Mark Matusak Advances in 1500 at NCAA Meet
June 10, 2010
EUGENE, Ore. - Senior Mark Matusak qualified for the 1500-meter final and junior Mike Morrison finished the first day of the decathlon in fifth place to highlight Cal's second day at the NCAA Track & Field Championships Thursday at Oregon's Hayward Field.
Matusak was fourth in his heat of the 1500, clocking 3:45.54, to reach the final for the first time in his career. The top five runners in each of two heats, plus the next two fastest times, advanced to Saturday's championship race.
The four leading runners in Matusak's heat were the same four as in his NCAA West Preliminary Meet race two weeks ago when he set a Cal record with a time of 3:39.59. On Thursday, Jack Bolas of Wisconsin led the field across the line in 3:43.26. New Mexico's Lee Emanuel in 3:44.99 and Oregon's Andrew Wheating in 3:45.24 were just ahead of Matusak.
'Mark ran very well,' director of track & field Tony Sandoval said of Matusak, who did not advance out of the semifinals during his first NCAA appearance in 2008. 'The field went out slow, then really fast in the middle. Mark looked strong and had a lot left at the end. I'm looking for him to do well on Saturday.'
Morrison scored 4,011 points through five events of the decathlon after setting Cal PRs in his final two events - the high jump and 400 meters.
Morrison began the competition by posting the fourth-best marks in the 24-man field in both the 100 meters (11.00 seconds) and long jump (23-9.00). After placing 21st in the shot put with a throw of 39-4.50, he came back with his best effort of the year in the high jump, clearing 6-6.25 or 1.25 inches above his previous best. Then in the 400, Morrison finished third overall in 48.63, which beat his season-best time of 49.25 entering the meet.
Two-time defending champion Ashton Eaton of Oregon leads with 4,500 points, followed by Trinity Otto of Texas A&M (4254), Clemson's Miller Moss (4,119), Boise State's Kurt Felix (4,032) and Morrison. The decathlon resumes Friday at 10 a.m. with the 110-meter hurdles. The other events to be contested are the discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500 meters.
Morrison's PR in the decathlon is 7,803 set at the Mt. SAC Relays in 2008, while his best at Cal since transferring from Florida before this year is 7,557 from the Texas Relays March 31-April 1.
In the men's pole vault, junior Connor Landry cleared the first two heights - 16-4.75 and 16-10.75 - but he was unable to get over the bar at 17-4.50 in his three attempts, which would have established an outdoor PR for him. The competition was stopped twice because of rain during the day in Eugene.
Cal's women's 4x400-meter relay did not advance after the quartet of JAsmine Joseph, Angelica Weaver, Kayla Dixon and Alima Kamara were 24th in 3:49.64. Sandoval said Kamara was feeling the effects of a hamstring she aggravated during her individual 400-meter race Wednesday.
The Bears will have three athletes in action on Friday - Morrison in the decathlon, Steve Sodaro in the 3000-meter steeplechase final at 6 p.m. and Deborah Maier in the 5000-meter final at 6:40 p.m. Only a 20 percent chance of rain is forecast with a high expected to be 68 degrees.
NCAA Track & Field Championships
Hayward Field, Eugene, Ore.
1500 meters - 4. Mark Matusak 3:45.54Q
Pole Vault - 13. Connor Landry 16-10.75 (5.15m)
100 meters - 4. Mike Morrison 11.00 (861 points)
Long Jump - 4. Mike Morrison 23-9.00 (7.24m) (871 points)
Shot Put - 21. Mike Morrison 39-4.50 (12.00m) (606 points)
High Jump - 6. Mike Morrison 6-6.25 (1.99m) (794 points)
400 meters - 3. Mike Morrison 48.63 (879 points)
Day 1 Total: 5. Mike Morrison 4,011 points
Q - qualified for final