Women Finish Second, Men Fourth in MPSF Championships

Feb. 26, 2005


Seattle, WA -

Entering the final day of the MPSF championships, the men's team had first place while the women sat in last. Before the day was out, the women would climb clear into second place and the men would have to settle for fourth after a hard fought battle to hold off UCLA and Arizona. The men's team suffered two significant setbacks; the first happened in the 60mH when the officials charged sophomore Thomas Mack with a false start forcing him to withdraw. The second, and more serious blow came during the 200m when sophomore Darren Woods, who was having a career day prior to the 200m, suffered a severe hamstring pull. This cause the Bears to loose the points he would have otherwise earned had he won the 200m and forced him to withdraw from the 4x400m where he would have been the strongest relay leg.




Enroute to their second place finish, the women's team broke eight school records out of the 18 records that are officially tracked for the women's team; some of those records were broken twice in the two days of competition. The women's 200m record was broken the first day of competition by Brooke Turner (24.70), but in the finals Shannon Hawes clocked a 24.68, meaning that Turner was only able to keep the title for less than 24 hours. Turner, then turned her focus to the 400m where she improved on her time from the prelims running 55.38 improving on her own school record good enough for third place. Turner still holds the school record for the indoor 400m.


Chloe Jarvis won the women's 800m, coming within exactly a second of the NCAA automatic qualifying standard. Jarvis hung back in third place for most of the race, than right before the final turn, she took control of the race leaving Chinny Offor and Ashley Freeman well behind. Jarvis' time of 2:06.65, breaks the old school record set by the great Louise Romo back in 1984, which was the oldest school record still standing on the women's team. Romo's outdoor records in the 800m and 1500m were also set in 1984. Freshman Alysia Johnson displayed plenty of gamesmanship in clocking 2:13.20, running out fast and taking pains to make sure she was not passed easily on her way to a fourth place finish.


The dominance in the middle distance and distance events usually enjoyed by Stanford, experienced a significant threat as long dormant talents emerged from Cal's distance ranks. The first day saw Senior Girmay Guangul beat back Stanford's David Vidal for third place. Today senior Lindsay Maclise, shaved nine seconds from her outdoor personal best to run 4:50.22. Maclise spent much of the race in the lead pack, running in fourth place. In the very last turn Maclise found an extra gear and ran down Stanford's Lauren Centrowitz to get third place and secure her own school record. Senior Bridget Duffy continued the trend of setting school records and ran a seventh place time of 9:46.03 in the 3000m.


The women's 4x400m relay did not fail to disappoint as the finale event. Cal ran a hotly contested race against Stanford's team. Stanford stayed in first nearly the whole race with Cal only slightly on its heals until the second leg where Stanford began to put some space between itself and Cal. Despite falling to second, the women's team still managed to set the school record for the indoor relay.


While the women's field events didn't see any school records set, freshman Cassandra Strickland got an NCAA provisional qualifying mark in the triple jump leaping 12.83m for a fourth place finish; even more significant is that she was followed by three other Cal athletes who finished consecutively at fifth, sixth, and seventh.




While the Bears were hurt most by the not earning any points in the hurdles and the loss of Darren Woods, the exceptional performance of Girmay Guangul was followed by teammate Giliat Ghebray in the 3000m were he finished fourth, behind two Stanford runners and ahead of six other Cardinal athletes. Ghebray's fourth place finish came in at 8:02.11, which gives him an NCAA provisional qualifier as well. Ghebray's finish was preceded by another school record setting performance in the 800m. Alex McClary, set the school record the day before and improved on his time in the finals running 1:51.71 and giving the freshman third against some seasoned athletes from UCLA and Washington.


The sprints started off very encouraging for the men's team. Senior Toby Atawo broke out of a funk that has been plaguing him for much of this season and ran solidly competitive races in both the 60m and the 200m. Atawo won his heat in the 60m finals at 6.89, giving him fourth overall. In the 200m Atawo won his heat again in 21.52, well behind his lifetime personal best of 21.26, but good enough for second and some improved morale.


After breaking his own school record in the indoor 400m the day before, Darren Woods was poised to run a great follow-up race in today's finals. Out of the blocks, Woods looked slow, starting out in lane six with no one in front of him. Coming into the second turn, Woods sat behind Stanford's Nick Sebes and UCLA's Craig Everheart, the 2004 champion. After the break, Woods was forced to slow down dramatically when Sebes beat him to the pole and Everheart continued to run his own race out ahead. When the turn finally ended, Woods swung out wide and out-muscled Sebes to the tape for second in 47.97, only slightly slower than his record breaking time the day before where he ran 47.90. Cal's hopes for the men's team title were dashed, when Woods, who was the fastest qualifier in the 200m prelims, suffered a devastating hamstring pull in the opening straight of the 200m finals. The Bears would need Woods to run the strong leg on the men's 4x400m relay and without the points he would have won in the 200m, the Bears would not be able to withstand the late charge by the other teams that would be scoring points in the pole vault and the triple jump, events which Cal had no athletes entered. Despite the clutch performance in the 3000m that would follow, the men would fall to fourth behind UCLA, Stanford, and Arizona. Stanford would only beat Cal by 3.5 points.


Team captain Rhuben Williams, brought the team's spirits back up with a school record setting performance in the shot put, throwing 19.01m giving him second place. In a continuance of William's performance, the men's 4x400m relay team set the school record without Woods running. The team was led off by junior Nestor Solis, known for his super-aggressive style of taking the lead immediately, ran to the front right away and kept it clear to the exchange while the rest of the team never let anyone come close clocking 3:12.98.


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