Bears Win Slew Of USTFCCCA Regional Awards
BERKELEY – California Track & Field added even more accolades to its historic 2022 season on Thursday as Director of Track & Field/Cross Country Robyne Johnson, Assistant Coach Mohamad Saatara, Mykolas Alekna and Camryn Rogers were all recognized by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) for West Region honors.
Johnson was named West Region Women's Coach of the Year after restoring the program to national prominence in her third year at the helm, with the women reaching a best USTFCCCA ranking of 13 during the outdoor season and finishing third at the Pac-12 Championships after fielding one event champion (Camryn Rogers, hammer throw) and six total podium finishes (Rogers; Ezinne Abba – 100m/200m; Jasmine Blair – discus; Anna Purchase – hammer; Hawa Wague – high jump). The Bears' women had three All-Americans at the NCAA Championships (Rogers, Purchase, and Abba), including Rogers' third straight hammer title and new collegiate record. In total, Cal's women earned four Pac-12 weekly awards and 36 new marks on the program Outdoor Top 10 lists, with school records from Abba and Rogers.
Saatara received both the Men's and the Women's West Region Assistant Coach of the Year honors in his ninth year coaching the throwers, posting a historic season that culminated with the group fielding its most First Team All-Americans since 1922 (four, plus one Second-Team All-American). In total, he oversaw three Pac-12 titles (Rogers; Mykolas Alekna – discus; Josh Johnson – shot put) and eight podium finishes (Alekna; Blair; Johnson; Purchase; Rogers; Jeff Duensing – shot put; Iffy Joyner – discus; Ivar Moisander – hammer). Both Alekna and Rogers broke NCAA records in their respective events (discus and hammer) during the season, while Purchase joined Rogers as the only collegiate hammer teammates in history to break the 70m mark during the same meet at the Brutus Hamilton Invitational. Cal's throwers put together 17 new program Outdoor Top 10 marks in total, including two school records (Alekna and Rogers) and two freshman records (Alekna and shot putter Amelia Flynt).
Mykolas Alekna, the West Region Men's Field Athlete of the Year, reigned undefeated against collegiate discus opponents until his runner-up finish at the NCAA Championships, posting the all-time NCAA record as a 19-year-old true freshman (68.73m/225-6). That mark currently also stands as the world's farthest-ever throw by a teenager, as well as the under-23 Lithuanian record. The Pac-12 Men's Field Athlete and Men's Freshman of the Year, Alekna also received two USTFCCCA Men's Athlete of the Week and four Pac-12 Men's Field Athlete of the Week awards this season. He owns five meet records and two facility records, as well as the current NCAA West Regional and Pac-12 discus titles.
Camryn Rogers earned West Region Women's Field Athlete of the Year following her third straight NCAA hammer throw title, all-time Canadian record and all-time collegiate record, which stands as the ninth-best throw ever worldwide (77.67m/254-10). A finalist for the 2022 Honda Award, she currently owns the top 10 throws in collegiate history in the event, setting five meet records and three facility records this outdoor season alone. Rogers also posted a record-breaking season in the indoor weight throw, finishing third at the NCAA Indoor Championships with a Canadian-record (and Pac-12-record) toss of 24.06m/78-11.25 that stands as the world's 15th-best throw all-time.
National winners of the USTFCCCA Awards will be announced later this week.
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