Seniors to be honored at home

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The Brutus Hamilton Invitational will be not only the last home meet of the season, but for the 25 seniors on the Cal track and field team, the last of their college careers.

The senior Bears will be honored at Edwards Stadium for their contributions to the program during a ceremony held Saturday afternoon. The meet takes place all day today and tomorrow.

The significance and emotion of the Brutus Hamilton is felt all around.

"A lot of the group pretty much started with me four years ago, so they have a special place in my heart," coach Tony Sandoval said. "I'm sure it's special to them, but they're also special to me as well."

The graduating class, which is larger than it has been in the last few years, aims to carry the emotional intensity into their respective events.

"This is an all-star list if you ask me," Sandoval said of the seniors.

The Brutus Hamilton Invitational has been witness to a number of outstanding performances in recent years, notably in the Don Bowden Mile.

In each of the last three years, a Cal runner has broken the four-minute milestone in the event named after the Bear who became the first American runner to breach that barrier in 1957.

David Torrence did it in 2008 with a time of 3:59.10, Michael Coe set the school record in 3:56.18 in 2009 and Steve Sodaro surpassed it last year with a 3:59.42 mark.

While Torrence has graduated, Coe and Sodaro are currently seniors. They now seek to extend the streak to four years.

Other seniors competing this weekend who have made recent contributions are Rowena Tam and Tracey Stewart.

Tam, who was already second on the all-time performer list in the women's 3000m steeplechase, ran a new personal record of 10:32.79 in last weekend's Big Meet. The time closed the gap between her and Marielle Schlueter, who is at the top of the list with a 10:22.38.

Stewart, who has only recently gotten back to 100 percent from injury, has jumped 20-6.50 in the long jump and 43-9.75 in the triple jump this season. Her marks bumped her up to 15th and fifth place, respectively, in the nation.

More than 15 universities from around the country, most of them from the west coast, are sending athletes to the meet. Those schools include Fresno State, Harvard and Stanford, which boasts the No. 8 men's team and No. 17 women's team.

Additionally, a handful of competitors competing for club teams or individually will also fill up the stadium.

"It's not as big as it was last year but nevertheless, it's a very good meet for people in the area to make," Sandoval said. "There will be a lot of participants, so we hope to have a good showing."

The meet kicks off on the field today at 9 a.m. while the action on the track begins at 2 p.m. The invitational will resume Saturday at 10 a.m. on the field and 1:30 p.m. on the track.


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

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