The Golden Bears Travel to the Husky Classic and Tyson Invitational

Feb. 7, 2006

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The California Golden Bear track and field teams will return to the track to compete at the Husky Classic in Seattle, Wash., and Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., this weekend. Both meets are two days running from Feb. 10-11. Last time on the track, California faced off at the UW Indoor Invite and the Arizona-California Challenge. The Golden Bears set several school records and advanced more qualifiers to the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville on March 10-11.

Cal is only traveling individuals to the Tyson Invitational in Arkansas. The meet will host several of the top teams in the nation. Cal junior Teak Wilburn, sophomore Ed Wright, senior Antonette Carter and freshman Inika McPherson will all compete in the event. Carter and Wright hope to qualify in their respective events, while McPherson and Wilburn aim to improve on their marks. Wilburn and Wright will square off in the high jump against defending NCAA champion Jesse Williams of USC as well as six other top 10 nationally ranked jumpers. The site will host the NCAA Indoor Championships in March and is known as an incredible track facility. The event will also be televised by ESPN2 and shown Sunday, Feb. 12, at 11:30 p.m. (PST).

The meet will match up the Golden Bears against some of the best competition in the country. Fifteen of the top men's teams will be competing and 14 of the top women's teams will be there. Some of the teams at the meet include Arkansas, LSU, Florida, South Carolina, Oregon, Stanford and Texas.

Look for the Golden Bears distance runners to do well at the Husky Classic in Seattle. The coaching staff is expecting possible NCAA qualifying marks from freshman Mark Matusak, senior Kevin Davis and sophomore Alex McClary. In addition, the meet will he a homecoming for men's team members, Andy and Alex McClary and Jake Hanson. On the women's side, sophomore All-American Alysia Johnson will aim for a qualifying mark in the 800m. Senior Bridget Duffy and junior Carrie Johnson also hope to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships. The event will be hosted at the site of the MPSF Championship held in three weeks in Seattle.

The meet will host athletes from around 40 schools including Cal, Wisconsin, UCLA, Washington, Arizona, Oregon, Stanford, Cal State Northridge, Cal Poly and Arizona State.

The California women's indoor team has been ranked two consecutive weeks in the USTFCCCA Poll. The team was ranked No. 16. However the Bears are not ranked in the Trackwire poll, after being ranked preseason No. 10 by Trackwire. The men's team is not ranked in either poll.

In the competitions in Arizona and Washington two weeks ago, the California track and field team rewrote several of the school's records. Senior Antonette Carter set school records in the 60m (7.33) and the 200m (24.08). Senior Osarhiemen Omwanghe broke the 60 hurdles record with her time of 8.33. At the UW Indoor Invitational, both the men's (9:42.31) and women's (11:30.10) distance medley teams set new school records.

In three meets so far this indoor season, five Golden Bears and a relay team have each qualified for a spot in the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., on March 10-11. Senior Antonette Carter (60m), senior Osarhiemen Omwanghe (60m hurdles), freshman Inika McPherson (high jump), sophomore Cassandra Strickland (triple jump), junior Teak Wilburn (high jump) and the distance medley team of sophomores Alex and Andy McClary, freshman Mark Matusak and Jake Hanson all will travel to the championship.

Sophomore Cassandra Strickland posted a personal record - 13.05m (42-09.75) - in the triple jump at the Arizona-California Challenge. The mark qualified her for the NCAA Indoor Championships. At the Husky Classic this weekend, Strickland hopes to continue her streak and set a new record against her toughest competition yet in the current NCAA leader Erica McClain of Stanford.

In the most recent issue of Tack and Field News, the magazine previewed the collegiate athletes. On the Cal women's side senior Antonette Carter ranked No. 8 in the 100m, No. 12 in the 200m and No. 4 in the long jump. Sophomore Alysia Johnson was ranked No. 16 in the 800m, while freshman Inika McPherson was ranked No. 4 in the high jump and was given the nod for top freshman in the nation. For the men, junior Paul Teinart was ranked No. 5 in the javelin and junior Teak Wilburn ranks No. 7 in the high jump.

Freshman Mark Matusak will compete in the 3000m for the first time this season in Seattle. Matusak, the high school champion in the 3200m, will aim to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships in his first go-around in the 3000m. Matusak was a member of the distance medley relay team that set a new school record and a qualifying mark two weeks ago in Seattle.

Sophomore Alysia Johnson will open her season in the 800m this weekend in Washington. She will face current NCAA leader Rebekah Nobel of Oregon in the race. As a freshman Johnson was an All-American in the event, after finishing sixth with the time 2:05.49. Johnson will also be a member of the 4 x 400m relay team that hopes to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships and break the school record in the event.

