Cal Head to NCAA Championships

June 4, 2007

BERKELEY - California will send 16 Golden Bears, paced by NCAA indoor champion Alysia Johnson, to the NCAA Outdoor Championships June 6-9 at Hornet Stadium on the campus of Sacramento State in Sacramento. Johnson, who won the women's 800-meter run title last March in Fayetteville, Ark., leads a squad that has other title contenders including senior Giliat Ghebray (men's 5,000-meter run), senior Kelechi Anyanwu (women's discus throw), junior David Torrence (men's 1,500-meter run), sophomore Emilee Strot (women's discus throw) and junior Ed Wright (men's high jump).

Coming off arguably its best indoor season in program history, the Bears have produced some memorable performances during the outdoor season. At the top of the list were Johnson's 800 win at the California Collegiate Challenge in Berkeley, where she broke Louise Romo's 23-year-old school record with her time of 2:01.48, and Torrence's school-record 3:58.62 in the mile.

Johnson's time was the best in the nation until recently, as Michigan's Katie Erdman ran a 2:01.25 to win the NCAA Mideast Regional title on May 25.Torrence's time broke Cal's 49-year-old mile record set by legend Don Bowden with the latter in attendance at the meet at Edwards Stadium and Goldman Field.

Wright and Johnson then won titles in their signature events at both the Pac-10 and NCAA West Regional Championships.

Cal Women Ranked 13th
The Cal women's team earned a ranking of No. 13 in this season's final USTFCCCA national poll. They are also ranked No. 17 by Trackwire.

Hornet Stadium
Seating just over 21,000, Hornet Stadium remains Sacramento State's most impressive athletic facility and the largest track facility in the Big Sky Conference. Thanks to a generous donation by philanthropist Alex G. Spanos, Hornet Stadium underwent a major renovation in May of 1998 to accommodate the upgrades for the 2000 Olympic Trials. Reconstruction of the existing track was completed by August, just three months later. A separate warm-up track followed in 1999. In 2003, upgrades were made to the stadium lighting and a new scoreboard was installed for both track and football.

Regarded as one of the fastest surfaces in the country, Hornet Stadium has also hosted the 2001 Junior Olympics, the 2003, 2005 and 2006 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and the 2004 U.S Track and Field Olympic Trials.

The track has been used by some of the best athletes in the world. Since it was installed in 1999, one world record, six American records, 22 Olympic Trials records, eight U.S. Championship records, nine NCAA records, three American junior records and two national high school records have been set at the facility. That list is surely to grow as the NCAA Championship Meet returns to Sacramento State for one more year.

The stadium track is surfaced with Mondo Sportflex Super X and features eight 1.22 meter-wide lanes on the oval and nine lanes for the 200 and 100 meter races. The track has a 37-meter radius with the steeplechase water jump on the inside of the track on the North curve.

The field event areas include two dual directional long/triple jump runways positioned on the inside of the East side of the track. There are also two dual directional pole vault runways located inside the North end of the track. The high jump has two approach areas on each end. The field event approach surfaces are all Mondo Sportsflex Super X. All throwing events can be contested on the infield inside the track.

In addition to the high-quality stadium track, there is a 400-meter oval practice track located just to the North of the stadium. The additional track is used for warm-ups at large meets and as an extra practice site. The second track is also surfaced with Mondo Sportsflex Super X and has a six-lane straightaway with a two-lane 400 meter oval built to the same specifications of the stadium track. All jumping and throwing events have runways, pits, and rings within the practice facility.

2006 NCAA Outdoor Championships:
4 Bears Earn All-America Honors

At the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Championships in the California capital, four Bears - senior Paul Teinert (men's javelin), senior Antonette Carter (women's 200-meter dash and long jump), sophomore Alysia Johnson (women's 800-meter run) and junior Giliat Ghebray (men's 5000-meter run) - earned All-American honors. Teinert posted a school-record throw of 236-00 (71.93) in the javelin en route to a fifth-place finish in the javelin final. His throw beat his own former Cal record, set when he won the 2005 Pac-10 championship as a junior, by one inch.

