Belger, McLean Earn All-America Honors at NCAA Championships

May 31, 2002

BATON ROUGE, La. - California seniors Erin Belger and Bubba McLean claimed All-America honors Friday at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Moore Track Stadium.

In her first appearance at nationals, Belger took third in the 800m in 2:05.09, narrowly missing joining her parents as 800m national champions. North Carolina sophomore Alice Schmidt won the race in 2:04.73, and Princeton senior Lauren Simmons was second in 2:05.08. Belger's career best of 2:04.39 would have been good enough for the title.

Her performance was the best for the Cal women in a track event at NCAAs since 1997 when Magdalena Lewy finished third in the 5000m.

Bubba McLean, the only Cal male at NCAAs, repeated as an All-American in the pole vault with an eighth-place showing (17-4.5). The fourth through 10th finishers all cleared the same height, so the previous makes and misses were referred to for the tie breakers. Last season, McLean placed fifth at nationals with a mark of 17-10.5. His all-time personal best is 18-0.5.

The Bears struggled in the discus with junior Sheni Russell finishing 17th (157-4) and senior Jennifer Joyce fouling on all three of her attempts. UCLA's Chaniqua Ross won the event with a heave of 182-0, just ahead of Nebraska's Becky Breisch (181-11).

Belger earned six points for the Cal women, which have eight total, while McLean earned one point for the Bear men. Final team scores from day three were not yet available.

All that's left for Cal is to see where it finishes in the team competitions, as the Bears don't have any athletes competing in tomorrow's final day of nationals.

Women's 800m Final:
1. Alice Schmidt (North Carolina) 2:04.73, 2. Lauren Simmons (Princeton) 2:05.08, 3. Erin Belger (Cal) 2:05.09, 4. Melissa DeLeon (Florida) 2:05.69, 5. Tyrona Heath (Georgetown) 2:05.94, 6. Kristina Bratton (Florida) 2:06.15, 7. Aleksandra Deren (USC) 2:06.35, 8. Nicole Cook (Tennessee) 2:06.51, 9. Lenka Kalabova (Iowa State) 2:07.45.

Women's Discus Final (21 total):
1. Chaniqua Ross (UCLA) 182-0, 2. Becky Breisch (Nebraska) 181-11, 3. Krista Keir (Ohio State) 179-2, 4. Stephanie Brown (Cal Poly) 177-6, 5. Lara Saye (UCLA) 175-2, 6. Deshaya Williams (Penn State) 174-5, 7. Rachel Longfors (Florida) 174-4, 8. Mary Etter (Oregon) 173-2, 17. Sheni Russell (Cal) 157-4, Jennifer Joyce (Cal) foul.

Men's Pole Vault Final:
1. Brian Hunter (Texas) 18-8.25, 2. Brad Walker (Washington) 18-2.5, 3. Rocky Danners (Tennessee) 17-10.5, 4t. Paul Litchfield (Idaho State) 17-4.5, 4t. Chris Steddum (South Carolina) 17-4.5, 4t. Adam Keul (SFA) 17-4.5, 7. Jim Autenreith (Baylor) 17-4.5, 8. Bubba McLean (Cal) 17-4.5, plus 12 other competitors.

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