Cal Begins 2006 at San Francisco Invitational

Aug. 28, 2006

BERKELEY, Calif. -

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CAL OPENS SEASON AT USF INVITATIONAL: California begins the 2006 season at the 14th-annual San Francisco Invitational Saturday, Sept. 2, at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. The women's 5K race starts at 9:15 a.m., followed by the men's 8K event at 10 a.m. The course, which begins and ends at Speedway Meadow, is composed primarily of grass and dirt trails with gradual uphill and downhill slopes. The field is expected to include Arizona, Cal, San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Jose State and Saint Mary's, among other teams. Cal expects to send primarily its B team. Last year, the Bears raced seven athletes at the meet. Amanda Thornberry led the Cal women in eighth place (18:44.1), while Eric Roberts paced the Cal men in 20th (26:21.2).

MATUSAK, TORRENCE PACE CAL MEN: Sophomore Mark Matusak (Torrance, Calif.), the 2005 Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year, and junior David Torrence (Reseda, Calif.) are likely Cal's one-two punch this year. Matusak was the top freshman at the 2005 Pac-10 meet, placing 17th (24:56). Torrence, who missed the last two seasons due to academic reasons, finished 44th (26:28.60) at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships.

OTHERS TO WATCH FOR CAL MEN: Junior Chris Chavez (Culver City, Calif.), sophomores Jake Schmitt (Kentfield, Calif.), Yoself Ghebray (Union City, Calif.) and Andy and Alex McClary (Shelton, Wash.) are also top returners from last season. Freshman Michael Coe, the runner-up at the 2005 Footlocker Nationals and a state cross country champion, and junior transfer Francis Gadayan (San Francisco, Calif.), who claimed two JC state titles in the 800m, could be factors.

DUFFY, YAU LEAD BEAR WOMEN: Senior Bridget Duffy (Oakland, Calif.) and junior Rebecca Yau (Orinda, Calif.) are expected to lead the Cal women this season. Duffy, who earned All-America honors in cross country in 2003, has led the Bears in 15 of 17 career competitions. Last season, she paced the team at the NCAA West Regional with a 34th-place (21:28) showing. Yau placed 27th (22:04) at the Pac-10 Championships to lead her teammates. At the 2006 MPSF Indoor Championships, Yau set a school indoor record in the 5000m (16:52).

OTHERS TO WATCH FOR CAL WOMEN: Top contenders for top five spots include sophomore Alysia Johnson (Canyon Country, Calif.), senior Elizabeth Mayeda (Aptos, Calif.), sophomore Mackenzie Pierce (Pffaftown, N.C.), junior Amanda Thornberry (San Jose, Calif.), junior Pippa Macdonald (Kailua, H.I.) and redshirt freshman Gabriella Rios-Sotelo (Berkeley, Calif.). The newcomers may crack the rotation, as well: Alison Greggor (Novato, Calif.), Rowena Tam (San Diego, Calif.) and Rebecca Palm (Campbell, Calif.).

2005 IN REVIEW: Senior Giliat Ghebray grabbed eighth place (24:30) to lead the Cal men's team to a school-record third-place finish at the 2005 Pac-10 Championships. The Bears finished eighth at the NCAA West Regional behind a 15th-place showing (30:38.2) from Ghebray, who qualified for the NCAA Championships. At the national meet, Ghebray took 63rd place (30:39.5). The Cal women's team finished seventh in the Pac-10 and 11th at the NCAA regional. Yau placed 27th at the conference meet to lead all Cal harriers, while Duffy took top team honors (34th, 21:28) at the regional.

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