The Cal State Northridge track teams know all about road trips.
The last one spanned two years.
Along the way, the Matadors' performance didn't suffer. The men's team finished seventh at the NCAA Division II championships in 1985, and the women's team finished ninth.
The Matadors will compete Saturday in their first home meet since 1984. The season-opening meet with U. S. International University, Cal State Fullerton, UC Riverside and Azusa Pacific begins at 11 a.m.
The poor condition of the CSUN track necessitated the gap between home meets.
"The two inside lanes were bad, so it was hard to get teams to come out here," Coach Don Strametz said.
The all-weather track was resurfaced over the summer, the first of two major changes for the successful CSUN program.
The other change involved the appointment of Strametz as coach of the men's team, replacing Bill Webb. For the past five years, Strametz coached the women's team, which produced 28 All-Americans.
Strametz expects his 1986 women's team to be as strong as ever, which is considerable billing given that Olympians Valler Brisco-Hooks, Alice Brown, Pam Spencer Marquez and Jodi Anderson are all alumni.
Six All-Americans return for the Matador women.
"We have everyone back from last season that scored points at the NCAAs," Strametz said. "We had what we consider an excellent recruiting year. We should be substantially stronger in every area except the throwing events."
The outlook for the men isn't quite as rosy. Strametz was named to coach the team on the day before the fall semester opened, which means he was not able to recruit.
"The numbers for the men are way down," he said. "We do have some quality, but we're definitely lacking in depth."
That could mean a road test of a different dimension.
Add Northridge: There will be no playoffs for the Cal State Northridge basketball team, but the Matadors may yet have an impact on the California Collegiate Athletic Assn. postseason tournament.
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cal State Los Angeles, UC Riverside and Cal State Bakersfield already have clinched the four berths in the postseason tournament. But with only two games separating the teams, there could be changes in the CCAA standings that would alter first-round tournament pairings.
Of the top four, CSUN (10-13, 3-8) plays all but UC Riverside in its final three games of the regular season. The Matadors play tonight at Bakersfield, which is tied with Riverside for third.
With nothing else to play for, the Matadors could be the conference spoilers.
Said CSUN Coach Pete Cassidy: "It puts some meaning in the game to be able to have a say in the outcome of the league."
Still, it's not quite the impact Cassidy had planned. He said motivation may be a problem for the Matadors.
"I think it's only human nature, no matter how you verbalize it," he said. "It sure tests your competitive nature."
Which is about the only test left for the Matadors.
Still standing: Despite two more losses last week, Cal Lutheran could still reach the NAIA District III basketball playoffs, which begin Tuesday.
If the Kingsmen (5-22, 2-10) finish tied with West Coast Christian (15-11, 2-10), the final representative to the district playoffs would be determined Sunday morning in a meeting of coaches.
The deciding factor: College of the Canyons, the defending Mountain Valley Conference champion, ends regular-season play today at 4:30 p.m. against Southwest at the Sports Arena. The game will determine the conference champion.
Canyons and Southwest will play before a National Basketball Assn. game between the Clippers and the Golden State Warriors.