Meister jumps to new heights at Payton Jordan Invite

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The cool weather conditions of the Payton Jordan Invitational historically enable extraordinary performances in long distance races.

But on Sunday, the meet's highlight for the Cal track and field team came in the field events, when senior Kristen Meister broke a school high jump record almost as old as she was.

Meister surpassed Beth Vidakovits' 22-year-old mark of 6-0.75 with a jump of 6-1.25 at the Cobb Track & Angell Field in Stanford, Calif.

After taking two tries to clear the bar at 5-11.25, she squeaked by to claim the record on her third and final attempt.

"Meister's high jump is spectacular, anything over six feet is national honors potential," coach Tony Sandoval said. "She's been on fire the last month."

Meister flirted with the 6-foot mark all season and finally achieved it on Sunday. Her distance was the second best in the country this season -- only Arizona's Brigetta Barrett, with a 6-2.75 at the Mt. SAC Relays, has jumped higher.

And with Pac-10s in two weeks, it's good news for the Bears that Meister is peaking in the last regular season meet.

"(I have to) stay focused on the fundamentals," Meister said of her approach for finishing the season. "If you execute the fundamentals at the right time, it puts you in a place to do big things, jump big bars, jump personal records."

This is Meister's first and last full uninterrupted season at Cal, and she followed a rocky path to get where she is.

As a sophomore transfer to Berkeley from Davidson, she sustained a stress fracture in her femur. Meister underwent surgery for a broken bone in her foot the next year -- a season that also saw her miss two months due to serious illness.

"She's had some injuries and disappointments through the years and I'm happy that it's finally coming together for her," Sandoval said.

"Once you get injured, you lose training but more than anything else, you lose confidence. You have to be in the flow of it and she's trained like a professional and done a tremendous job."

While the Payton Jordan Invitational paid off for Meister, it didn't bode so well for another one of Cal's notable performers.

Senior long distance runner Michael Coe, last year's collegiate winner in the men's 5000m, could not finish the the race this time around. He reinjured the same foot that he hurt in the NCAAs during fall cross country season.

"Like most meets, we had a mixed bag of results with a number of people setting (personal records) and others that didn't run quite so well," Sandoval said.

Tags: TONY SANDOVAL, CAL TRACK AND FIELD, PAYTON JORDAN INVITATIONAL, KRISTEN MEISTER


Byron Atashian covers track and field. Contact him at [email protected]



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