ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Three California Golden Bears were in action on Friday night at the NCAA Indoor Championships at the Albuquerque Convention Center in New Mexico. Senior Milan Ristic, a transfer from UNC Asheville, ran a 7.67 in the 60-meter hurdles, which qualified him for the final tomorrow. Additionally, fellow senior Hammed Suleman competed in the first of his two events, placing tenth in the long jump, while redshirt junior Chioma Amaechi posted a 16th place finish in the women's weight throw.
"NCAA qualifying flights are always tenuous, especially in the field events," Director of track & field Tony Sandoval said on Friday night in Albuquerque. "Both Hammed and Chioma had monster marks in their first round attempts, but unfortunately fouled. Just missing for Hammed was disappointing, but he still has the triple jump tomorrow. Milan ran well, despite a poor start and we are excited about his chances in the finals tomorrow."
Ristic placed fourth in his heat, and sixth overall in the 60-meter hurdles prelim, which qualified him for the eight-runner field in Saturday's final. His time of 7.67 was a tenth of a second behind the first place finisher, senior Eddie Lovett from the University of Florida. Ristic, the Serbian indoor record-holder in the event, came into the NCAA's with the eighth fastest time in the country. The finals are slated to begin at 5:20 p.m. PT
Suleman was unable to qualify for the finals in the long jump, leaping a distance of 24-11.75 (7.61m) on his second of three attempts. The Antioch, Calif. native was in seventh place after the first two rounds and seemed poised to advance, but was passed by eventual fourth place finisher, junior Emmanuel Williams from Northwestern State, fifth place finisher, Nebraska junior Patrick Raedler and Guillame Victorin, a junior from Louisville, who placed ninth on their third attempts. Suleman had qualified for the championships with a mark of 25-3.25, which he achieved on Jan. 24 at the Cherry & Silver Invitational, also in Albuquerque. Suleman will have another crack at an elusive NCAA Championship in the triple jump tomorrow, which is slated to take place at 5 p.m. PT.
Amaechi was unable to advance to the weight throw finals, posting a mark of 59-7.00 (18.16m). She fouled on her first and final attempts, falling well short of her own school record mark from earlier this season. She posted a mark of 71-4.25 at the Husky Classic on Feb. 14 in Seattle, which would have placed her fifth in today's competition.
California's individual title hopes rest on Ristic and Suleman, who will compete in the 60-meter hurdles final and triple jump, respectively. Fans can watch the live stream of tomorrow's competition online on ESPN 3, or by using the Watch ESPN mobile application on their smartphones or tablets.