April 20, 2013
STANFORD - Tom Blocker won the 100 and 200 meters and ran on the victorious 4x100-meter relay and Hammed Suleman claimed both the long jump and triple jump to lead the Cal men's track & field team to an 85-78 decision over Stanford in the 119th Big Meet Saturday, giving the Golden Bears their first win since 2006.
In the women's competition, the Bears came out on top in seven events, including double-winner Charnell Price in the 100 and 200 meters, but Stanford took the meet for the third year in a row, 102-61. Cal leads the men's series, 67-50-2, with the Cardinal holding a 23-11 advantage on the women's side.
"The Big Meet always has great competition and the fact that we came out on the men's side is exciting," director of track & field Tony Sandoval said. "We had a number of big performances throughout the day."
Suleman's triumph in the triple jump clinched the team outcome with one event - the 4x400-meter relay - still go to. He recorded a mark of 51-3.75 to complement his 24-2.25w distance in the long jump. Although the Bears lost a close race in the relay, the entire team celebrated with a victory lap around the track and led the Cal fans in attendance in a chant of Go Bears. The team then marched en masse to watch the Cal men's tennis team complete its match against Stanford on the adjacent courts.
In the 100 meters, Blocker lowered his lifetime best to 10.51 seconds as Cal claimed the first five spots. Charles Saseun (2nd, 10.72) and Julius Travis (4th, 10.78) also had legal PRs. Blocker followed up with a wind-aided victory in the 200 meters when he was timed in 21.23, well below his legal best of 21.58 set two weeks ago in Berkeley. The 4x100-meter relay, with Blocker on the second leg, crossed the line in first in a season-best 40.24.
Perhaps the biggest and most inspiring surprise of the day for the Bears came in the men's 800 meter when Jordan Locklear set a PR 1:50.08, edging four other Cardinal runners who were timed in under 1:51.
"Heading into today, we didn't think we were going to get any points in the 800 meters," Sandoval said. "I think that was the emotional switch for us."
The Bears also picked up another clutch victory in the men's shot put when freshman Ethan Cochran had a more than one foot PR of 58-2.00 to edge Stanford senior Geoffrey Tabor by a quarter of an inch.
The Bears opened the meet with a 1-2-3 sweep in the women's hammer, led by a freshman record from Shelby Ashe, who recorded a mark of 201-10 on her final attempt. The distance put her No. 3 on Cal's all-time performer list and beat the previous rookie record of 193-0 set by Jennifer Joyce in 1999. Torie Owers took second with a PR 181-4, while Chioma Amaechi placed third at 172-5. The Bears also fared well in the men's hammer with a 1-3 finish by Scott Esparza (193-11) and Isaac Dan (PR 178-1).
Malaina Payton added a victory in the women's long jump when she uncorked a PR 21-1.50 on her sixth attempt. The effort pushed her from fifth to third all-time at Cal and makes her the No. 4 NCAA performer in the country so far this spring.
Collin Jarvis, the reigning Pac-12 champion in the men's 3000-meter steeplechase, defended his Big Meet title in the event with a season-best 8:53.32 finish. He took the lead from the start and cruised to a three-second victory over Stanford's Benjamin Johnson.
The Cal women picked up their first victory on the track when Alima Kamara won the 400 meters in a season-best 53.01, her fastest time since running 52.75 as a freshman in 2010. Price followed with her first-place finish in the 100 meters when she equaled her lifetime best of 11.68 seconds, and she later edged Stanford's Carissa Levingston by 0.03 seconds to capture the 200 meters in 23.91.
Gianna Fernandez moved into fifth on Cal's all-time performer list with her PR victory in the women's high jump (5-10.50), while Amanda Hunter won the triple jump with a mark of 41-5.75, just off her legal PR of 41-7.75.
"It was great to see Gianna Fernandez come through with a PR as a senior in the Big Meet, as well as Collin Jarvis win in the steeple," Sandoval said. "Historically, I think more PRs are set in the Big Meet than any other meet each year."
Other marks of note included Nick Ridge setting an outdoor PR as he took second at 7-0.25. He owns a lifetime best of 7-3.00 from this past indoor season. Kelsey Santisteban (9:30.90) and Taylor Dutch (9:39.11) both ran outdoor PRs in taking second and fourth, respectively, in the women's 3000 meters.
The Bears are back in action next weekend when they host their annual Brutus Hamilton meet Friday and Saturday at Edwards Stadium. The open-level competition and distance carnival will be on Friday, with the invitational challenge on Saturday. Admission is free.
The Big Meet
Cobb Track & Angell Field / Stanford, Calif.
Men - California 85, Stanford 78
Women - Stanford 102, California 61
Javelin - 4. Andrew Cruikshank 136-6 (41.60m)
400m - 1. Alima Kamara 53.01
1500m - 7. Sydney Gray 4:29.12; 8. Mariel Mendoza 4:42.21
3000m steeplechase - 4. Christine Bowlus 10:47.49; 5. Molly Babcock 11:18.43