May 11, 2013
LOS ANGELES - With a leap of 25-11.50 on his third attempt, junior Hammed Suleman soared to a Pac-12 title in the long jump, becoming the first Golden Bear to win the event in 17 years and highlighting Cal's first day of competition at the conference championships Saturday at USC.
Suleman, the Pac-12 runner-up in the event last year, recorded the two best marks of the day as he also went 25-10w on his first attempt. After a foul on his next try, Suleman recorded his winning effort of 25-11.50w, aided by a tailwind of 2.3 meters per second. He then passed on his next three attempts, finishing nearly a foot and a half ahead of runner-up Trevor Ferguson of Oregon, who posted a distance of 24-6.25.
"Hammed was outstanding today with his win and career best," director of track & field said. "He took only three jumps so he could be primed to win the triple jump, as well."
Only three Bears have ever gone further than Suleman in school history - school-record holder Curtis Rogers (26-6.25 in 1985), Chris Huffins (26-3.50 in 1993) and Lee Adkins (26-0.75 in 1994). The last person from Cal to claim the conference long jump crown was Chris Ferreira in 1996.
On Sunday, Suleman will vie for a second Pac-12 championship when he competes in the triple jump. He enters the event with the No. 2 mark in the country this year, having gone 53-4.50 at the Texas Relays in March.
Overall, the Cal men stand in sixth place after Saturday's action, which featured seven finals with all other events preliminaries. The Golden Bear women are in ninth place through eight events.
Malaina Payton was the top scorer for the Cal women, placing third in the long jump with a mark of 20-9.25. Bears also picked up points in the high jump (Gianna Fernandez, 5th, 5-8.75), shot put (Chioma Amaechi, 6th, outdoor PR 52-3.75) and hammer (Shelby Ashe, 6th, 200-9).
Chase Wheeler took eighth in the men's long jump at 23-10.00 to give the Bears two scorers in the event. In the men's shot put, Ethan Cochran was seventh (55-7.00) and Sullivan Parker eighth (55-4.25).
Among the top qualifiers for Sunday's finals was Ray Stewart, who posted the No. 2 time in the men's 110-meter hurdles (13.73). He won the event in 2011 and redshirted last year following knee surgery. Randy Bermea reached the final in both the 110 and 400 hurdle events, and Ryan Holmes will join Bermea in the 400-meter hurdles.
Charnell Price will also run in two individual events Sunday, having qualified third in the 100 meters (11.46w) and sixth in the 200 meters (23.65). Her wind-aided time in the 100 was a PR under all conditions.
Although he did not reach the final, finishing 10th in qualifying, Tom Blocker established a lifetime best in the men's 100 meters, going 10.45. The time puts him in a tie for sixth all-time at Cal, and no Bear has run faster over the distance since 1991.
Cromwell Field at Loker Stadium / Los Angeles, Calif.
400m (prelims) - 18. Kyle Ezold 49.32
10,000m (final) - James Slater DNF
200m (prelims) - 6. Charnell Price 23.65q
400m (prelims) - 9. Alima Kamara 54.14
3000m steeplechase (final) - 13. Christine Bowlus 10:53.90
Hammer - 6. Shelby Ashe 200-9 (61.20m)