Bears Gear Up For NCAA Championships

June 9, 2008

BERKELEY -

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This Week
California concludes the 2008 season this weekend at the NCAA Championships from Wednesday, June 11, to Saturday, June 14, at Drake Stadium on the campus of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. The Golden Bears will be represented by a total of 14 athletes, featuring three Pac-10 champions and two NCAA West Regional champions, competing in 11 individual events and a 4x100-meter relay.
Leading the way for Cal is senior All-American Alysia Johnson, the defending NCAA 800-meter champion. Johnson will be going for her third NCAA title in that event and an unprecedented seventh All-America honor. The Bears are armed with other national-title contenders, as well. The Cal men come in ranked No. 20 in the nation.
CBS College Sports Network (formerly CSTV) will be airing live coverage of the championships on Friday, June 13, from 7-10 p.m. (CST). CBS will also broadcast live coverage of the final day of competition from 3-5 p.m. CST.
The meet schedule can be found here

Bears Get Two Titles at NCAA West Regional
Cal earned 12 qualifiers for the NCAA Championships at the NCAA West Regional two weeks ago at the Matador Track Complex at Cal State Northridge. The Cal men finished in sixth with 50 points, while the Cal women also came in sixth with 44.50 points.
Among the national qualifiers for Cal were Alysia Johnson, junior Katie Morgan and junior Martin Maric. Johnson won her second-straight NCAA West Regional title in the 800 with a meet-record time of 2:00.77. The former record time of 2:02.12 was set by Johnson a year ago. Maric took top honors in the discus with a mark of 196-00 (59.75m). Johnson and Maric each earned 10 points for Cal with their performances.
Morgan posted the new school record again with a mark of 13-11.75 (4.26m), which ranks seventh in the nation. She surpassed her old mark of 13-9.25. Morgan took second overall to advance to the NCAA Championships.
Freshman Cherrelle Garrett moved on to the NCAA Championships in the 100 meters, taking second overall at the regional with a time of 11.45. She logged a new PR in that event in the preliminary race the day before with a time of 11.41. That time tied for the second best in the conference, and improved her second-best time in school history and her school freshman-record time.

Cal's Lineup
Director of track and field Tony Sandoval sends this season's best to the NCAA Championships. Alysia Johnson will defend her 2007 NCAA 800-meter title. Johnson's current season best 800-meter time of 2:00.57 is No. 1 among all NCAA athletes. Johnson also has the opportunity to be the first Cal track and athlete to garner All-America honors seven times.
Joining Johnson in Des Moines will be senior Ed Wright, a fellow Olympic hopeful who will look for a national high jump title and a fourth All-America honor after claiming his second straight Pac-10 title earlier this year. Croatian Olympic hopeful Martin Maric will compete in the discus and currently ranks fifth in the nation. Senior David Torrence, another one of Cal's 2007 All-Americans, will be competing in the 1500 along with junior Mark Matusak. Two weeks ago at the NCAA West Regional, Torrence advanced to the NCAA Championships in the 1500 with a time of 3:42.25 in at the West Regional. Matusak also advanced to the national championships in the 1500, clocking a time of 3:43.37. Katie Morgan, who has been setting the school record in the women's pole vault constantly this season, hopes to take top honors once again.
Freshman Cherrelle Garrett will have more than one opportunity for glory at the national championships. Garrett will be participating in the 100 and will run in the 4x100 relay (Kimyon Broom, Kandi Bonty, Kristin Holmes) that earned an at-large bid. Broom won the Pac-10 title in the 100-meter hurdles in a school-record time of 13.17. The other participants are sophomore Ryan Young (javelin), junior Jake Hanson (400-meter hurdles), senior Cassandra Strickland (triple jump) and junior Evelyn Smith (400-meter hurdles).

