The more the merrier for Cal at Texas meet

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The four-day Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays holds more significance than usual for the Cal track and field team this year.

It's the first time in three years that the Bears are sending more than just a few people to the Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas.

"It's not a big squad but a representative squad," coach Tony Sandoval said. "We're expecting big things from all of them, it's not a meet where you go through the motions. The people in the finals here are the same ones that will be at the finals in NCAAs."

Senior decathlete Mike Morrison, whose name is always present in the NCAA discussion, will complete in the 10 events today and Thursday while Friday and Saturday feature the majority of the rest of the events.

Morrison was the only athlete representing the Bears last year, posting an NCAA qualifying score of 7,557 despite windy conditions. He seeks to have a similar impact this year as the postseason fast approaches.

"We're hoping he can get situated for NCAAs," Sandoval said.

Morrison has already posted an NCAA automatic qualifying mark for the season. His focus therefore is to refine his technique and hit his peak at the right time.

Cal is sending more athletes this year to prevent rust from accumulating before the Big Meet next weekend. It's for the same reason that the Bears made a last-minute decision to participate in the Cal Poly Invitational and the Johnny Matthis Invitational last Saturday.

"I didn't want a lot of athletes not to compete two weeks in a row," Sandoval said. "You have to keep building. Each week is more important than the other week."

Junior hurdler Ray Stewart tweaked his back in the 4x100m at the Johnny Matthis Invitational and is questionable for this weekend.

He had to sit out the final race in the 100m despite posting Cal's fastest mark since 2009 with a time of 10.60 in the preliminaries.

This season has been a roller coaster for Stewart because of his congenital back problem, which also caused him to miss the first two meets of the season.

His condition flares up from time to time, often without warning, and now threatens his postseason opportunities.

With Stewart's absence in the 100m finals, Chase Wheeler won the event with a mark of 10.73. The time was an improvement from 10.80 in the preliminaries. Wheeler will participate in the long jump at the Texas Relays.

Also making the trip to one of the largest track and field meets in the country is high jumper Brian Carmichael. The junior from San Jose had an impressive outing at the Johnny Matthis Invitational, clearing the bar at 6-8.00 to take the title for his team.


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

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