Cal track & field faces top ranked athletes in 90th Kansas Relays

In an interview Tuesday, Kobe Bryant stated that during his career, he incessantly studied the game of opponent Allen Iverson, learning every little aspect of his game. But this attentiveness came only after Bryant personally saw what Iverson could do on the court. Bryant demonstrated that scouting and watching film are two of the most advantageous strategies in the world of sports, but even still, little compares to seeing your opponents in person and going head-to-head with them.

For many college sports teams, as is the case for Cal track and field, schools generally compete in localized regions. This type of scheduling limits the amount of times a team will see its competitors and often limits its background knowledge to faceless statistics. As the Bears head to the 90th annual Kansas Relays, they will compete face-to-face with top opponents who, for the duration of the season, had merely been names on a leaderboard.

Thousands of miles separate UC Berkeley and Southern Illinois University, but shot putters junior Peter Simon of Cal and junior Jared Kern of Southern Illinois have a connection of mere inches. Simon, who holds the ninth spot in the national rankings at 19.41 meters, trails less than a foot behind Kern’s fifth-ranked mark of 19.65 meters. Simon will be competing against himself in trying to record a new personal best, but he must also topple a distinguished Kern if he is to grace the top tier of the podium.

Junior Destiny Parker, 22nd in the country in the hammer throw, will also get to put a face to…

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