Last Year's NCAA Championships
Alysia Johnson ran a school-record and lifetime-best 1:59.29 to capture the women's 800 meter title at the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Championships at Sacramento State's Hornet Stadium. The Cal women finished in a program best of eighth place with a program-best 26 points. The men's best finish was when they won the team title in 1922. More recently the Cal men finished in 21st in 2000.
Kelechi Anyanwu won the women's discus throw with a school-record toss of 188-11 (57.58 meters), as she broke her own former school record of 185-11 set earlier last season.
Six Bears earned All-America honors for their performances at the national meet. Besides Johnson and Anyanwu, Kevin Davis earned the accolade after taking 10th place in the men's 3000-meter steeplechase. Also named All-American were Carrie Johnson, who took sixth place in the women's hammer, Ed Wright, who took sixth in the men's high jump and Inika McPherson, who was sixth in the women's high jump.

Cal Women's 4x100-Meter Relay Gets At-Large Bid
Last week, Cal got one at-large bid to the NCAA Championships, to go along with its 12 automatic individual qualifiers earned at the NCAA West Regional. The women's 4x100-meter relay, consisting of sophomore Kimyon Broom, juniors Kandi Bonty and Kristin Holmes, and freshman Cherrelle Garrett will join the other Golden Bears this weekend. Freshman Kayla Dixon is currently listed as an alternate for the relay. Dixon was a part of the relay with Broom, Bonty and Garrett that ran at the NCAA West Regional, placing seventh and notching a time of 45.94.

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 NCAA West Regional two weeks ago, Morgan once again set the school mark, clearing a 13-11.75 (4.26m) to advance to the NCAA Championships, taking second overall. At the California Relays on May 10, Morgan set the school mark at 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. She has also set the school record four 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 then-school record that previously had been set earlier this year by teammate Allison Stokke. Morgan surpassed Stokke's mark of 13-3.50 with her scoreof 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) and the school indoor record at the MPSF Indoor Championships. 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 advanced to the NCAA Championships in the 1500 with a time of 3:42.25 at the NCAA West Regional. Matusak also advanced to the national championships in the 1500, clocking a time of 3:43.37 at the regional. Junior Sean Carey was a regional qualifier in the 800 with his time of 1:49.43 at the Pac-10 Championships. Teammate Kari Karlsson 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 time of 9:00.83.

Men's Throwers Getting It Done
Cal's men's throwers have been putting up strong numbers the entire outdoor season. Martin Maric, senior Craig Kent and Ryan Young earned five regional-qualifying marks between the three of them. Maric qualified for the NCAA Championships in the discus and the javelin, currently ranking fifth in the nation in the discus (200-7, 61.13m), but will only compete in the discus at the national meet.
At the Pac-10 Championships, Young tallied a new PR in the javelin, posting the 10th-best mark in the nation at 235-02 (71.67m). He took second in the javelin at the NCAA West Regional with a mark of 229-09 (70.03m).

Johnson Named Nominee for Honda Sports Award
Alysia Johnson was named one of four nominees for the 2007-08 Honda Sports Award for track and field. The award determines the top female collegiate athlete in their respective sport.
The winner will become a candidate for the Honda-Broderick Cup, which is awarded annually to the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year. Past winners of this award include Jackie Joyner and Mia Hamm. In 2007, the honor went to volleyball star Sarah Pavan of the University of Nebraska. Last year's track and field Honda Sports Award winner was Auburn's Kerron Stewart.
The only other Cal track and field athlete to be nominated for this award was Sheila Hudson for the 1989-90 season.

Twelve Bears Garner Pac-10 All-Academic Honors
Twelve members of the Cal track and field team earned spots on the Pac-10 All-Academic team, the conference office announced on June 2. The Pac-10 awarded fiveCal men and seven Cal women honorable mention honors. The honorees on the list are Kandi Bonty, Tifani Grimes, Kerry Boyle, Katie Morgan, Mercedes Marchbanks,Taylor Franklin, Theresa Raub, Donny Appanaitis, Grigore Key, Jake Hanson,Patrick Kowalsky and Ryan Shuler.

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 then-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 Honors
Twelve members of the Cal 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
A select few Bears, including Alysia Johnson, will compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials from June 26-July 6 in Eugene, Ore., for a chance to make the national team and go to the Olympic Games in Beijing, China, later this summer.

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 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.

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