Also at NCAAs, Carter finished 11th in one semifinal of the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.39 and placed 13th in her heat of the women's long jump with a mark of 20-06.25. In the regular season, the Concord product became Cal's all-time outdoor record-holder in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, with a 100 time of 11.33 at the Big Meet in Berkeley and a 22.72 in the 200 preliminary at the NCAA West Regional.

Johnson was perhaps the most impressive Bear at nationals, setting three personal records in each round of the 800-meter run on the way to a third-place finish in the event. Her blistering final time of 2:03.04 also placed her second in the all-time Cal record books for the women's 800.

At NCAAs, Ghebray reached the final of the 5000-meter run, taking 13th place in a time of 14:28.33. Omwanghe ran a 13.58 in the 100-meter hurdles to take 20th place and miss a berth in the semifinal round by nine hundredths of a second.Emilee Strot was impressive in her first year, setting the Cal freshman and overall outdoor records in the women's javelin with her toss of 152-10 at the Hornet Invitational in Sacramento. She also set the Cal freshman record (174-06) in the women's discus and reached the NCAA Championships in the discus, taking 23rd place (155-07) in the prelim round. Fellow Cal freshman Ryan Young also impressed, setting the men's javelin school freshman record of 232-10 at the Hornet Invitational and reaching the NCAA Championships. Young was 14th (214-02) in the NCAA prelim.

Junior Carrie Johnson completed the contingent of Bears at NCAAs, competing in the women's hammer throw.

Last Time Out:
Bears Star at 2007 NCAA West Regional

California automatically qualified 11 Golden Bears, including victorious juniors Alysia Johnson and Ed Wright, for the NCAA Championships by the conclusion of the NCAA West Regional Championships held on May 26 at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field. Johnson won the women's 800-meter run final with a meet-record time of 2:02.12 and Wright won the men's high jump with a lifetime-best 7-3.25 (2.22 meters). As a team, the Golden Bears women took seventh place with 48 points, while the Cal men tied Long Beach State for 10th with 27 points each.

On the women's side, Arizona State collected the team title with 94 points; the USC men won with 83 points.

The 11 Bears who qualified for the NCAA Championships were Johnson (800 and 4x400-meter relay), Wright (high jump), sophomore Inika McPherson (women's high jump), junior Thomas Mack (men's 110-meter hurdles), junior Cassandra Strickland (women's triple jump), senior Kevin Davis (men's 3,000-meter steeplechase), sophomore Emilee Strot (women's shot put), junior Brook Turner (women's 400-meter dash and 4x400-meter relay), sophomore Mackenzie Pierce (women's 4x400-meter relay), senior Carrie Johnson (women's hammer) and sophomore Kandi Bonty (women's 4x400-meter relay).

Athletes who place in the top five of their individual events qualify for NCAAs, though only the top three teams in a relay advance to nationals.

Alysia Johnson, the 2007 NCAA indoor and Pac-10 champion in the 800, edged Oregon's Rebekah Noble, the 2006 NCAA outdoor champion who ran a 2:04.95 today. Bears sophomore Mackenzie Pierce took sixth in the 800 in a time of 2:07.49. Johnson eclipsed the old meet time of 2:03.90 set by BYU's Aneta Lemiesz in 2005.

'Rebekah was with Alysia through 500 meters, but Alysia had a big burst down the backstretch,' Cal assistant coach Tony Sandoval said.

Wright, the Pac-10 champ in the high jump, today edged Washington's second-place Norris Frederick (7-1, 2.16).

'His actual jumping was good enough to win, and that sets you up for success at the next major meet,' Cal associate head coach Ed Miller said of Wright. 'It's nice to know even if you're not jumping your best that day you're still good enough to win. That shows that you've prepared well.'

