it appears to be flat and fairly smooth sailing (or in this case, smooth running) at first, but a difference in elevation of 100 feet between the start and finish area will present quite the challenge for the runners’ endurance and pacing.
The UCR Highlanders have a clear advantage in this sense, as they regularly practice on their home course, not to mention being a well-oiled machine of a cross country team, seeing the men and women dominate at their Nevada Twilight invitational.
There are several blue and gold contenders that the audience should be sure to keep an eagle eye out for, many of which are donning the Cal jersey for the first time. Freshman Caden Carney made a splash in his cross country debut as a Bear as he was the first of his teammates to cross the finish line. Freshman Ellie Black bested her fellow teammates as well, finishing the 6,000 meter race in 22nd place.
Cal head coach Bobby Lockhart expressed his sentiments, especially regarding the performance of his newcomers. The team has had a strong start, he said, but still needs to put in the work ahead of the Pac-12 championships in October.
Whether the work in question was done will soon be revealed at the upcoming invitational, with the women’s 6K at 7:15 a.m. and the men’s 8K at 7:50 a.m.
As the Bears migrate south, they will find out just how much luck and favor the winds of change will bring.