In Arkansas, freshman Inika McPherson will face her high school nemesis Destine Hooker of Texas. Hooker beat McPherson last year for the Texas State High Jump title. McPherson, who already set a qualifying mark of 1.78m (5-10.00) in her first collegiate meet at the Modrall Sperling Invitational (1/21), is set to rewrite the record books at Cal. Her qualifying jump is already an indoor school record.

Senior Antonette Carter has already set a qualifying mark in the 60m, with her school record breaking time of 7.33 she set at the Arizona-California Challenge. At the meet in Arkansas, Carter hopes to add one more event to her list for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 200m. At the Arizona-California Challenge, she broke the previous school record with the time of 24.08.

Since the Golden Bears do not have an indoor facility, they must travel to all indoor events. Cal has proven to have the power in the competitions, with five indoor schools records broken and six qualifying marks the Bears are on tearing up the road competions. This weekend's meets will be the fourth and fifth road events of the season for the Bears.

Senior Osarhiemen Omwanghe broke her own 60m hurdles Cal record two weeks ago in Arizona. Omwanghe was clocked at 8.33 in the event. The time was also a qualifying mark. Omwanghe hopes to improve on her time this weekend in Seattle. The 60m hurdle race will pair Omwanghe against Washington's All-American Ashlee Loudre, a Bay Area product from Richmond.

Sophomore John Ludden finished first in the weight throw at the Arizona-California Challenge with his mark of 17.17m (56-04), but his mark was not good enough for a provisional qualifying mark. Ludden will look to improve his mark, to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships this weekend in Seattle.

Both the men's and women's distance medley teams at the UW Indoor Invitational set Cal records. The women's team of freshmen Mackenzie Pierce and Francesca Weems and seniors Bridget Duffy and Lindsey Maclise recorded a new school record time of 11:30.10. The men's team of sophomores Alex and Andy McClary, freshman Mark Matusak and Jake Hanson set a new record time of 9:42.31. The men's time was also a qualifying mark.

The Golden Bear track and field team has several athletes who are competing in track and another varsity sport at Cal. Freshman sprinter Angie Pressey is also a member of the volleyball team, which appeared in the NCAA tournament this past season, football stars Marshawn Lynch, Justin Forsett and Brandon Hampton will all compete in the indoor season before spring football begins in late March.

The 2005 Indoor season propelled the California women's team to national prominence. In the span of the MPSF Championship, the Bears broke eight school records. Chole Jarvis broke the 800m record held by Louise Romo with her time of 2:06.56. With the help from Jarvis and others the women's team would finish second. On the men's side, the Golden Bears throwers helped the men's team finish fourth. The throwers finished the competition in first, second, sixth and seventh.

After successfully competing as a Golden Bears athlete in the early 1990's, Chris Huffins returned to Cal Oct. 16, 2002, as Director and Head Coach of the Men's and Women's Track and Field and Cross Country programs. In the last three years, the Huffins led Bears have sent more athletes to the NCAA Championships than in any other three-year span (12 in 2003,13 in 2004, and 15 in 2005), and has overseen 14 All-American honors. Huffins has also witnessed Cal school history books re-written, as there have been 12 new Cal school records and six new freshman records set, which bodes very well for the future. Most impressively, Huffins saw five current Golden Bears compete at the 2004 Olympic Trials in Sacramento, Calif. In 2005, two of Huffins' athletes were ranked in the top 10 in the country by Track and Field News. Antonette Carter was ranked No. 8 in the long jump and Paul Teinert ranked ninth in the Javelin. Huffins has seen the team dramatically improve its conference position since he inherited the program. The women have had their highest Pac-10 team finish in history two years in a row, finishing in fifth place at the conference championships in 2004 and 2005, up four places from 2003. The Golden Bears men's team has moved up to seventh, in the tough Pac-10 conference, having weathered a few key injuries over the last two years. Indoors however, the men have been second and third in the last two Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships, a success they will surely build upon in 2006. Indeed both the Bears track squads look to win the indoor conference title this coming year. Huffins has also nurtured the development of the true student-athlete, evidenced by more than 60 Pac-10 All-Academic honors that his athletes have earned since 2003. The future looks bright for Huffins and his Golden Bears, as the 2004 incoming freshman recruiting class was recently ranked No. 1 and the 2005 class was ranked No. 5 in the country, respectively by Track & Field News. Prior to taking the reigns at Cal, Huffins as an assistant coach for six years.Huffins is assisted by Ed Miller (field events-multi-events), Tony Sandoval (head cross country coach), Phil McMullen (pole vault-high jump-multi events), Bryan Fetzer (sprints-hurdles) and Jennifer Joyce (throws).

The California track and field team will wrap up competition in preparation for the NCAA Indoor Championship at the MPSF Championships in Seattle on Feb. 24-25.

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