Of the two Cal seniors who advanced to nationals, Davis placed second in the steeplechase with a time of 8:43.98 and Carrie Johnson tossed the hammer 211-4 (64.42 meters) to take fourth place. Her mark was just one inch behind her lifetime-best throw from this year's Stanford Invitational.

Mack ran a 13.98 to take fourth place in the 110 hurdles, Strickland was fifth in the triple jump in a wind-aided 42-5.50 (12.94 meters) and fellow junior Turner was fifth in the 400 with a time of 54.32 to qualify for the NCAA Championships.

The Cal quartet of Bonty, Turner, Pierce and Alysia Johnson ran the Bears' second-fastest women's 4x400-meter relay of the season, with a 3:36.62 to take third place. The Bears were in fourth place when Johnson got the baton and were in danger of not qualifying for NCAAs. But Johnson ran down the San Diego State team to help the Bears finish third.

Cal produced four other top-10 finishes on the day, with sophomore Francis Gadayan taking sixth place with a time of 1:51.23 in the men's 800-meter run, sophomore Jake Hanson running a 52.31 to take eighth in the men's 400-meter hurdles, Strot placing sixth in the women's discus with a mark of 173-5 (52.85 meters) and sophomore Missy Faubus placing ninth in the women's discus with a mark of 164-7 (50.16).

Strot was fifth in the shot put a day earlier.

The performances of McPherson, Turner and Pierce gave the seventh-place Cal women a big boost in the regional after they took eighth place against most of the same competition at the Pac-10 Championships. The trio combined for .33 points at Pac-10s but, not including the 4x400 relay, produced 15 points in Eugene.

Cal Bios
The following Bears are making the trek to Sacramento for the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Championships:

Cal Men

Steven Conrad
Junior, Grass Valley, Calif.

Outdoors (2007): Posted a lifetime-best 7,214 points in the decathlon at the Cal Multi-Events Championships; the score was also a provisional qualifier, and a Cal season best, but Conrad did not compete at the NCAA West Regional Championships...took seventh place in the decathlon (6,565) at the Pac-10 Multi-Events Championships...ran Cal's fastest 400-meter run (lifetime-best 49.10) of the season at Pac-10s...recorded Cal's season-best long jump (23-6, 7.16 meters) at the California Collegiate Challenge. Indoors (2007): Took fourth place in the heptathlon with 5,178 points at the MPSF Championships...posted a lifetime- and Cal season-best 5,259 in the heptathlon to take fifth at the Roger Cox Multis...also recorded Cal season-bests in the 60-meter dash (7.05) and long jump (22-4.50, 6.82 meters) at the Roger Cox Multis.

Kevin Davis
3,000-Meter Steeplechase
Senior, Fresno, Calif.

Outdoors (2007): Took second place in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in the NCAA West Regional Championships with a time of 8:43.98...ran a regional-qualifying and lifetime-best time of 8:40.52 to take second in the steeplechase at the Pac-10 Championships; that gave Davis the second-fastest time entering the regional...clocked a lifetime-best 4:01.39 to place second in the mile at the California Collegiate Challenge. Indoors (2007): All-American anchored Cal's school record-breaking distance medley relay that clocked a 9:33.77 to take second place at the NCAA Championships...anchored the DMR that won the title at the MPSF Championships in a provisional-qualifying time of 9:34.99 and broke the previous school record of 9:37.60 set in 1979...Posted an NCAA provisional-qualifying time of 4:04.38 to take third in the mile at the MPSF Championships...ran a provisional-qualifying mile of 4:02.02 at the Husky Classic.

Giliat Ghebray
5,000-Meter Run
Senior, Union City, Calif.

