BERKELEY — Collegiate track and field competition has finally resumed in the Bay Area. San Mateo resident and University of California Director of Track & Field Robyne Johnson hosted Sacramento State in a dual meet Saturday afternoon at Berkeley’s Edwards Stadium, producing significant national-leading marks for the young season.
It was the first outdoor meet for the Golden Bears in 364 days since last year’s Cal Opener on March 7. No Bay Area university has held a competition since that time.
Cal junior Deshae Wise won the women’s 100 meters in a wind-legal 11.74 seconds, displacing the month-old national collegiate leading mark of 11.90 set by Josephine Anokye of Arizona State.
Although this was, basically, a collegiate-only competition, Cal volunteer sprints and jumps coach Tianna Bartoletta wasn’t about to let that stand as the fastest time of the day. The 3-time Olympic gold medalist, competing unattached, won the second section of the 100 in 11.71 – fastest time by an American this year.
Bartoletta Is the defending Rio Olympics long jump champion and has led off the USA’s gold medal winning 4 x 100 meter relay teams in the last two Olympics – including a world record in 2012 at London. She was fourth in the women’s 100 in London. She is looking for more in Japan this summer, while training and assisting at Cal.
Anna Purchase of Cal produced another collegiate-leading mark in the women’s hammer throw, winning at 218 feet, 3 inches (second-longest in Cal history), over teammate Jasmine Blair, who now ranks No. 5 nationally at 186-7. Blair topped the existing NCAA season list in the women’s discus with a winning throw of 169-8 to defeat teammate Krissy Smoot (with the now No. 6 NCAA qualifying mark of 155-8.) Smoot is a sophomore from San Mateo out of Notre Dame-Belmont.
Half Moon Bay High School grad Claire Yerby made her Cal debut Saturday, finishing second in the women’s 1,500 meters in 4 minutes, 46.04 seconds, won by teammate Margie Cullen (4:34.90).
Top men’s mark was a 1:50.22 time in the 800 meters by Bears freshman Garrett McQuiddy out of Westmont High. That took more than six seconds off the previous top collegiate mark of the young season.
Iffy Joyner of Cal won the men’s discus throw at 179-6, the No. 2 college performance of the season.
California won the women’s dual, 98-32, and the men’s meet, 90-40.
Johnson proudly noted that Cal is hosting three dual competitions this season. They include NCAA power USC on April 10 and the “Big Meet” with Stanford on May 1. The Berkeley High grad is entering her second season coaching the Bears, returning to the West Coast after 14 years leading the track and cross country programs at Boston University. She was an assistant coach at Cal from 1995-2003.
Colleges have moved away from dual meets in recent decades. The return to competition in the pandemic environment, however, has made dual meets more practical. Spectators are still not allowed at area track meets.
Stanford is planning only one home competition this season, the April 2-3 Stanford Invitational for collegiate teams only. There is, currently, no high school competition planned at 2021 meets hosted by California universities.