Alekna Puts NCAA On Notice, Sets Cal Freshman Record
STANFORD – In spite of the as-expected rainy conditions, California track & field finished its second outdoor meet in high spirits, having accumulated a total of 42 top-three finishes, 12 personal records and three meet records at the Cardinal Classic on Saturday. Out of all of the squads, the Bear throwers perhaps had the most reason to celebrate, with freshman Mykolas Alekna shattering Cal's freshman record in the discus throw with an NCAA-leading heave of 62.63m (205-6) and with junior Anna Purchase throwing the hammer 67.25m (220-7), taking further control of the No. 2 spot in program history and landing at No. 2 in the NCAA.
Alekna, who hails from Vilnius, Lithuania, is the reigning U20 World and European Champion in the discus and comes from a family of champion discus throwers. His debut performance in a collegiate uniform puts him at third in program history while also setting a Cardinal Classic record, in addition to usurping teammate Iffy Joyner as the current freshman record-holder.
Purchase, who grew up in Nottingham, England, first set the team's No. 2 mark at the 2020 Cal Opener, earning her U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Women's Field Athlete of the Week honors. Her new mark, a Cardinal Classic record, puts her at over 6 feet ahead of the No. 3 spot, only trailing current NCAA champion Camryn Rogers on the list.
Not to be outdone, the women's 4x100m relay squad of Jenea Spinks, Ezinne Abba, Maisie Stevens and Aysha Shaheed improved upon their time from the Cal Opener, finishing the race in 44.51 for a new Cardinal Classic record and the fourth-fastest time in school history. Abba herself also notched another pair of wins in the 100m dash and 200m dash, posting respective times of 11.57 and 23.78.
More than a few of Cal's other throwers put up solid performances as well. In addition to Alekna's first-place throw in the men's discus, Iffy Joyner and Justin Wirtz posted respective throws of 58.11m (190.7) and 52.28m (171-6) to sweep the podium for the Bears; Wirtz's mark was also a personal best. Rebecca Tomann also acquitted herself well in the women's hammer throw, finishing with a best distance of 55.79m (183-0). Jasmine Blair won the women's discus throw for the second straight meet with a heave of 52.87m (173-5), followed by Amelia Flynt's third-place PR of 48.83m (160-2). In the men's hammer throw, Ivar Moisander and Michael Gupta placed first and second, respectively, with marks of 62.74m (205-10) and 60.76m (199-4), the latter of which was a personal record.
Cal also swept the podium in the women's 100m hurdles – Jazlynn Shearer climbed to fourth in program history with her time of 13.55; she was followed by teammates Jada Hicks (14.25) and Jordyn Grady (14.54). The men's side followed suit in the 800m, with Garrett MacQuiddy's winning time of 1:50.11 only just beating out Ben Micallef's second-place 1:50.96 and Moises Medrano's third-place 1:51.89.
Finally, the Bears won both the men's and women's 5000m races, with Marea Zlatunich (16:49.18) adding another win to her resume and with Ethan Bersley (14:49.42), Aric Reza (14:53.01) and Daniel Winek (15:13.56) respectively finishing one-two-three.