Outdoors (2007): His NCAA regional-qualifying and lifetime-best 13:42.16 in the 5,000 at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational ranks him third on Cal's all-time list...ran a 14:15.78 and took ninth place in the 5,000 at the NCAA West Regional...gained All-America honors with his 13th-place finish in the 5,000 at the 2006 NCAA Championships...also ranks fifth on Cal's all-time list in the 10,000 with his 2006 time of 29:44.11...ran an outdoor season-best 8:04.54 to win the 3,000 at the Big Meet. Indoors (2007): Took third in the 3,000 with an NCAA provisional-qualifying and lifetime-best time of 7:56.51 at the MPSF Championships...that time ranks him second on Cal's all-time list, including outdoor times...competed in the 3,000 at NCAA Championships but did not finish...ran on the victorious distance medley relay that set a then school-record 9:34.99 at MPSFs; the record was subsequently broken. Personal: Yosef Ghebray, Giliat's younger brother, is a freshman on the Cal team.

Thomas Mack
110-Meter Hurdles
Junior, Bakersfield, Calif.

Outdoors (2007): Posted a regional-qualifying and lifetime-best 13.87 in the 110-meter hurdles prelim at the California Collegiate Challenge, in which he took fifth in a regional-qualifying 14.07 in the final...clocked a 13.98 to place fourth in the 110 hurdles at the NCAA West Regional...led off the 4x100-meter relay that posted a season-best 41.34 to win at the Big all, Mack won four events at the Big Meet, including the 200 (lifetime-best 21.62), 100-(wind-aided 10.57) and 110 hurdles (wind-aided 13.95). Indoors (2007): Ran a provisional-qualifying and lifetime-best 7.96 in the 60-meter hurdles prelim at the MPSF Championships...clocked a season-best 22.59 in the 200 at the Dan DeHart Invitational.

David Torrence
1,500-Meter Run
Junior, Tarzana, Calif.

Outdoors (2007): Set the school record in the mile at the California Collegiate Challenge, winning in 3:58.62 to break the almost-50-year old record held by former Cal great Don Bowden...posted a 3:48.72 to finish 11th in the 1,500 at the NCAA West Regional...ran a regional-qualifying, lifetime-best and Cal season-best 1:49.87 to win the 800 prelim at the Pac-10 Championships, in which he took fifth in the final in 1:50.76...clocked a regional-qualifying 3:47.05 to take second in the 1,500 at Pac-10s...ran an 8:16.63 in the 3,000 at the Big Meet to rank seventh all time at Cal...His 3:43.62 in the 1,500, set in 2004, ranks seventh on Cal's all-time list. Indoors (2007): Led off the distance medley relay that set a school-record 9:33.77 and took second place at the NCAA Championships...ran a provisional-qualifying and then lifetime-best 4:01.80 in the mile and a lifetime-best 1:53.40 in the 800 at the Husky Classic...clocked an altitude-adjusted 8:19.78 in the 3,000 at the Dan DeHart Invitational.

Ed Wright
High Jump
Junior, Oakland, Calif.

Outdoors (2007): Set a new lifetime-best mark with a 7-3.25 (meters) to win the high jump at the NCAA West Regional... the 7-3.25 ties Wright for seventh on Cal's all-time list...won the Pac-10 title in the high jump with a 7-3 (2.21 meters), which tied his previous lifetime-best mark...he also reached 7-3 to win the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational...tied for sixth at last year's NCAA West Regional (6-9, 2.06). Indoors (2007): Posted a Cal school-record and NCAA provisional-qualifying 7-2.5 (2.20) to win at the MPSF Championships.

Cal Women

Kelechi Anyanwu
Shot Put-Discus
Senior, San Jose, Calif.

Outdoors (2007): Leads Cal this season in the discus and shot put...recorded a school-record and regional-qualifying 185-11 (56.66 meters) to win the discus at the Jim Click Shootout and a regional-qualifying and lifetime-best 50-7.50 (15.43) to win the shot at the Big the NCAA West Regional, she posted a 48-9 (14.86) to take eighth in the shot put and a 160-2 (48.81) to place 12th in the discus. Indoors (2007): Threw a lifetime-best 49-9.50 (14.97) in the shot at the MPSF Championships to tie teammate Emily Strot for fourth.

