Cal Embarks on NCAA West Regional

May 27, 2008

BERKELEY -

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This Week
California's run for a national championship begins this week at the NCAA West Regional from Friday, May 30, to Saturday, May 31, at the Matador Track Complex on the campus of Cal State Northridge. The Golden Bears will be vying for spots in the NCAA Outdoor Championships, which take place two weeks later.
The regional championships kick off both days at 10 a.m. with the women's hammer on Friday and men's hammer on Saturday. First-day action concludes with the 5000 meters scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start. The final event is the men's 4x400-meter relay at 6:20 p.m. on Saturday.
The tentative meet schedule can be found here. Live stats will be posted when available.

Bears Get Three Titles at Pac-10 Championships
Cal won three titles at the Pac-10 Outdoor Championships two weeks ago in Tempe, Ariz. Leading the way for the Bears were senior All-Americans Alysia Johnson and Ed Wright who both repeated as conference champions. The Cal men finished in fourth place with 81.5 points, while the Cal women tied with Washington State for sixth place with 71.5 points. Both were improvements from last year when the men came in ninth and the women took eighth.
Johnson won her second straight 800-meter Pac-10 title with a time of 2:00.57 that was a season best and also a meet record. The previous record time was 2:01.74, set by Johnson at the 2007 Pac-10 Championships.
Wright won his second straight Pac-10 high jump title, as he once again tied his personal best with a jump of 7-3.25 (2.22m).
Sophomore Kimyon Broom claimed Cal's third conference title in the women's 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.26. The day before in the prelims, Broom set the school record in 100-meter hurdles at 13.17. The previous school-record time was 13.43, which was set by Osarhiemen Omwanghe in 2004. Broom entered the Pac-10 Championships with a personal best of 13.46. She became the 14th runner this season to break 13.20, and is currently tied for 14th in the nation in that event.

Cal's Lineup
Interim director of track and field Tony Sandoval sends this season's best to the NCAA West Regional. Alysia Johnson and Ed Wright will defend their 2007 West Regional titles. Johnson was the winner in the 800 meters last year and Wright took top honors in the high jump. Wright is currently No. 5 in the nation in the high jump, while Johnson's 800-meter time is top ranked among all NCAA athletes.
Joining Johnson and Wright in Northridge will be junior Katie Morgan, who has set the school record in the pole vault on more than one occasion this year and looks to continue her incredible season with another solid performance. Croatian Olympic hopeful Martin Maric will compete in the discus and the javelin. Maric is currently ranked fifth in the nation in the discus. David Torrence, another one of Cal's 2007 All-Americans, will be competing in the 1500 and the 800. Two weeks ago at the Pac-10 Championships, Torrence ran the best 800-meter time of the season for the Cal men at 1:49.15, which was also a personal best.
Freshman Cherrelle Garrett will have more than one opportunity to qualify for the national championships. Garrett will be participating in the 100, the 200, and will run in the 4x100 relay. She currently holds the freshman record in the 100 at 11.44, which is also second best in school history. She earned that time at the Pac-10 Championships, taking second in the event.

Last Year's NCAA West Regional
Eleven Cal athletes advanced to the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Championships at last year's NCAA West Regional, held in Eugene, Ore. Among the 11 Bears were Alysia Johnson and Ed Wright who both won their events, the 800 and the high jump. As a team, the Cal women took seventh place with 48 points, while the Cal men tied Long Beach State for 10th with 27 points each.
Among the other nine athletes who advanced were Inika McPherson (high jump), Thomas Mack (110-meter hurdles), Cassandra Strickland (triple jump), Brook Turner (400 meters, 4x400-meter relay), Mackenzie Pierce (4x400-meter relay) and Kandi Bonty (4x400-meter relay).

