Bears Journey to First Meet

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The Cal men's and women's track and field teams have waited a long time for the opportunity to perform in Berkeley.

But with the one-and-a-half-year renovation of Edwards Stadium finally completed, the teams will have to continue to wait to officially break in the facility. The Bears' first scored meet of the season comes on the road and begins tomorrow.

Cal will travel to Southern California for the UCLA Triangular meet. In addition to the Bears and the host Bruins, Pac-10 rival Washington will take part in the competition.

It will be the first competition for UCLA since the NCAA Indoor Championships, where the women took first and the men finished in 12th place. This will be Washington's first meet of the outdoor track season.

The Bears have competed once this season, at the Cal Invitational last Saturday. The meet featured the Bears and Nevada as the only teams competing and was not scored.

Cal dominated the competition, taking first place in 14 events, but such high marks will not be so easy to come by in Los Angeles.

"This is really our first race," Bears coach Erv Hunt said. "(The Cal Invitational) was sort of a low-key event."

The men's squad returns one All-American in decathalete Bevan Hart. The senior garnered All-America status for the second time last season after finishing third at the NCAA Championships.

Kidefu Evans and Jerriod Mack will be joined by freshmen Robert Kennedy and Vincent Ibia to help bolster the long and triple jumps. Kennedy was the high school state champion last season.

In the sprints, Hunt points to the men's depth as crucial to Cal's success this season. With Wayne Boddy out with a stress fracture, the Bears will look to the likes of Phillip Pipersburg and Jason Manly to lead the charge.

The men also figure to make an impact in distance running. Cal features two potential NCAA qualifiers in Bolota Asmerom and Peter Gilmore, both of whom qualified for nationals for the cross country team this past fall.

Hunt points to the throws - shot put, hammer throw, javelin and discus - as one of the men's weaker areas this season.

In contrast, the throws figure to be a strength for the women. Jennifer Joyce returns after qualifying for the NCAA Championships as a freshman, finishing 15th in the hammer throw last season.

Dana Lawson will compete in the shot put, discus, and hammer. The junior recorded a personal best at the Cal Invitational in both the discus (150 feet, 11 inches) and hammer (158-5).

Overall, the field events look to be strong for the women this season. Boise State transfer Missy Vanek comes to Cal after finishing third in the Big West in the heptathalon the last two seasons.

Vanek, Tiffany Barnett, Lauren Dudugjian, and Cynthia Mallory give the Bears a solid group in the high jump while Shawna Adkins and Reynda King provide Cal a formidable duo in the long jump and triple jump.

Like the men, the women will be strong in the sprints, but thinner in distance competition.

"We don't have the quantity or quality (in the women's distance running)," Hunt said. "But overall (for the men and women), it looks good."


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