EUGENE, Ore. – The California Golden Bears track & field team continued their competition at the NCAA Championships at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. on Thursday, as four Golden Bear competitors were in action on day two. Sophomore Thomas Joyce’s stellar season continued in Eugene, as he seized the final qualification spot in the 1500-meters for Saturday’s final with a time of 3:41.67. Redshirt senior Hammed Suleman finished tenth in the long jump with a leap of 24-1.50, narrowly missing out on the final three rounds of competition by just a quarter of an inch.
“At the NCAA Championships, the difference between reaching a final is so small,” Director of track & field Tony Sandoval said from Eugene. “Thomas makes it by just .02 seconds, while Hammed just misses by a quarter of an inch.”
Joyce, a Moraga, Calif. native, lunged across the finish line to narrowly edge out Kentucky’s Matt Hillenbrand by .02 seconds to qualify for the final on Saturday afternoon. His time was seventh overall out of the field of 12 that will be gunning for the national title. His mark of 3:41.67 was just off of his PR, which was set two weeks ago at the NCAA West Prelims in Fayettevill, Ark. (3:41.28).
“Everyone began their kick the 150-meters, with Thomas closing fast,” Sandoval added about the thrilling 1500-meter race. “But everyone swung wide and he hugged the rail and had enough to pass the others who were fading. He was able to nose out Hillenbrand for the last timed qualifier position, which was a brilliant and instinctual move on his part.”
Senior Milan Ristic placed fifth in his heat of the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 13.98, missing out on qualifying for Saturday’s final. The transfer from UNC Asheville had come in with a legal PR of 13.63, which he set at the West Prelims in Fayetteville two weeks ago, and that mark would have qualified him on Thursday.
Suleman, an Antioch, Calif. native concluded his stellar collegiate career for the Golden Bears on Thursday night. The back-to-back Pac-12 long jump champion in the long jump leapt a distance of 24-1.50 in Eugene on his second of three attempts. The top nine competitors earned three more jumps, and the ninth qualifier, Nebraska’s Patrick Raedler out-jumped him by just a quarter of an inch.
Junior Kelsey Santisteban, did not finish the 10000-meters on Thursday, pulling out with five laps to go. It remains to be seen whether or not she will be able to compete in the 5000-meters on Saturday afternoon.
Cal will have three student-athletes in action over the course of the next two days; redshirt senior Derek White (discus on Friday afternoon), Joyce (in the 1500-meters on Saturday) and redshirt sophomore Jonte Grant (in the triple jump on Saturday).
For the full schedule of events throughout the remainder of the weekend, please click here and to follow along with live results, click here. The meet is also being broadcast live on ESPN3, and is available with the Watch ESPN app on smartphones and tablets.
Hayward Field/Eugene, Ore.
1500-meters (semifinals) – 7. Thomas Joyce 3:41.67q
110-meter hurdles (semifinals) – 15. Milan Ristic 13.98
Long Jump – 10. Hammed Suleman 24-1.50 (7.35m)
10000-meters – Kelsey Santisteban DNF