Regional Qualifiers
Besides Alysia Johnson and Ed Wright, the Bears have numerous athletes in contention for success this weekend. Senior Craig Kent has qualified in both the shot put and the discus. Junior Mackenzie Pierce will compete in the 800 and the 1500, and she is also currently ranked No. 12 in the nation in the 800. 2007 All-American, David Torrence, will be in action in the 800, the mile and the 1500. He is currently ranked No. 10 in the nation in the 1500. Freshman pole vaulter Allison Stokke is the current school freshman record holder in the women's pole vault at 13-5.75 (4.11m) and will look to set a new freshman record at the regional. Junior Jake Hanson is currently ranked eighth in the nation in the 400-meter hurdles after posting a 49.82 at the Pac-10 Championships. Sophomore Ryan Young is ranked No. 10 in the javelin after earning a 71.67m in the conference meet.

Morgan Vaulting To New Heights
Katie Morgan has been having an excellent season for Cal thus far. The Tempe, Ariz., native has made setting the school record in the women's pole vault seem like a standard procedure in 2008. At the California Relays on May 10, Morgan once again set the school mark, clearing a 13-9.25 (4.20m) to take top honors in the event. She surpassed her old mark of 13-6.25 that she set the previous weekend at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Qualifier. Morgan had taken top honors in her last five competitions before taking third at the Pac-10 Championships in her last meet. She has also set the school record three times and is currently ranked No. 12 in the nation.
At the Brutus Hamilton Invitational, she took first in the pole vault, earning a mark of 13-1.75 (4.01m) to claim top honors. Morgan also claimed the top spot at the Big Meet when she set the new school record that had previously been set earlier this year by teammate Allison Stokke. Morgan surpassed Stokke's mark of 13-3.50 with her score of 13-5.75. Morgan's score was also a Big Meet record.
During the indoor season, Morgan provisionally qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the pole vault, as she set a then-PR of 13-1.00 (3.99m) at the MPSF Indoor Championships and that mark also set the school indoor record. She achieved the same mark again later during the indoor season at the Washington Last Chance Meet.

Cal Runners Going The Distance
David Torrence and Mark Matusak have earned solid distance times thus far, as Torrence, who made his season debut at the Big Meet on April 12, notched another sub-four-minute mile at the Brutus Hamilton Invitational (3:59.10), and Matusak registered Cal's fifth-best mile time in school history at 4:00.59. Most recently, Torrence earned a regional-qualifying time of 1:49.15 in the 800 at the Pac-10 Championships. Junior Sean Carey also regionally qualified in that event with his time of 1:49.43 at the conference meet. Both Torrence and Matusak have regionally qualified in both the mile and the 1500 meters. Torrence clocked a 3:44.30 at the annual clash with Stanford, while Matusak recorded a time of 3:45.85 at the Stanford Invitational on April 5. Teammate Kari Karlsson has regionally qualified in the 10,000 meters, crossing the finish line at 29:28.05 at the Stanford Invitational, which is also a freshman record time and the third best in school history and in the 5000 where he posted a 14:07.13 at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Qualifier. Also getting into the action was junior Matthew Miller who earned a regional-qualifying time in the 3000-meter steeplechase at the Pac-10 Championships, recording a personal best 9:00.83.

Men's Throwers Getting It Done
Cal's men's throwers have been putting up strong numbers the entire outdoor season. Croatian Olympic hopeful Martin Maric, Craig Kent, and Ryan Young have earned five regional-qualifying marks between the three of them. Maric has regionally qualified in the discus and the javelin, and currently ranks fifth in the nation in the discus with his personal-best mark of 200-7 (61.13m). Kent has qualified in the shot put and the discus. He posted a new PR in the discus of 178-10 (54.52m) at the Texas Relays earlier this month. He also PRed at the Pac-10 Championships last weekend, notching a mark of 58-8 (17.88m). At the Pac-10 Championships, Young tallied a new PR in the javelin. Already a regional qualifier in the event, Young posted the 10th-best mark in the nation at 235-02 (71.67m).

