Cal Men, No. 15 Cal Women Host California Collegiate Challenge

April 26, 2007

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Event: California Collegiate ChallengeDates: April 27-28Location: Edwards Stadium and Goldman Field, Berkeley, Calif.

California hosts the inaugural California Collegiate Challenge on Friday and Saturday, April 27-28, at Edwards Stadium and Goldman Field. Eleven talented teams, including nationally ranked squads from Cal, Oregon, Florida and Stanford, will make up the field for this prestigious meet. The Cal women's team, currently ranked 15th in the latest USTFCCCA national poll and 16th by Trackwire, features the likes of indoor 800-meter champion Alysia Johnson, Kelechi Anyanwu, the Golden Bears' record-holder in the discus, and Inika McPherson, an indoor high jump All-American. The Bears men feature such stars as David Torrence, who's run NCAA regional qualifiers in the 800 and 5,000, Ed Wright, who's qualified in the high jump at 7-1, and John Ludden, a regional qualifier in the hammer with a top throw of 196-7 this season.

Scouting the Field

Cal State Fullerton - In the Titans' most recent action, senior Jordan Horn set a school-record 29:02.57 in winning the 10,000-meter run on April 21 at the Oregon Invitational in Eugene, Ore., while freshman teammate Jameena Hunt set a school record in the women's shot put (42-10.75).

Florida (men only)- The Gators men bring a No. 18 ranking in the USTFCCCA poll and a No. 23 ranking in the Trackwire poll to Berkeley. Head coach Mike Holloway, in his fifth year in Gainesville, was named the sprint and hurdles coach for the 2007 USA men's World Championships team this summer. He brings some outstanding talent to Berkeley particularly in the sprints with freshman Jeremy Hall (100 and 200), sophomore Willie Perry (100 and 200), a former junior national champion in the 100 and 200, and freshman Calvin Smith (100, 200 and 400). Smith holds Florida's top time of the season in the 400 with a regional-qualifying 46.12, while Hall clocked the Gators' top times in the 100 (10.30) and 200 (21.01) also with regional qualifiers. Trackwire's Dandy Dozen ranks Florida's 4x100-meter relay as the third-best in the nation. On the field, junior Wes Stockbarger, who was a 2006 All-American in the discus after taking ninth at NCAAs, and senior long jumper Mike Morrison, a multiple All-American, also rate among the best in the United States.

Houston - Cougars junior Ivan Diggs tied for eighth in the men's high jump at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a mark of 7-0.25 (2.14 meters). Senior Ebonie Floyd ran a 22.98 to finish sixth in the women's 200-meter final. Floyd also finished 14th in the 60 meter prelims (7.38).

Illinois (women only) - Fighting Illini seniors Camille Robinson and Carlene Robinson, twin sisters from Manchester, Jamaica, are two of the top hurdlers in the nation at 400 meters, ranking sixth and eighth, respectively in Trackwire's Dandy Dozen. Camille, who this year has run a regional-qualifying time of 58.37, placed sixth in the 400 hurdles at the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Championships. Carlene paces the Illini with a regional-qualifying time of 57.96 in the 400 hurdles. Senior Yvonne Mensah leads Illinois in the long jump with her regional-qualifying jump of 6.05 meters set at the Texas Relay. Mensah earned All-America honors when she took sixth in the long jump (20-6.25) at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

Nevada (women only) - Nevada also competed recently at the Oregon Invitational, and the Wolfpack's best finish in Eugene came from senior Sherena triple jump. Smith collected one of the best finishes in her career with jump of 37-11.25 to take second place. Fellow senior Ashley Mathis placed fourth in the event at 37-8.

Oregon - The Ducks men are ranked sixth by Trackwire and ninth by the USTFCCCA, while the Oregon women sport a No. 10 ranking by Trackwire and a No. 9 ranking by the USTFCCCA. The women's 800 will produce arguably the most anticipated match-ups of the meet, pitting Oregon's Rebekah Noble, the 2006 NCAA outdoor champion in the 800, against Cal's Alysia Johnson, the 2007 NCAA indoor champion in the 800. Trackwire ranks Noble and Johnson 1-2 in their signature race. The Dandy Dozen also ranks Oregon's Britney Henry and Cal senior Carrie Johnson 4-5 in the women's hammer.

