Cal Hosts Pac-10 Championships Saturday, Sunday

May 11, 2010

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THIS WEEK IN CAL TRACK & FIELD: The best in Pac-10 track & field will be in Berkeley this week when California hosts the conference championships Saturday and Sunday at Edwards Stadium. Running events start at 1 p.m. both days, with field events beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday.

Reserved seats near the finish line, as well as general admission tickets, are available for purchase. For more information visit the Tickets link at CalBears.com or the Pac-10 Championships button on the CalBears.com track & field page.

Oregon is the defending men's and women's champion at the Pac-10 meet after claiming the titles last year at home at Hayward Field in Eugene. Cal placed seventh in both standings.

According to the May 11 national rankings, the Oregon men are second in the country behind Texas A&M, with USC sixth, Arizona State seventh, Stanford 14th and Washington 20th. For the women, Top 25 teams include Oregon (3rd), USC (12th), UCLA (16th) and Stanford (20th).

Individually, the Pac-10 has a number of athletes ranked No. 1 in the country based on their performances to date in 2010: men - Cory Primm (UCLA, 800m), Andrew Wheating (Oregon, 1500m), Jeshua Anderson (Washington State, 400m hurdles), Ryan Whiting (Arizona State, shot put), Chris Hostetler (Oregon, javelin) and Ashton Eaton (Oregon, decathlon); women - Katie Follett (Washington, 1500m), Marissa Tschida (Washington State, javelin) and Brianne Theisen (Oregon, heptathlon).

Cal senior Kimyon Broom is the two-time defending champion in the 100-meter hurdles. Last year, she won in a school-record 13.02 seconds and she owns the Pac-10's top mark this year at 13.18. In addition, senior Cherrelle Garrett returns at the '09 conference runner-up in the 100 (11.38) and 200 (23.63).

PAC-10 MEET ON TV: FSN will produce a two-hour tape-delayed broadcast of the Pac-10 championships. In Northern California, the program is scheduled to air on CSN Bay Area at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 29. Check local listings for exact dates and times.

BEARS SCORE WELL AT PAC-10 DECATHLON: For the first time in 10 years, Cal had a pair of decathletes earn points in the team competition held May 8-9 at Cal's Edwards Stadium. Junior Mike Morrison took fourth with a score of 7,218 points, while junior Kevin Kuechler was eighth with 6,529 points. Morrison, who is recovering from a sprained ankle that limited his ability to practice the past three weeks, had the best mark of all the decathletes with a throw of 184-6 in the javelin and set a Cal outdoor PR with a leap of 24-1.50 in the long jump. Kuechler improved more than 1,000 points after placing 14th at Pac-10s last year (5,362).

QUARTET OF MILERS UNDER 4 MINUTES: When Steve Sodaro finished the Don Bowden Mile in 3:59.42 at the Brutus Hamilton Invitational April 24, he became the fourth member of the Bears' 2010 roster to have registered a sub-four-minute mile. Junior Michael Coe set the school record last year, running 3:56.18 at the '09 Brutus Hamilton meet, while senior Mark Matusak established the Cal indoor mark of 3:58.36 at the Husky Classic in February. Sophomore James Brewer, who has yet to compete in a Cal uniform this season due to a foot injury, posted a 3:54.80 in his native England last summer.

The only other Bears to break the magic four-minute barrier are Don Bowden, whose 3:58.7 in 1957 made him the first American under four minutes, and Andy Clifford, who ran 3:59.59 in 1979.

THE MAIER OF BERKELEY: Deborah Maier began her sophomore season at Cal with a sixth-place finish at the Pac-10 cross country championships - becoming the first Golden Bear woman ever to earn first-team all-conference status - and has kept up the pace once she moved to the track. During the indoor campaign, she set a pair of school records, first in the 5000 meters (15:58.49) and then in the 3000 (9:20.05), a time that also broke Cal's existing outdoor mark. More recently, she captured the 1500 at the Brutus Hamilton Invitational and both the 1500 and 3000 at the Big Meet. An outstanding student with a 3.77 GPA as a political science major, she earned all-academic recognition from the Pac-10 during the cross country season and from the MPSF for indoor track. She also received a Golden Bear Award for having the highest GPA on Cal's cross country squad.

SODARO IN THE STEEPLE: Junior Steve Sodaro set a meet record with a time of 8:48.32 in winning the 3000-meter steeplechase in the annual Big Meet dual vs. Stanford April 10. The mark rates as the sixth best in school history, and only Kevin Davis, who set the Cal record of 8:35.37 in 2007, has a better time for the Bears over the past 23 years. Sodaro's time is currently No. 2 in the Pac-10 and significantly lower than his previous PR of 9:04.41 that came during his ninth-place Pac-10 finish in the steeple as a true freshman in 2007. Sodaro was 12th in the event at the 2009 conference meet (9:26.84).