Kandi Bonty
4x400-Meter Relay
Sophomore, Los Angeles, Calif.

Outdoors (2007): Led off Cal's third-place 4x400-meter relay that ran a time of 3:36.62 at the NCAA West Regional...that time ranks that quartet (Bonty, Mackenzie Pierce, Brook Turner and Alysia Johnson) third on Cal's all-time list...posted Cal's second-fastest time this season in the 200, with a lifetime-best 24.31 in the prelim at the Pac-10 Championships, at which she took eighth in the final...ran on victorious 4x400-meter relay that clocked a regional-qualifying 46.85 at the Big Meet. Indoors (2007): Posted a lifetime-best 56.61 in the 400 at the MPSF Championships...other season bests include a 7.82 in the 60 and a 24.92 in the 200 at the Husky Classic.

Alysia Johnson
800-Meter Run-4x400-Meter Relay
Junior, Canyon Country, Calif.

Outdoors (2007): At the NCAA West Regional Championships, won the 800 with a time of 2:02.12 and anchored Cal's third-place 4x400-meter relay (3:36.62)...that relay (Kandi Bonty, Mackenzie Pierce, Brook Turner and Johnson) ranks third on Cal's all-time list...set Cal's school record in the 800 with a regional-qualifying and winning time of 2:01.48 at the California Collegiate Challenge...that time, which shattered Louise Romo's previous Cal record of 2:01.59, is currently the second-fastest time in the nation...Johnson's previous PR was 2:01.80 set when she took fourth in the USA Outdoor Championships in 2006...has since run a 2:01.74 to win the 800 at Pac-10s...ran a regional-qualifying 54.43 to win the 400 at the Brutus Hamilton Invitational... anchored Cal's fastest and regional-qualifying 4x400-meter relay that set a school-record 3:35.46 to win at the California Collegiate Challenge. Indoors (2007): Won the 800 title at the NCAA Championships with an indoor school record time of 2:03.47...that was Cal's first overall NCAA title since 2000...Cal's third indoor title by a woman and the first since 1990...took second in the 800 with a provisional-qualifying 2:05.63 at the MPSF the 400, paced Cal with a provisional-qualifying 54.48 to win the race at the Dan DeHart Invitational.

Carrie Johnson
Senior, Fallbrook, Calif.

Outdoors (2007): Took fourth place in the hammer at the NCAA West Regional with a 211-4 (64.42 meters), which was just one inch off her personal best...threw that lifetime-best and regional-qualifying 211-5 (64.43 meters) in the hammer to take second at the Stanford Invitational...the 211-5 mark ranks her second in school history behind Cal throws coach Jennifer Joyce (214-0)...Johnson took fourth in the hammer at Pac-10s with a regional-qualifying throw of 207-6 (63.24)...also ranks fifth on this year's team in the discus (145-9, 44.43, Big Meet) and the shot put (41-7.25, 12.68, Big Meet).

Inika McPherson
High Jump
Sophomore, Port Arthur, Texas

Outdoors (2007): Collected a Cal outdoor season-best 6-00.50 (1.84 meters) when she took second place in the high jump at the NCAA West Regional...that mark ranks her second on Cal's all-time list and stands as her collegiate-best mar...she recorded a 6-2 (1.88) before entering Cal...posted a regional-qualifying 5-10.75 (1.80 meters) to win the high jump at the Big Meet...also notched Cal's fifth-best long jump (17-0-.50, 5.19, Jim Click Shootout). Indoors (2007): Set the school record in the high jump with a 6-0 (1.83) at the NCAA Championships, in which she took seventh place.