Women's Relays Garner Four Regional Qualifiers
The Cal women currently boast four relays that have posted regional-qualifying marks this season - two 4x100 relays and two 4x400 relays. Two of the four relays qualified at the Brutus Hamilton Invitational last month. The 4x100 relay consisting of Kimyon Broom, Kandi Bonty, Kristin Holmes and Cherrelle Garrett improved its season-best time to 44.69 at the Pac-10 Championships, which also ranks third in school history. Broom, Bonty and Garrett are also members of the other 4x100 relay that regionally qualified along with Kayla Dixon at the Big Meet (45.03). Also at the conference meet, the 4x400 relay of freshman Hayley Huxtable, Mackenzie Pierce, Evelyn Smith and Alysia Johnson earned a season-best time of 3:36.93, which ranks fifth all time in school history. The 4x400 relay of freshman Hayley Huxtable, junior Francesca Weems, junior Evelyn Smith and Alysia Johnson notched a 3:39.83 to regional qualify earlier this season.

Women's Triple Jumpers Leading the Way
Led by the performances of senior Cassandra Strickland and junior Artensia Young, the Cal women have four regional qualifiers in the triple jump. Strickland, who has only competed once this season at the Brutus Hamilton Invitational on April 26, leads the group with a mark of 41-9.75 (12.74m). Sophomore Mercedes Marchbanks and redshirt freshman Tracey Stewart also earned regional-qualifying times in that event.
Young posted a mark of 41-6.00 (12.65m), which is also the fifth best in school history, while Marchbanks recorded a 40-9.75 (12.44m), the eighth-best mark in school history. Both of the marks were personal bests for Young and Marchbanks.
At the Texas Relays on April 5, Stewart tallied a mark of 40-5.50 (12.33m) to become the first Cal women's triple jump regional qualifier of the season. She later improved on that mark to 40-6 (12.34m) at the Pac-10 Championships last weekend.

Lewy Headed To Beijing
Cal track and field assistant coach Magdalena Lewy placed second in the women's marathon in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials on April 20 in Boston, Mass. With the second-place finish, Lewy will be headed to Beijing, China, for the Olympics later this summer, as the top three runners qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team. Lewy, who is in her seventh season coaching at Cal, clocked a lifetime-best 2:30:19 to take second overall.
Lewy led for most of the race before she was passed by eventual-winner Deena Kastor at the 2:15 mark. She was in first from the start until the 24th mile of the 26-mile-plus race. Despite losing the top spot, Lewy still held a strong lead over the competitors in third and fourth place, ensuring her spot on the Olympic team.

Garrett Named Pac-10 Women's Track Athlete of the Week
Cherrelle Garrett was named the Pac-10 Women's Track Athlete of the Week, as announced by the conference earlier this season. Garrett earned the honor after her performances at the Big Meet on April 12. This was the first Pac-10 Track Athlete of the Week award for Cal in 2008.
Garrett was a three-time winner against Stanford. She was victorious in the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash and ran the final leg of the first-place 4x100-meter relay. Garrett's time in the 100 meters was a regional-qualifying time of 11.51, was a freshman record and ranks her second all-time at Cal in that event. She also set a then- PR in the 200 at 24.01.

Twelve Bears Garner Academic All-MPSF HonorsTwelve members of the California track and field team earned spots on the Academic All-MPSF team, the conference office announced on April 21. The MPSF awarded six Cal men and six Cal women academic honors. The honorees on the list are Kandi Bonty, Tifani Grimes, Pippa MacDonald, Katie Morgan, Mackenzie Pierce, Daisy Van Ravenswaay, Donny Appanaitis, Sean Carey, Jake Hanson, Patrick Kowalsky, Martin Maric and Mark Matusak.

Up Next
Following this week's action, Cal has next week off as it prepares for the NCAA Championships from June 11-14 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Interim Director of Track and Field Tony Sandoval
Tony Sandoval, a familiar name in San Francisco Bay Area track and field circles, continues his 26th year of association with the California track and field program and his first as the interim Director of Track and Field, after serving numerous seasons as the associate director of track and field. Sandoval previously served 10 years as Cal's head women's coach prior to the merger of the men's and women's programs into a single entity.
Under his tutelage, members of the Cal women's team have earned All-America honors on 22 different occasions. Most recently, Sandoval added another honor from two-time NCAA champion Alysia Johnson in the 800 meters, giving her a total of six times receiving the honor.

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