Sacramento State - Another Oregon Invitational competitor, Sacramento State produced some strong performances in Eugene. Senior Nancy Searcy won the 100-hurdles, junior Lori Vaught finished first in the triple jump and the men's 4x100 relay team captured its title. Searcy ran 13.73 to blow past the rest of the field in the 100-hurdles. Searcy also finished third in the long jump with a mark of 19-04.00. Vaught set season bests in both the long and triple jumps. She had a triple jump of 40-11.50 to win the triple jump and was second in the long jump at 19-08.00. Both of those marks rank second in the Big Sky this season. One week after winning the relay title at the Mt. SAC Relays, the men's 4x100 relay ran 41.16 to edge Cal State Fullerton by .11 seconds.

San Diego State (women only) - At the Triton Invitational, San Diego State's distance runners posted solid efforts for a second straight week. In the 3,000-meter steeplechase, seniors Celeste Tyson and Jackie Duncan both posted season-best times. Tyson completed the race in 10 minutes, 59.14 seconds, finishing third, while Duncan crossed the finish line in 11:32.14 to finish 10th. Meanwhile, in the 1,500-meter run, freshmen Darien Buc (4:55.45), Makenzie Mabry (5:00.92) and Jessica Walker (5:10.46) followed the upperclassmen's lead as they all ran season low times. This comes one week after Mabry and Buc established new personal standards in the 5,000.

Stanford - The Cardinal men boast a No. 16 ranking by Trackwire, while the Stanford women are ranked 11th by Trackwire and 12th by the USTFCCCA. The women feature junior Erica Mclain, the 2007 NCAA indoor triple jump champion who is also one of the best long jumpers in the nation. Stanford junior Josh Hustedt, who won the decathlon at the Cal Multi-Events Meet in March, is one of the best combined event athletes in the country. He took fourth in the heptathlon (5,837 points) at the indoor NCAA meet. The Cardinal is strong in the distance events. Junior Arianna Lamb stars took second in the 5,000 (15:37.97) and third in the 3,000 (9:04.81) at the NCAA Indoor Championships, while teammates Russell Brown (4:00.84) and Garrett Heath (4:00.99) were second and fourth, respectively, in the mile at the indoor national meet. Brown and Heath joined Zach Chandy and Michael Garcia to beat out Cal for the NCAA title in the distance medley relay. Stanford senior Jon Pierce is one of the country's best in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

Wichita State - In the Shockers' most recent competition, the John McDonnell Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., junior Kellyn Johnson placed third in the women's 1,500, running a regional qualifying 4:22.92. Johnson moves into the lead in the Missouri Valley Conference in the 1,500. Junior teammate Girts Azis competed for the men in the 1,500 and finished the race 3:45.07 to place sixth and exceed the regional mark. Azis' time moves him into the lead in the MVC.

Last Time Out:
Bears Set 4 Regional Qualifiers in San Diego

Cal collected four NCAA regional qualifying marks on April 21 at UC San Diego's Triton Invitational at the Triton Track and Field Stadium. The marks include a regional-qualifying and career-best mark of 179-7 (54.75 meters) for Bears senior Kurt Seefeld, who took 18th in the men's discus, and a regional-qualifying and season-best mark of 17-0.75 (5.20) by freshman teammate Ryan Shuler, who tied for fifth in the men's pole vault. Bears senior Kelechi Anyanwu posted a regional-qualifying 167-10 (51.16) to take seventh and sophomore teammate Emilee Strot notched a regional-qualifying 157-1 (47.88) to place 14th in the women's discus. Cal sophomore Missy Faubus also competed in the women's discus, with a 148-2 (45.17) to take 20th, and in the shot put, with a 46-5.50 (14.18) to take 14th.

Conrad Regionally Qualifies in Decathlon at Cal Multis

Cal junior Steven Conrad reached an NCAA regional provisional-qualifying and lifetime-best score of 7,214 points en route to finishing second in the decathlon on March 29 in the Cal Multi-Events Meet at Edwards Stadium and Goldman Field. More recently, he recorded a season-best long jump of 22-9.75 and season-best javelin throw of 180-1 at the Big Meet.