Mackenzie Pierce
800-Meter-4x400-Meter Relay
Sophomore, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Outdoors (2007): Ran the second leg of the 4x400-meter relay (Kandi Bonty, Pierce, Brook Turner and Alysia Johnson) that took third in 3:36.62 at the NCAA West Regional and now ranks third on Cal's all-time list...took sixth place in the 800 at the regional with a 2:07.49...ran a lifetime-best and regional-qualifying 2:04.78 to take fourth in the 800 at the Payton Jordan Invitational...that time ranks her fifth on Cal's all-time list in the 800...ran the second leg of the 4x400-meter relay that set a school-record and regional-qualifying 3:35.46 to win at the California Collegiate Challenge. Indoors (2007): Clocked a provisional-qualifying 2:08.72 in the 800 at the Husky Classic...ran the third leg of the 4x400 relay that set an indoor school record of 3:37.64 and took third at the MPSF Championships.

Evelyn Smith
4x400-Meter Relay
Sophomore, Hayward, Calif.

Outdoors (2007): Slated to be the alternate for Cal's 4x400-meter relay at the NCAA Championships...ran on the 4x400-meter relay that clocked a Cal school-record and regional-qualifying 3:35.46 and beat a heralded field at the California Collegiate Challenge...posted a lifetime-best and regional-qualifying 1:00.40 in the prelim of the 400-meter hurdles at Pac-10s; later took eighth in a regional-qualifying 1:00.56 in the final...ran a lifetime-best 56.74 (2nd) in the 400-meter dash at the Brutus Hamilton Invitational. Indoors (2007): Led off 4x400 relay that ran an indoor school-record and NCAA provisional-qualifying 3:37.64 (3rd) at the MPSF Championships...ran a lifetime-best 25.12 in the 200 at MPSFs.

Cassandra Strickland
Triple Jump
Junior, Las Vegas, Nev.

Outdoors (2007): Recorded a wind-aided 42-5.50 (12.94 meters) to place fifth in the triple jump at the NCAA West Regional...posted a regional-qualifying 42-8 (13.0) in the triple jump to take second at the Pac-10 Championships...also recorded an 18-1.50 (5.52) in the long jump at the Big Meet to tie teammate Lollie Onipede for fifth. Indoors (2007): Notched a lifetime-best triple jump of 43-3.25 (13.19) to win the event at the Dan DeHart Invitational...had a season-best long jump of 18-1.75 (5.53) at the Husky Classic.

Emilee Strot
Sophomore, Gresham, Ore.

Outdoors (2007): Led Cal with a fifth-place finish in the shot put (49-7.75, 15.13 meters) and a sixth-place finish in the discus (173-5, 52.85 meters) at the NCAA West Regional...paced the Bears this season with a regional-qualifying javelin throw of 143-3 (43.67 meters) to take seventh at Pac-10s...second to teammate Kelechi Anyanwu this year in the discus (181-4, 55.28, Pac-10 Championships, 2nd place) and shot put (49-11.25, 15.22, Stanford Invitational)...was ninth in the shot (47-11.25, 14.61) at Pac-10s.

Brook Turner
400-Meter Dash-4x400-Meter Relay
Junior, Beachwood, Ohio

Outdoors (2007): Ran the third leg of the 4x400-meter relay (Kandi Bonty, Mackenzie Pierce, Turner and Alysia Johnson) that posted a 3:36.62 for third place at the NCAA West Regional and now ranks third on Cal's all-time list...took fifth in the 400 with a time of 54.32 at the regional...led the Bears in the 400 with a regional-qualifying and lifetime-best 53.64 to take third at the California Collegiate Challenge...led off Cal's school-record 4x400-meter relay that ran a regional-qualifying 3:35.46 to win at the California Collegiate Challenge...ran Cal's fastest 200 with a lifetime-best 24.10 to place fourth at the Jim Click Shootout. Indoors (2007): Ran the second leg of the 4x400 relay that set an indoor school-record 3:37.64 to place third at the MPSF Championships...took fifth in the 200 (24.54) at MPSFs...ran a season-best 7.94 in the 60 at the Hampton Inn & Suites Classis.

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