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Stanford Track & Field: Baker Shines in 123rd Annual Big Meet

The Cardinal women beat Cal!

NCAA Football: UCLA at Stanford Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This past weekend the Cardinal competed in the 123rd annual Big Meet against Cal in a battle that never threatens to disappoint. The women’s team ran away with an 85-74 victory on the back of Olivia Baker, and the men’s team came close, losing by a score of 91-70.

Baker, the reigning Pac-12 400m champion, broadened her range just a bit and took the 100m and 200m, following that up with her bread and butter 4*400m anchor leg. Once again, she made it into a photo finish by beating out Cal’s Rebecca Croft on the final turn. The relay combined for a 3:41.79s and won the event for the 7th straight year.

On the men’s side, Isaiah Brandt-Sims matched Baker by winning the 100m and 200m, along with a relay--the 4*100m in his case. Jack Uudame was also a member of that winning relay, taking the long jump and high jump crowns as well.

The Cardinal swept the women’s javelin with Mackenzie Little (171’ 10”), Jenna Gray (160’ 9”), and Victoria Smith (150’ 2”) going 1 2 and 3. Then they followed that up with Lena Giger’s win in the shot put with a throw of 55’ 5.5”, a personal best by over 9” that moved her up to No. 3 on Stanford’s all-time list.

Michael Painter won the men’s hammer throw with a personal best of 219’ 3”, moving him up to No. 8 in Stanford history. Those points coming from him can be considered icing on top of the cake because in reality, he is a graduate student at Stanford studying computer science. However, since he came in from the University of Cambridge and did not compete all of those years, the NCAA deemed him a junior in eligibility and now he can compete in the red in white.

"You love having an older guy like that who just brings a professionalism and maturity every day that affects that whole group really positively," said Chris Miltenberg, Stanford's Franklin. P. Johnson Director of Track and Field "When you add a grad transfer, the No. 1 thing you're looking for is that level of maturity and professionalism that helps your younger athletes."

This fall’s No. 5 finisher at the NCAA Cross Country Championships, Grant Fisher, made his hilly anticipated return to the track this past weekend, winning the 1500m in 3:46.18s, coming in hot on the final straightaway.

The women’s 800m was a show as well. Stanford had 4 runners finish under the 2:08s mark. Elise Cranny came in first at 2:05.43s, followed by Malika Waschmann in 2:05.77s, then Christina Aragon (2:06.21s) and Sarah Walker (2:07.88s) in 4th and 5th respectively. Showcasing that much depth in the event only shines a positive light on the 4*800m the team plans to run at the renowned Penn Relays in 3 weeks—which I’ll actually be competing at myself.

"What we just told them is we value how we compete," Miltenberg said. "Do we come out and compete to the best of our ability no matter where the situation is? The score isn't really part of that. Today, in every single spot that we lined up – men or women -- we competed incredibly tough, overachieved.

"And right now, the way we're training, we're not ready for this. We're in a deep heavy work phase right now where we just come out and grind when we weren't really feeling great. And to me, that says a lot about where we're headed in the spring. But more than anything, it was how tough we competed every chance we got. I'm really proud of that and excited about it."

Stanford’s eyes are set on the postseason, and these early season meets are only used as workouts to train for that ultimate goal. There is more than meets the eye with these final scores.