Vereen Showcases Speed but Coe Suffers Ankle Sprain at Payton Jordan Invitational

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Developments at the Payton Jordan Invitational this Saturday could significantly change the season outlook for the Cal track and field team, but it will take some time to see whether it is for better or worse.

At Cobb Track and Angell Field across the bay at Stanford, the Bears were able to get two additional regional qualifiers: sophomore distance runner Kari Karlsson in the 5,000-meter event and junior Tracey Stewart in the triple jump.

On top of the regional marks and the four individual wins Cal was able to pull out on Saturday, the team saw the explosiveness that all-purpose athlete Shane Vereen has to offer.

Vereen took second in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.66 seconds, and the Bears appear excited to have the Cal halfback running with them going into the summer.

"(Vereen) is obviously a great athlete, the work and the training is starting to take effect," coach Tony Sandoval said. "He ran a lot faster in high school, but I think he's in a good position to run better."

With his spring training in football completed, Vereen looks to be getting back into prime track shape, and he offers the Bears' men's sprints squad a shot at a deep run into nationals for the first time in a few years.

"I think we are most excited about what he can do for our 4x100 relay," Sandoval said. "I mean, with him in it, we could possibly get to nationals. I'm not saying it's guaranteed, but we definitely have a shot at nationals with him."

But it wasn't all positives for Cal. Sophomore Michael Coe, who has established himself as one of the best college distance runners in the nation, had to drop out of his 5,000-meter race because of an ankle injury.

"There was a pile-up, and one of the runners from Oklahoma State fell on (Coe's) ankle and sprained it," Sandoval said. "It was on about the third or fourth lap. Michael continued to run, thinking it might loosen up a little bit, but after it got more and more painful, he dropped out right after two miles."

Coe, who ran this year's fastest mile time in the country last weekend, was planning on seeing how far his recent string of success could take him by contesting in the 1,500-meter race and 5,000m at Pac-10s.

"I thought he was running very well, going with the leaders, and he would've been right there at the end of it, with the 13:30s certainly within his grasp," Sandoval said.

With this new development, Coe will likely have to judge what he runs based on how his ankle is holding up.

"It was a wise decision (for him to drop out of the race)," Sandoval said. "If it would have been NCAAs then I'm sure he would've continued on, but there's a lot of championship running left to be done.

"He'll be getting treatment, and right now I don't see it as something serious, but you never know. We are going to be very cautious with that."


Contact Ashwin Thomas at [email protected]

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