May 23, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas - Soaring a combined 46 feet through the air, Cal's Hammed Suleman and Malaina Payton qualified for the NCAA championships in the men's and women's long jump during the first day of competition at the NCAA West Preliminary meet Thursday.
NCAA West Preliminary website
Suleman, the Pac-12 champion in the long jump, became the first Golden Bear to advance with his early afternoon start time. Needing to place among the top 12 to reach the national meet, he leapt 25-1.25 on his second attempt to put himself among the elite group. He did not improve on his next three tries and passed on his sixth attempt with his spot in the field already secured to finish in ninth place. Two weeks ago, Suleman captured the conference title in the long jump with a PR 25-11.50.
Suleman will have a second opportunity to compete at the NCAA meet, to be held in Eugene, Ore., June 5-8, when he takes part in the triple jump Saturday. He is the No. 1 seed in the event after going 53-4.50 on the same track at the Texas Relays in March.
In the women's long jump, Payton went 20-11.75 on her second attempt - the third-best mark through the first three rounds. Safely into the NCAA field, she and the other leaders passed on their final three tries.
"The aim is to qualify and advance," director of track & field Tony Sandoval said. "PRs are for the finals in two weeks, not now."
Several other Bears also advanced to the next round where they will have a chance to make it to nationals - Jordan Locklear in the men's 1500 meters (3:47.03), Charnell Price in the women's 100 meters (11.57w) and Tom Blocker in the men's 100 meters (10.50w). Blocker secured the last spot in his quarterfinal field by 1/1,000th of a second over Iowa State's Ian Warner.
In the men's 400-meter hurdles, freshman Randy Bermea also qualified for the next round of competition. He placed fifth in his heat and 22nd overall with a time of 51.95 and will next race Friday where he'll need to finish among the top 12 to move on to Eugene.
In the men's discus, another freshman, Ethan Cochran, advanced out of the prelims into the finals, where he finished 16th with a throw of 179-3. Cochran will get another chance to earn a berth to the NCAA national meet when he competes in the shot put Friday.
A number of Bears will be in action Friday, including Pac-12 champion Ray Stewart in his opening heat of the men's 110-meter hurdles, conference runner-up Collin Jarvis in the men's 3000-meter steeplechase and 2012 NCAA qualifier Scott Esparza in the men's hammer. The West Preliminary meet continues through Saturday.
NCAA West Preliminary Meet
Mike A. Myers Stadium / Austin, Texas
1500m (prelims) - 15. Jordan Locklear 3:47.03q
Long Jump - 9. Hammed Suleman 25-1.25 (7.65m)Q
400m (prelims) - 37. Alima Kamara 55.04
1500m (prelims) - 41. Sydney Gray 4:37.65
400m hurdles (prelims) - 46. Tiarra Pittman 1:02.86
Long Jump - 3. Malaina Payton 20-11.75 (6.39m)Q
Hammer - Shelby Ashe NM
Q - qualified for NCAA Championships
q - qualified for next round at NCAA West Preliminary meet