Track and Field Host Bay Area Blast Off
March 14, 2006
IN THE STARTING BLOCKS:
This weekend the California track and field team will open its outdoor season with the Bay Area Blast Off. The meet will be held at Edwards Stadium, with the first events beginning at 9:30 a.m. (PST). Last weekend, sophomore Alysia Johnson earned All-American status after she finished third in the 800m at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark.
A QUICK LOOK AT CALIFORNIA:
The Golden Bears just finished their indoor season last weekend with sophomore Alysia Johnson earning All-American honors in the 800m at the NCAA Indoor Championship. Junior Jonas Hallgrimsson also competed at the championship in the heptathlon. Over the course of the indoor season, the team broke 15 indoor school records with several individuals setting personal best in their events. Now the attention turns to the outdoor season. High hopes are set upon returning All-Americans Antonette Carter, Paul Tienert, Alysia Johnson and Bridgett Duffy, along with a host of new additions to the squad.
A GLANCE AT THE BAY AREA BLAST OFF:
The Bay Area Blast Off will feature the Golden Bears along with selected colleges and junior colleges, along with several local high schools. The meet is slated for Edwards Stadium. The stadium has been host to some of the best individual performances in the sport's history. Cal's track team returned to Edwards Stadium after the 2000 season when the stadium reconstruction project was completed. Edwards's stadium was site to the 2001 Pac-10 Championship and hosted the 1993 Pac-10 meet. The track has a newly installed embedded Martin Surfacing track with eight lanes.
CALIFORNIA IN THE RANKINGS:
The California women's indoor team was ranked in the USTFCCCA Poll as high as No. 16 twice this season. The women's indoor squad were ranked preseason No. 10 by Trackwire. The men's indoor team was not ranked in either poll this season.
LAST OUTDOOR SEASON:
The Bears completed their 2005 season with a number of outstanding performances from both the men's and women's teams in the Pac-10 and NCAA Championships. In the Pac-10 Championships Paul Tienert posted a lifetime best in winning the javelin and senior Chloe Jarvis was the Pac-10 champion in the 800m. Both Tienert and Antonette Carter set school records at the Pac-10 Championships in the men's javelin and women's 100m. The men finished in eighth place with 60.5 points and the women finished fifth with 82 points. Head coach Chris Huffins sent an impressive 15 athletes to the national championships, the most since his short tenure began in 2003. On the men's side the athletes that competed in the NCAA Championships included javelin throwers Adam Burgh and Tienert, 800m runner Alex McClary, senior co-captain David Glasgow and senior All-American shot put thrower Rhuben Williams. The women sent 10 athletes to the NCAAs including Jarvis, Carter, Shannan Hawes, Whitney Schmucker, Alysia Johnson, Cassandra Strickland, Osarhiemen Omwanghe, Elzunia Lamb, Tifany Johnson, and Brooke Meredith. Carter won All-American honors in the long jump, marking Huffins first All-American as a coach at Cal and his first female All-American athlete. Carter's fifth place finish in the 200m earned her second All-American honors of the meet. On the men's side, Tienert's seventh place finish in the javelin earned him All-American honors, marking Huffins first male All-American athlete at Cal. Glasgow finished 11th in the high jump ending his career at Cal with his first All-American honors. The Cal's women team ended up finishing 29th with nine points and Cal's men finished 60th with two points scored by Tienert. Five more Cal athletes earned junior All-American honors at the 2005 U.S. Nationals including Missy Faubus and Emilee Strot in the shot put, Alysia Johnson in the 800m, Tifani Grimes in the heptathlon and Chris Chavez in the 5000m.
Alyisa Johnson has opened up her sophomore track season right where she left off last season. The Canyon Country, Calif., native posted a 2:07.68 in the 800m at the Husky Classic in early February. The time was an NCAA provisional qualifying time. Johnson regained her speed for the MPSF Championship, posting a new school record in the 800m of 2:05.52. Her personal best in the event is 2:05.49. This past weekend Johnson hit just that at the NCAA Indoor Championships. The sophomore matched her personal best 2:05.49 in the prelims. Johnson went into the finals with the third best time. In the finals, Johnson was timed at 2:06.42 to finish third. Johnson earned All-American status with her finish.
