Cal Athletics Honors National Champions
It's the annual National Championship Week at Cal Athletics, and this one feels just a little bit different.
Golden Bears captured eight national titles in the spring, and the fact that they all came in the spring is what makes this year unique. COVID-19 pushed all sports other than football to after the start of the new year, and the national crowns carry an extra element of accomplishment because they were achieved while navigating the challenges of a global pandemic.
"Last year was tough," Cal Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton said. "It was hard to keep our facilities open. It takes a village, and we are really, really proud of that village."
Men's swimmer Ryan Hoffer had the biggest haul, winning three individual titles at the NCAA Championships and participating on two national title-winning relays. Hoffer won the NCAA crown in the 50-yard freestyle, 100-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly, while also teaming with Bjorn Seeliger, Daniel Carr and Nate Biondi to win the 200-yard freestyle relay and with Seeliger, Destin Lasco and Hugo Gonzalez to capture the title in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
Cal's women's swimming & diving team won the NCAA championship in the 200-yard freestyle relay when Eloise Riley, Emily Gantriss, Elise Garcia and Isabel Ivey teamed up for the victory, giving the Bears the title in that event for the fifth time in their last six tries.
History was made when Maya Bordas became the first individual NCAA champion in the history of Cal's women's gymnastics program. Bordas tied for the national title on the uneven bars with a score of 9.95.
The Bears' final NCAA championship came when Camryn Rogers won her second consecutive national title in the women's hammer throw, setting a collegiate record in the process with a mark of 245 feet, 11 inches.
Cal has now won at least one national championship for 47 straight years (not counting the canceled 2019-20 season) and 85 of the past 101 years. The Golden Bears have notched 97 team titles and 205 individual crowns.
"Comprehensive excellence is special to our mission at this University. We aim to be national and international leaders in everything we do – teaching, research, public service and athletics," UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ said. "As I look at the history of the statistics of Cal Athletics, it's quite striking. These great achievements are core to Berkeley's traditions of excellence. Each of them serve as great representatives of this University on the national and international stage."
Cal's 2020-21 national champions will be honored at halftime of Cal's football game Saturday against Colorado.