Track & Field 2004 Season In Review

June 22, 2004

Cal track & field turned the record books upside down in 2004, recording six new school records, 16 other alterations to the all-time Top 10, and had four outdoor All-Americans. Looking back on the season, head coach Chris Huffins reflected on a rebuilding project that has just begun.

'This program has a great history of developing individuals, and in the past, we were known as one of the best programs in the country,' Huffins said. 'That is what we are trying to return to.'

The Golden Bears made progress toward that goal this year, producing outdoor All-Americans Brooke Meredith (heptathlon), Sheni Russell (discus), Teak Wilburn (high jump) and Rhuben Williams (shot put). In all, 13 athletes went to the NCAA Championships, the most Golden Bears ever. In addition, Bridget Duffy earned All-American status in cross-country in the fall and Meredith and Wilburn doubled-up with indoor All-American honors.

Prior to the national meet, Cal made a statement at the Pac-10 Championships with a fifth-place finish by the women, who had finished that high only once in history. The men finished seventh with 75 points, 21 more than the previous year, and only one point out of sixth place.

In the Big Meet, Cal took a stand again, snapping a three-year losing streak on the men's side to beat the Cardinal, 96-66, on May 1. Despite a defeat, the women set four new school records at the dual meet - in the 100m dash (Antonette Carter -11.53, later surpassed 11.49), the 100m hurdles (Osarhiemen Omwanghe -13.43), and the javelin (Brooke Meredith - 'new' 148-0), and the women's 4x100m relay (Omwanghe/T.Johnson/Hawes/Carter - 44.38, later surpassed 44.28).

On the year, Carter, a sophomore, also set a new record in the 200m (23.33) and Sheni Russell added the sixth school record with a 181-2 throw in the discus.

Individually, junior Brooke Meredith had a breakout year earning both indoor and outdoor All-American honors after finishing No. 3 in the pentathlon (4,189 points) at the NCAA Indoor Championships and No. 5 in the heptathlon (5,422 points) at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

The women's 4x100 meter relay team continued to re-write the record books, first with the aforementioned school record at the Big Meet. The squad of sophomores Osarhiemen Omwanghe, Tiffany Johnson, Carter and junior Shannan Hawes broke that record at the Pac-10 Championships with the current record of 44.28 to finish fourth. The relay team came in 18th at the NCAA Championships.

Sophomore Teak Wilburn turned in Cal's sole Pac-10 individual Championship winning the conference title in the high jump. He was also the men's highest finisher for the second-year in a row at the NCAA Championships, placing seventh. He was joined in the high jump by junior David Glasgow who grabbed third place at Pac-10 Championships.

Wilburn was also joined on the field by junior Rhuben Williams, who finished third in the shot put, third in the discus and fourth in the hammer at the Pac-10 Championships. He concentrated on the shot put for the NCAA Championships to seize eighth place. Williams and Russell will compete at the U.S. Olympic Trials in July, and senior Deanna Slaton and Carter hope to join them in Sacramento.

The graduating senior class will be missed, headlined by Russell, Slaton, and Ahmad Wright, but with a young nucleus and an outstanding recruiting class, the Bears look to improve next season.

'As a program, we feel very happy,' Huffins finished. 'Our program is moving rapidly towards one of the best on the West Coast and one of the nation's Top 20, year in and year out.'

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