Track and Field: Bears Build Up Steam While Dealing With Injuries

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While they may not be dominating matches just yet, the Cal track and field teams are improving weekly thanks to stellar individual performances.

The latest display of Cal's raw talent came at the Stanford Invitational this past weekend.

While a bad run of injuries has prevented the Bears from realizing their potential, this weekend's meet brought personal bests and a new school record.

"We're just trying to improve each week hoping we'll hit our peak toward the end, in time for the really big meets," coach Erv Hunt said.

The meet took place last Friday and Saturday at Cobb Track and Angell Field and featured such teams as the Cardinal, UC Santa Cruz, USC and New Mexico State.

Cal senior Marielle Schlueter broke her own school record in the 3000 meter steeplechase with a time of 10 minutes, 30.09 seconds, besting her old record by 13 seconds. Schlueter's record was good for seventh overall.

In addition to Schlueter, a number of Bears notched the best marks of their careers at Stanford.

On the women's side, sophomore Deanna Slaton came in sixth in the 400 meter hurdles with a mark of 1:01.11. Junior Leora Ward cleared 12-5 1/2 in the pole vault to finish second in section B, while junior April Holliverse notched a time of 14.09 in the 100 meter hurdles, which was good enough for a second-place finish.

Senior Jennifer Joyce finished second in the hammer, ending her string of three first-place finishes. Her 204-4 mark was still good enough for her fourth NCAA-qualifying mark in as many meets.

The men also produced some spectacular performances.

In the 5000 meters, Cal senior Corey Creasey qualified for the Pac-10 championships with his 14:24.72 mark, which was also his personal best. Junior Joe Berro qualified for Pac-10s with his personal best distance in the javelin of 198. Additionally, Ahmad Wright (48.42) and Randy Fair (48.53) posted personal bests in the 400 meters.

This weekend's meet provided encouraging signs for a Cal team that is shorthanded but gaining steam. Despite rampant injuries, the Bears have quietly been putting together a string of impressive meets.

The previous weekend, at the Cal Invitational, the women took top honors while the men placed fourth despite facing some of the nation's toughest competition, including powerhouse Tennessee, which claimed the men's top spot.

The women were particularly impressive, winning eight events and setting a number of personal records.

While the men have yet to finish first, they are proud of their progress and have their goals in their sight.

The Bears look to be focused and less injury-riddled when they travel to UC Davis to face the Aggies, Boise State and Utah State on April 6.


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