4x100m Relay: 2. California (Christian Catlin, George Monroe, Aiden Lippert, David Foster) 40.85
Hammer Throw: 1. Ivar Moisander 62.74m/205-10; 2. Michael Gupta 60.76m/199-4 (PR)
Long Jump: 2. Mason Mangum 7.27m/23-10.25; 3. Kamau Carlisle 7.11m/23-4
1500m Run: 3. Cole Sawires Yager 3:47.22; 8. Xavier Court 3:51.10 (PR); 10. Jaden Rosenthal 3:52.59 (PR); 12. Arjun Vadgama 3:53.24; 18. Gabriel Abbes 3:55.22 (PR); 19. Colin FitzGerald 3:55.72 (PR); 27. JP Garcia 4:10.55
110m Hurdles: 2. Di'Niko Bates 14.61; 4. Riley Knott 22.01
High Jump: 1. Jai Williams 2.04m/6-8.25; 2. Riley Knott 1.99m/6-6.25
Shot Put: 2. Justin Wirtz 15.25m/50-0.5; 5. Iffy Joyner 13.79m/45-3; - Jake Porter FOUL
400m Dash: 1. Henry Larkin 47.78; 8. Josh Keller 49.66 (PR)
100m Dash: 2. David Foster 10.76; 8. Kamau Carlisle 11.07; 9. Samir Thota 11.08
Triple Jump: 6. Isaiah Shaw 14.19m/46-6.75
Discus Throw: 1. Mykolas Alekna 62.63m/205-6 (Cal Freshman Record) (3rd Cal history) (leads NCAA) (Meet Record); 2. Iffy Joyner 58.11m/190-7; 3. Justin Wirtz 52.28m/171-6 (PR); - Charlie Dang FOUL
800m Run: 1. Garrett MacQuiddy 1:50.11; 2. Ben Micallef 1:50.96; 3. Moises Medrano 1:51.89; 11. Chase Gordon 1:56.55 (PR)
400m Hurdles: 1. Will Sornberger 54.27
200m Dash: 5. George Monroe 21.84; 9. Josh Keller 22.34 (PR); 10. Samir Thota 22.38; 11. Christian Catlin 22.52; 12. Di'Niko Bates 22.55; 14. Henry Larkin 22.57
Pole Vault: 4. Tyler Burns 4.60m/15-1; - Skyler Magula NH
5000m Run: 1. Ethan Bersley 14:49.42; 2. Aric Reza 14:53.01; 3. Daniel Winek 15:13.56; 4. Landen Lee 15:27.13
4x400m Relay: 2. California (Isaiah Shaw, Ben Micallef, Josh Keller, Henry Larkin) 3:14.60
4x100m Relay: 1. California (Jenea Spinks, Ezinne Abba, Maisie Stevens, Aysha Shaheed) 44.51 (4th Cal history) (Meet Record)
3000m Steeplechase: 1. Piper Wilson 11.25.68
1500m Run: 1. Erin Archibeck 4:27.68; 7. Jessica Nye 4:33.32; 11. Natalie Weiner 4:53.65
Long Jump: 2. Asha Fletcher 5.83m/19-1.5; 4. Ijeoma Uche 5.77m/18-11.25
100m Hurdles: 1. Jazlynn Shearer 13.55 (4th Cal history); 2. Jada Hicks 14.25; 3. Jordyn Grady 14.54
Pole Vault: 1. Amari Turner 3.75m/12-3.5; 5. Seanne Chan 3.45m/11-3.75
400m Dash: 4. Ryan Lacefield 57.19; 5. Aly Conyers 57.30
Hammer Throw: 1. Anna Purchase 67.25m/220-7 (2nd Cal history) (2nd NCAA) (Meet Record) (PR); 3. Rebecca Tomann 55.79m/183-0 (Cal PR); 5. Destiny Okoh 48.47m/159-0; 6. Sara Pettinger 46.40m/152-2 (PR); 8. Amelia Flynt 42.29m/138-9; 10. Shyann Franklin 39.79m/130-6
100m Dash: 1. Ezinne Abba 11.57; 4. Aysha Shaheed 11.88; 5. Maisie Stevens 11.93; 7. Jenea Spinks 12.12; 13. Jordyn Grady 12.46
Triple Jump: 1. Busola Akinduro 12.82m/42-0.75 (T10th Cal history) (PR); 3. Asha Fletcher 12.17m/39-11.25; - Zenab Ojibe FOUL
Shot Put: 3. Shyann Franklin 11.83m/38-9.75
800m Run: 4. Mina Anglero 2:10.54
Discus Throw: 1. Jasmine Blair 52.87m/173-5; 3. Amelia Flynt 48.83m/160-2 (PR); 5. Sara Pettinger 44.74m/146-9; 6. Krissy Smoot 44.63m/146-5
200m Dash: 1. Ezinne Abba 23.78; 3. Maisie Stevens 24.53; 6. Jenea Spinks 24.91; 14. Ryan Lacefield 25.81
5000m Run: 1. Marea Zlatunich 16:49.18; 5. Meredith Corda 17:01.96 (PR)
The Golden Bears head down to San Diego for the Aztec Invitational, which will take place from March 25-26.
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