BERKELEY –The California Golden Bears and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation announced today that California Director of Track & Field Tony Sandoval was named the MPSF Coach of the Year. This announcement comes just days after the Golden Bears men’s team captured their first MPSF team Championship since the 1992-93 season in Seattle this past weekend, while the women tied for seventh, improving upon their 2013 finish.
"I'm humbled and proud that my peers would recognize the efforts that my entire staff and the team put forth in contributing to this honor,” Sandoval said on Wednesday afternoon. “In past years we were in contention late in the meet and somehow we would come up short, so this time it was especially gratifying after the drama of the 4x400 relay. The entire staff has worked diligently and cohesively throughout the year. ”
Cal’s men won the team competition with 96 points, edging back-to-back defending champion Arizona State by three and claiming their first team title in the MPSF Championships since the 1992-93 season, the first in the MPSF’s history.
Redshirt junior Jordan Locklear won the conference title in the mile run with a time of 4:04.03 on Saturday, and also anchored the 4x400m relay team to capture a significant two points to stave off the Sun Devils. Redshirt senior Hammed Suleman factored in heavily to the team championship, claiming the long jump title on Friday night with a mark of 24-6.50, while also placing second in the triple jump with a leap of 54-4.50. Fellow redshirt senior Tom Blocker eclipsed his own school record mark in the 60-meter prelims with a time of 6.71, and placed second in the finals. Senior Milan Ristic set a new PR in the 60-meter hurdles prelims with a time of 7.69, which broke the Serbian indoor record, and went on to claim second place in the final of that event.
Two members of the California women’s team won individual championships as well, as redshirt junior Chioma Amaechi took home the weight throw title with a throw of 67-2.75 and redshirt senior Malaina Payton claimed the long jump title with a mark of 19-8.25.
Sandoval, in his 32nd year with the Bears, joined Cal as the head women’s coach in the fall of 1982 and served in that capacity for nine years before the men's and women's teams combined into a single entity, serving as associate director of track & field from 1992-2007. In addition, Sandoval, who specializes in coaching the Golden Bear runners in the 800 meters and above, is Cal's head cross country coach.
This marks the first time that Sandoval has earned this distinction from the MPSF, and was previously honored in 1986 as the NorPac Conference Track & Field Coach of the Year while heading the women’s program.
The Golden Bears will open their 2014 outdoor season this weekend at home at Edwards Stadium in the California Outdoor Opener.