Cal Track & Field at NCAA: Rogers goes for Hammer defense Thurs.; Joyner on Discus Fri.

Camryn Rogers and Iffy Joyner will wrap up the 2020-21 Cal Athletics season in the next two days

One of the weirdest years in Cal Athletics history will finally conclude by the end of this week. With the hopes that this coming fall will mostly be back to normal, two Cal field student-athletes will be literally tossing objects as far away as possible in a fitting end of the 2020-21 season.

Camryn Rogers also serves as a nice segue to the W4C 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games coverage, which will effectively start in earnest with the Wave II of the USA Swimming Olympic Trials next week from June 13th-20th from Omaha, Nebraska. The Cal junior Rogers herself is an Olympic hopeful who will compete in the Canadian Track and Field Trials at the end of the month from Montreal, Canada.

The fancy facility built on Nike money in Eugene, Oregon will serve as the host for the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships this week. You can find the full schedule of events in the link below, but the two relevant Cal events are singled out.

NCAA Schedule of Events:

Women’s Hammer - Thursday 1:00 PM PT, WatchESPN coverage

Men’s Discus - Friday 4:35 PM PT, WatchESPN coverage

Camryn Rogers is not just the defending NCAA champion (from 2019 in Austin, Texas since 2020 did not have any Winter and Spring NCAA championships) but also the clear favorite in women’s hammer toss (which technically will be held outside Hayward Field). Rogers won the NCAA West Prelim with a throw of 72.16m (236-9), which was 2.14 meters further than the winning throw of the NCAA East Prelim. Rogers also hopes to eclipse her own personal record (and Cal school record) set earlier this year of 73.09m (239-9) from the same venue as this week.

While it may feel like eons ago, check out the following excerpt from the New York Times series on Cal Athletics this past fall:

Now back in Berkeley, under quarantine, [Josh Johnson’s] roommate is Rogers, the women’s hammer throw champion from near Vancouver, British Columbia. Last spring, she hoped to successfully defend her N.C.A.A. title, then qualify for the Canadian team and compete in the Tokyo Summer Olympics.

When it became clear that all of her 2020 dreams had been erased, Rogers cried.

“I was upset, I was disappointed,” she said. “I remember talking to my coach and saying, ‘What happens now?’”

Instead of competing against the world’s best, Rogers was at home from March 11 until a few days ago. Now she hopes that 2020 was just a hiccup, and that 2021 brings the national championship and Olympic berth she expected this year.

“The first major change that I did was, instead of saying things got ‘canceled,’ saying things were ‘postponed,’” Rogers said. “Because it creates that mental assurance that, yes, things aren’t happening right now, but they will be.”

For all that Rogers felt went wrong last year due to the pandemic, this month will hopefully be the delayed-but-still-sweet gratifications for all of her hard works, both from prior to 2020 that made her a world-class athlete but also for 2020 when she had to stay physically and mentally fit to wait out the “postponements”.

Joining Rogers in Oregon is “sophomore” (but academically a senior) Iffy Joyner on men’s discus. Joyner was 6th in the NCAA West Prelim to earn the 16th seed. He will look to improve on his 18th place finish in this event from the 2019 NCAA Championships. I think Joyner could be able to earn All-American honor (a finish in the top 8, I believe) but probably not the podium (top-3).

Best of luck to the two Golden Bears!