National Champ Johnson Stars in 800

Cal junior Alysia Johnson is one of the top middle-distance runners in the nation again in 2007, as evidenced by her NCAA indoor title in the 800 meters. More recently, she set the Big-Meet record of 2:03.43 to win the 800 at the April 7 event at Stanford. Cal's all-time second-fastest woman in the 800, Johnson boasts a lifetime-best 2:01.80 in the race that she set last summer. She was one of eight Bears who earned All-America honors at the 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships with her Cal indoor-record 2:03.47 in the 800. Johnson's 800 title is Cal's first NCAA championship since Bevan Hart won the men's decathlon at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2000. She is also the first Cal woman to win track and field NCAA championships since Sheila Hudson won the triple jump and long jump national titles outdoors in 1990. Johnson is likewise the first Bear to win indoor NCAA titles since Hudson won the triple jump and long jump indoors in 1990. The Canyon Country, Calif., product is also Cal's record-holder in the indoor 400 with a time of 54.48. Johnson became the first member of Cal track and field to capture the Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week honor sponsored by Cytosport. Johnson led the Bears to one of their top performances in recent years at the Dan DeHart Invitational Jan. 26-27. The junior won the 400-meter dash with a time of 54.48 to set the school's indoor record. Her time was also just eight-hundredths of a second off of the regional provisional qualifying time. In addition, Johnson anchored the winning 4x400-meter relay team that logged a time of 3:44.07.

Torrence Doesn't Miss a Beat

David Torrence made his Cal track and field debut as a freshman in 2004, after starring for Cal cross country in the fall of 2003. The junior missed the next two seasons but returned for Cal cross country last fall and for Cal track and field this semester. He hasn't missed a beat, first collecting NCAA West Regional and second-team All-Pac-10 honors for Cal cross country coach Tony Sandoval in 2006 and then starring for Cal track and field director Chris Huffins in 2007. At the Jim Click Shootout on March 24 in Tucson, Ariz., Torrence ran an NCAA regional-qualifying time of 1:50.23 to win the 800. More recently, he showed his versatility by running a lifetime-best 8:16.63 in the 3,000 at the Big Meet and posting a regional-qualifying time in the 5,000 at the Stanford Invitational. Torrence's 8:16.63 moved him to seventh-place on Cal's all-time top 10 lists for the 3,000. The middle-distance and distance specialist had a big impact at the NCAA Indoor Championships, leading off Cal's distance medley relay that took second place in a school-record 9:33.77. Torrence, senior Nestor Solis, sophomore Francis Gadayan and senior Kevin Davis combined for that record and earned All-America honors at the national meet in Fayetteville, Ark.

Anyanwu Earns Muscle Milk Award after Jim Click Shootout

Cal senior Kelechi Anyanwu threw the discus a school-record and NCAA regional-qualifying 185-11 (56.66 meters) at the Jim Click Shootout and subsequently earned Cal's Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week honor sponsored by Cytosport. Anyanwu, whose mark won the women's discus event, moved past the record of 181-02 by former Bears star Sheni Russell. More recently, Anyanwu qualified for the NCAA West Regional in the shot put at the Big Meet with her lifetime-best 50-7.50, which moves her to fourth place on Cal's all-time top 10 list. Carrie Johnson Posts Qualifier, PR in Hammer Senior Carrie Johnson posted a regional-qualifying mark and lifetime-best 211-5 in the hammer at the Stanford Invitational. After that performance, she also became the third Cal track and field athlete to earn Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week honors. That mark keeps her second on Cal's all-time top-10 list for the women's hammer behind Cal throws coach Jennifer Joyce (214-0).

Strickland Wins in Arizona

Bears junior Cassandra Strickland, another 2007 indoor All-American, won the triple jump at the Jim Click Shootout with a mark of 41-5.75. She ranks third all-time at Cal with a lifetime-best 43-3.25 she set during the indoor season. She took second in the triple jump with a wind-aided 41-8.50 at the Big Meet.

Ludden Reaches Qualifying Mark in Hammer

Cal junior John Ludden threw the hammer a regional-qualifying 196-7 to win the hammer at the Big Meet. He also notched a regional-qualifying 195-0 to win the event at the Jim Click Shootout. Ludden reached his personal best hammer throw at last year's NCAA West Regional with a toss of 196-11.

Wright, McPherson Jumping Up Cal's Charts

At the Stanford Invitational, Cal junior Ed Wright jumped a regional-qualifying 7-1, while sophomore teammate and fellow high jumper Inika McPherson hit regional-qualifying mark of 5-10.75 on her way to victory at the Big Meet. Wright, who stands eighth on Cal's all-time list with a 7-2.5, tied for first in the men's event with a 7-0.50, while McPherson is second in the women's high jump with a 6-0. McPherson set Cal's indoor school record with a 6-0 that she reached twice this season, most recently when she took seventh place at NCAAs. Wright, who was sixth at NCAAs, and McPherson were among eight Bears who earned All-America honors at indoor nationals this year.

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