Bears Ready for NCAA West Preliminary Meet

May 25, 2010

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THIS WEEK IN CAL TRACK & FIELD: California track & field will be well represented in the NCAA preliminary rounds as 30 individuals plus two relays have earned berths in the field and will compete Thursday-Saturday in Austin, Texas.

In a change from previous years, there are no qualifying standards for the 2010 NCAA Championships. Instead, the top 48 entries in individual events and the top 24 relay teams have been invited to one of two preliminary round sites - Austin for the West and Greensboro, N.C., for the East - to determine the field for the national meet held at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field June 9-12.

At the preliminary round sites, first-round and quarterfinal heats will narrow the list of competitors, with the semifinals and championship events contested in Eugene, Ore. For the heptathlon and decathlon, the top 24 entries will not compete in the preliminary rounds and will advance directly to nationals.

CAL MEN AT REGIONALS: For the Bears, 13 men have earned berths based on their performances in 2010. Junior Steve Sodaro, the Pac-10 champion in the 3000-meter steeplechase, is the highest ranked Cal athlete, holding down the third position in the steeple with his conference-winning time of 8:40.60.

Senior Mark Matusak is 15th in the West in the 1500 meters after running an outdoor PR 3:42.24 to capture third place at Pac-10s, while junior Michael Coe is ninth in the 5000 meters with his best of 13:48.64, also run at the Pac-10 meet. In addition, Patrick Kowalsky is 13th in the shot put with a best of 59-3 in his specialty, and Brian Carmichael is 17th in the high jump after clearing a PR 7-0.25 at the conference championships.

Three Bears will be in the pole vault - No. 16 Connor Landry, who has a best of 17-3.75; No. 32 Justin Miller (16-10.75) and No. 43 Ryan Shuler (16-7.50).

Cal will have two competitors in two events. Freshman Hammed Suleman qualified in both the long jump (25th, 24-8.50) and the triple jump (39th, 49-9.25). Junior Mike Morrison will vie in the long jump in the preliminary rounds after recording a best of 24-4.25 at Pac-10s. He has also earned one of 24 national berths in the decathlon, where he ranks seventh after scoring 7,557 points at the Texas Relays March 31-April 1.

Other Bear men who will be in Austin are Cody Schmidt (3000m steeplechase, 9:03.07), Miles Palacios (hammer, 199-1) and Kari Karlsson (10,000m, 29:31.82).

BEAR WOMEN SEND 19 TO REGIONALS: Nineteen Cal women, as well as both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays, will make the trip to the NCAA preliminary rounds at the University of Texas' Mike A. Myers Stadium.

Two Bears are rated in the top 10 in their respective events - Sofia Oberg is sixth in the 800 meters after posting a time of 2:05.27, and Tracey Stewart is eighth in the triple jump. Stewart had a wind-aided mark of 42-11.50, more than a foot longer than her previous career best, to take second at the Pac-10 meet.

In the 5000 meters, three Cal runners will circle the track, led by Deborah Maier, who ran 16:15.39 at Pac-10 despite an injury that had sidelined her the previous three weeks. Maier ran a school-record 15:58.49 indoors while healthy earlier this year, which would stand as the seventh-fastest outdoor time in the West. Alison Greggor (22nd, 16:25.88) and Michelle Davis (43rd, 16:49.62) will also participate.

Junior Cherrelle Garrett will look to advance to nationals again, as she is 24th in the West in the 100 meters with a time of 11.67 seconds. She was second at West Regionals and 15th at NCAAs in the 100 last season.

A pair of freshman will represent Cal in the 400 meters in No. 18 Alima Kamara (53.68) and No. 30 JAsmine Joseph (54.12), while two Bears will also be in the pole vault - No. 22 Allison Stokke (13-3.75) and No. 29 Theresa Raub (13-0.25).

In the high jump, Kristen Meister is seeded 14th with a height of 5-10.75.

The remainder of the Bears contingent includes: Angelica Weaver (400-meter hurdles, 1:00.10); Natalya Beneby (400-meter hurdles (1:00.91); Malaina Payton (long jump, 19-10.75); Mercedes Marchbanks (triple jump, 41-6.50); Linda Oseso (hammer, 178-11); and Danielle Hoolko (javelin, 143-6). Cal's 4x100-meter relay is seeded 16th with a time of 45.18 and the 4x400 relay is seeded 18th at 3:40.06.

PAC-10 MEET ON TV: FSN has produced a two-hour tape-delayed broadcast of the Pac-10 championships held at Cal May 15-16. In Northern California, the program is scheduled to air on CSN Bay Area at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 29.

PAC-10 MEET RECAP: Steve Sodaro won the men's 3000-meter steeplechase and Tracey Stewart took second in the women's triple jump to lead Cal's efforts at the Pac-10 Championships May 15-16 at Edwards Stadium in Berkeley. Overall, the Bear men finished eighth and the Cal women seventh in the team races.

Sodaro finished in 8:40.60, an eight-second improvement to his PR that moved him up to third on the school's all-time performers list. Stewart had a wind-aided mark of 42-11.50 on her first attempt and recorded a legal PR of 42-2.00 on her sixth try.

Two other Bears also reached the awards podium with third-place finishes - Hammed Suleman in the men's long jump (24-7.25) and Mark Matusak in the men's 1500 meters (PR 3:42.24).

In addition, several Cal athletes posted significant advancements in their personal bests during the meet. Miles Palacios uncorked a throw of 199-1 in the hammer, a 10-foot improvement and good for eighth all-time at Cal, while Michelle Davis also had the No. 8 time in her event, the 10,000 meters, after crossing the line in 35:26.30.

In the men's high jump, Brian Carmichael cleared seven feet for the first time with a height of 7-0.25, and Michael Coe's 13:48.64 was a PR in the 5000 meters. In addition, Theresa Raub was sixth in the women's high jump with a PR 13-0.25; Kiely Smith's PR 173-9 in the women's hammer put her in fifth place; and Danielle Hoolko, despite finishing ninth, had a PR 143-6 in the javelin.

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 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, recovering from a sprained ankle that limited his ability to practice the previous 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 (broken at the Pac-10 meet May 15). Kuechler improved more than 1,000 points after placing 14th with 5,362 points at Pac-10s last year.

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 only run once in the 1500 meters 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, Andy Clifford, who ran 3:59.59 in 1979, and David Torrence, who ran 3:58.62 in 2007.

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, while she was fourth in the Pac-10 5000 in 16:15.39. 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: Like Maier, junior Steve Sodaro also started the year off with strong efforts during the cross country season. He was Cal's top finisher at both the Pac-10 (18th) and NCAA regional (16th) meets. During the current outdoor track campaign, he 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, then came back to claim the Pac-10 title in the event in a PR 8:40.60 that stands at the No. 3 time in the country this year. Entering the spring, Sodaro's previous PR was 9:04.41.

PHOTO FINISH: Photos taken by Cal's official photographer can be viewed and purchased online at The selection includes action from the Big Meet, the Brutus Hamilton Invitational and the Pac-10 Championships.

BEAR NOTES: Senior Kimyon Broom, a two-time Pac-10 champion in the 100-meter hurdles who owns the school record of 13.02, will undergo surgery this week and will not compete in Austin; she had a best of 13.18 this year ... nine members of Cal's contingent this weekend are newcomers - seven freshmen and two transfers ... Mike Morrison's 7,557 in the decathlon ranks seventh nationally, while Sofia Oberg's 2:05.27 in the 800 meters is 14th in the country.

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