BERKELEY – The California Golden Bears and the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced today that California Director of Track & Field Tony Sandoval was named the NCAA Division I West Region Coach of the Year. Sandoval was also named the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Coach of the Year last week, as the Bears’ men’s team claimed their first MPSF championship in school history on March 1 in Seattle.
"I'm very humbled to earn this recognition and it is because of the efforts that my entire staff and the team put forth that I have received this honor,” Sandoval said on Thursday from the NCAA Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, N.M. “I am extremely proud of our entire staff, who have worked very hard and well together throughout the year.”
Cal’s men won the MPSF team competition with 96 points, edging back-to-back defending champion Arizona State by three and claimed their first MPSF Championship in school history.
Redshirt junior Jordan Locklear won the conference title in the mile run with a time of 4:04.03 two weeks ago in Seattle, 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 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 USTFCCA, and was previously honored this year as the MPSF Coach of the Year and in 1986 as the NorPac Conference Track & Field Coach of the Year while heading the women’s program.