GOOD AND PLENTY:
In the recent issue of Track and Field News, the magazine previewed collegiate athletes. On the Cal women's side senior Antonette Carter ranked No. 8 in the 100m, No. 12 in the 200m and No. 4 in the long jump. Sophomore Alysia Johnson was ranked No. 16 in the 800m, while freshman Inika McPherson was ranked No. 4 in the high jump and was given the nod for top freshman in the nation. For the men, junior Paul Teinart was ranked No. 5 in the javelin and junior Teak Wilburn ranks No. 7 in the high jump.
INDOOR RECORD SETTING:
California is off to a hot start. During the indoor season the team rewrote several of the school's indoor records. Senior Antonette Carter set school records in the 60m (7.33) at the Arizona-California Challenge and the 200m (23.81) at the MPSF Championships. Senior Osarhiemen Omwanghe broke the 60 hurdles record with her time of 8.31 at the Husky Classic. Omwanghe had set the previous 60m hurdles' record two weeks prior. Senior Bridget Duffy broke the school record in the mile (4:49.04) and in the 3000m (9:39.26) at the MPSF Championships and sophomore Alex McClary broke his own indoor record in the 800m at the Alex Wilson Invitational after he was clocked at 1:49.71 in South Bend, Ind. At the UW Indoor Invitational, the Cal men's distance medley team broke the school record (9:42.31) and women's (11:28.96) distance medley teams set new school record at the MPSF Championships. Junior Teak Wilburn broke the indoor high jump, with his 7-3.75 from the Tyson Invitational. Sophomores Alysia Johnson broke Chloe Jarvis record in the 800m at the MPSF Championships with her time of 2:05.52, then broke her own record in the prelims at the NCAA Indoor Championships (2:05.49). Rebecca Yau set a new school record in the 5000m after she was clocked at 16:52.66. Also at the MPSF Championships, junior Giliat Ghbray set a new school record in the 3000m (14:13.60).
After successfully competing as a Golden Bears athlete in the early 1990s, Chris Huffins returned to Cal Oct. 16, 2002, as Director and Head Coach of the Men's and Women's Track and Field and Cross Country programs. In the last three years, the Huffins-led Bears have sent more athletes to the NCAA Championships than in any other three-year span (12 in 2003,13 in 2004, and 15 in 2005), and he has overseen 14 All-American honors. Huffins has also witnessed Cal history books rewritten, as there have been 12 new Cal school records and six new freshman records set, which bodes very well for the future. Most impressively, Huffins saw five current Golden Bears compete at the 2004 Olympic Trials in Sacramento, Calif. In 2005, two of Huffins' athletes were ranked in the top 10 in the country by Track and Field News. Antonette Carter was ranked No. 8 in the long jump and Paul Teinert ranked ninth in the javelin. Huffins has seen the team dramatically improve its conference position since he inherited the program. Prior to this season, the women have had their highest Pac-10 team finish in history two years in a row, finishing in fifth place at the conference championships in 2004 and 2005, up four places from 2003. The Golden Bears men's team has moved up to seventh, in the tough Pac-10 conference, having weathered a few key injuries over the last two years. Indoors however, the men have been second and third in the 2004 and 2005 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships. Huffins has also nurtured the development of the true student-athlete, evidenced by more than 60 Pac-10 All-Academic honors that his athletes have earned since 2003. The future looks bright for Huffins and his Golden Bears, was the 2004 incoming freshman recruiting class was ranked No. 1 and the 2005 class was ranked No. 5 in the country, by Track & Field News. Prior to taking the reigns at Cal, Huffins was an assistant coach for six years.Huffins is assisted by Ed Miller (field events-multi-events), Tony Sandoval (head cross country coach), Phil McMullen (pole vault-high jump-multi events), Bryan Fetzer (sprints-hurdles) and Jennifer Joyce (throws).
The Bears will travel next up Interstate 80 for the Hornet Invitational on Saturday, March 25 in Sacramento, before returning home for the Cal Multi-Events on April 29-30.