daily californian logo


Apply to The Daily Californian by September 8th!

Healthy competition: Bears to face Pac-12 rivals in San Diego

article image



We're an independent student-run newspaper, and need your support to maintain our coverage.

MARCH 23, 2023

No matter how successful or good you are at something, you can always get better. Regardless of who you are — the best athlete, the best actor, the best writer — there is always room for growth, adjustment and improvement. In fact, the only way to truly get better is to experience difficulty. Remember the wise words of Kelly Clarkson: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

After facing Stanford last week, the Bears will compete against other Pac-12 contenders for the first time this outdoor season, such as Oregon and Washington. During the indoor season, the Ducks managed to send nine athletes plus one qualified relay squad to nationals compared to just two athletes repping the blue and gold. The Huskies sent a program-record-breaking 20 athletes.

While the Bears have proved their skill thus far, these Pac-12 teams will certainly provide Cal with a healthy and necessary challenge.

The Bears have had a history of success at the invitational. Last year, Cal men’s track and field placed second overall — beating out the Ducks, who found themselves in fourth place. Women’s track and field placed third with the Ducks in first place.

Leading the women’s hammer throw last week at Stanford was junior Rebecca Tomann with a second place finish. Last outdoor season, Tomann stamped her name in 10th place with the farthest throw in program history in the event. Ahead of Tomann, second in school history, is hammer specialist and senior Anna Purchase. This meet will mark Purchase’s outdoor debut, and there will certainly be more to come from Purchase this season.

After a dominant showing last weekend, the men’s hammer throwers are expected to continue to put up high marks. Last year in San Diego, Cal men’s hammer throw showed out in the discus with now-sophomore Mykolas Alekna and now-senior Iffy Joyner, who earned first and second place, respectively. While Alekna is not scheduled to make his season debut until the Brutus Hamilton Invitational, Joyner is set to compete in San Diego. Joyner owns the fourth all-time discus record in Cal history.

Numerous Bears are expected to be seen making jumps and catching air at the invite. In the high jump, fans can catch senior Jai Williams clearing the bar. During the indoor season, Williams walked away with a tie for the eighth-best result in school history.

As for the women, senior Ijeoma Uche has a solid history in the long jump. Last weekend, competing for the first time this year, Uche earned the No. 10 spot in program history in the event.

Competing in the long jump and triple jump will be senior Asha Fletcher. The Aztec Invitational was certainly a victory for Fletcher last year, as she placed first in the triple jump and third in the long jump. During the 2021 outdoor season, Fletcher etched her name into the record book with the sixth-best long jump and triple jump in program history.

During the indoor season, the sprinters found their stride, leading the Bears to many all-time program bests. However, the squad’s depth goes beyond these big name record-breakers.

Midway through the indoor season, sophomore Di’Niko Bates ran the fifth-fastest 60m hurdles in school history. Last Saturday, Bates had a smooth transition into the outdoor season, racing a 14.27 in the 110m hurdles, a performance good for third place and a personal record.

Last year was junior Jazlynn Shearer’s first season with the Bears after transferring from UNLV. Last outdoor season she ran a 13.55 in the 100m hurdles, securing her the No. 5 spot in program history. On Saturday, fans can catch Shearer in the 100m dash and hurdles.

After a quick turnaround from last week’s Cardinal Classic, the Bears hope to come into the invite with honed technique and small improvements. Facing some of its toughest Pac-12 opponents, Cal will see where they fall among the ranks.

Contact Simone Parisi at 


MARCH 23, 2023