FRESHMAN PHENOMS: Six Golden Bear freshmen pace Cal in nine different events heading into the Pac-10 Championships. On the men's side, Tom Blocker is No. 1 in both the 200 (21.74) and 400 meters (48.32), while Hammed Suleman is tops on the team in the long jump (24-8.50) and triple jump (49-9.25).For the women, several of the rookie marks rate among Cal's top 10 on the school's best performers' list. Alima Kamara covered the 400 meters in 53.68, which is No. 8 on the chart. Sofia Oberg ran 2:05.27 in the 800 at Payton Jordan Invitational, which is No. 6 all-time at Cal and No. 2 in the Pac-10 this season. Oberg also leads the Bears in the 1500 (4:23.75). Finally, Angelica Weaver has run the 400 hurdles in 1:00.10 and Malaina Payton has a best in the long jump of 19-10.75.

KOWALSKY IN THE SHOT: Patrick Kowalsky has claimed the shot put competition at four different outdoor meets this spring - the Stanford Invitational, the Big Meet, the Brutus Hamilton Invitational and the Payton Jordan Invitational. Ironically, his PR came when he finished second at the Jim Click Shootout in Tucson April 3 when he had a toss of 59-3.00. During the indoor campaign, Kowalsky captured the MPSF title with a best of 59-0.75.

HAMMER TIME: Cal's two hammer throwers - Miles Palacios and Linda Oseso - both established PRs in their respective events in the Big Meet vs. Stanford April 10. Palacios had a best of 189-5, and Oseso's top mark was 178-11.

VROOM BROOM: Senior Kimyon Broom, the two-time defending conference champion in the 100-meter hurdles, won the hurdles race at the Big Meet April 10 in a season-best time of 13.18 seconds. This week, she'll be trying to become the fourth three-time Pac-10 winner in the event and first non-UCLA hurdler to do so. The others to achieve the feat are Bruins Janeene Vickers (1989-91), Joanna Hayes (1996-98) and Michelle Perry (1999-01).Broom set the Cal outdoor mark in last year's Pac-10 race, finishing in 13.02 seconds, while her victorious time in 2008 was 13.26.

Earlier this year, Broom set a Cal record in the indoor 60 hurdles at the Cherry & Silver Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M. (8.30). She then matched the time in her next competition, also crossing the line in 8.30 at the UW Invitational a week later.

PHOTO FINISH: Photos from the Big Meet vs. Stanford and the Brutus Hamilton Invitational can be viewed and purchased online at GoldenBearSports.com. Cal's photographers will also on hand at the Pac-10 Championships, adding to their inventory of images and providing fans plenty of opportunities to secure their favorite track & field photos.

INDOOR SEASON RECAP: The Golden Bears set six school records during an indoor season that saw the men's squad finish in a tie for 17th at the NCAA Championships and individuals grab four titles at the MPSF meet. Mike Morrison rewrote the school record book in the heptathlon, taking third place in the seven-event competition at the national meet with a total of 5,826 points. He also claimed the conference crown in February. In addition, Cal's distance medley relay of Mark Matusak, Tom Blocker, Sebastian Sam and Michael Coe took home fourth place at NCAAs (9:38.19).

In addition to Morrison, Deborah Maier won the women's 3000 meters in a school-record 9:20.05 at the MPSF Championships. She was joined on the victory platform by Matusak in the men's 3000 (9:59.67) and Patrick Kowalsky in the shot put (59-0.75).

Other school records to fall during the winter months were the men's mile (Matusak, 3:58.36), the women's 60 hurdles (Kimyon Broom, 8.30), the women's 5000 (Maier, 15:58.49) and the women's distance medley relay (11:19.93).

GOLDEN BEAR NOTES: Senior Kimyon Broom leads the Pac-10 in the 100-meter hurdles with a best of 13.18 seconds set at the Big Meet April 10, while four other Bears are ranked second in the conference in their respective events: Tracey Stewart (triple jump, 41-7.00; Sofia Oberg (800m, 2:05.27); Steve Sodaro (3000mSC, 8:48.32) and Mike Morrison (decathlon, 7,557) ... the Bears have captured a total of four outdoor NCAA individual crowns over the last four years - Alysia Johnson (women's 800) and Kelechi Anyanwu (women's discus) in 2007; Katie Morgan (women's pole vault) in 2008; and Martin Maric (men's discus) in 2009 ... Cal is hosting the Pac-10 Championships for the eighth time, with the previous meets coming in 1963, 1968, 1976, 1983, 1989, 1993 and 2001 ... the last time Cal hosted the Pac-10 meet, the Bear men finished sixth and the women were seventh in 2001.

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