BERKELEY –The California Golden Bears track & field team hosted the Brutus Hamilton Challenge on Saturday at Edwards Stadium in Berkeley. The Golden Bears men’s team, who are currently ranked first in the Track & Field News Dual Meet Rankings, won the Challenge with a total score of 220 points. They defeated Utah State (139), New Mexico (100) and Oklahoma (90). In the final home meet of his collegiate career, senior Tom Blocker put on quite a show, winning the 100-meters with a lifetime best of 10.41, which moves him into fifth on Cal’s All-Time Performers List. Sophomore Randy Bermea also had a tremendous performance to capture nine crucial points, setting a lifetime best in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 50.86. Sophomore Thomas Joyce finished second in the Don Bowden mile, with a personal best time of 4:00.49, which ranks him eighth on the Cal All-Time Performer’s List. Cal’s women finished second in the four-way scoring meet with 144 points, behind Utah State (201) and ahead of both Oklahoma (106.50) and New Mexico (97.50) The Bears also honored their 21 seniors in a ceremony prior to the final events on Saturday.
“Tom was fantastic today in the 100-meters and also ran well in the 200 and relay,” Director of track & field Tony Sandoval said on Saturday afternoon. “Randy was very impressive to break 51 (seconds), I knew it was coming, and even on a windy day he was able to get it done. Thomas, even though he didn’t win, to run four-flat in the mile is pretty magic, and that is one of our signature events. In the throws, Brenden, for a freshman was fantastic in the discus and Derek was very consistent as well. Hammed’s long jump of 25 feet was very, very good and also had a monster jump of 26 feet or so, but unfortunately he fouled. Chioma and Sullivan both PR’ed in the shot and we are very happy for their success today.”
Blocker won the 100-meter final by just six thousandths of a second over Utah State’s Nic Bowens to set a new PR in front of the home fans. Blocker also impressed in the preliminaries earlier in the day with a 10.47, while teammate and freshman Khalfani Muhammad placed seventh with a time of 10.70 in Saturday’s final. Bermea improved on his PR in the 400-meter hurdles on Saturday by nearly two tenths of a second. His previous best was set just last week at the Mt. Sac Relays, running a 51.04.
Joyce was one of three Golden Bears to set PR’s in the Don Bowden Mile; as redshirt senior J.P. Slater finished sixth in 4:04.93, and junior Chris Walden also eclipsed his previous best with a time of 4:05.96. Joyce’s previous best came during the indoor season earlier this year, running the mile in 4:13.78.
Senior Maurice Valentine, Jr. set a new PR in the Eddie Moore 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.41, eclipsing his previous best of 14.69 set on Friday at the Brutus Hamilton Open. He finished third in the final, behind former Bear hurdler Ray Stewart, who posted a 13.51 in the final to win comfortably, after his 13.50 in the preliminary race.
Junior Tiarra Pitttman claimed the 400-meter hurdles in exciting fashion with a season-best time of 1:00.19 on Saturday afternoon. She bested teammate Angelica Weaver, who finished fourth with a time of 1:00.82
Sophomore Sullivan Parker won the Dave Maggard Shot Put title with a PR throw of 57-7.00 on his final attempt, surpassing his previous best mark of 56-1.75, set in April of last year. His teammate, freshman Matt Esparza also improved on his best mark, throwing 53-0.00 on his third attempt. Senior Derek White won the discus with a throw of 181-5 and freshman Brenden Song set a PR with a mark of 177-6, which placed him second. On the women’s side, junior Chioma Amaechi claimed the title in the shot put with a throw of 52-2.75, which is just shy of her outdoor PR of 52-11.00 set at the Big Meet earlier this season.
“All of the seniors are people that I recruited and I think to a person, including their parents, can’t believe this has ended,” Sandoval added. “It seems like only months ago I was in their living rooms, or they were here on a visit and I was trying to seal the deal with coming to Cal, and here they are finishing their careers and graduating, which is very special to me. Each one of them, there is a story of the struggles they have had to have to be competitive at Cal. As we know, you have to compete every day; in the classroom, in the field and on the track and they’ve done a tremendous job. It is really fulfilling for me to see them finishing their career and graduating.”
Cal returns to action next Sunday, May 4 in the Payton Jordan Invitational at Cobb Track and Angell Field in Palo Alto, beginning at noon PT. Brutus Hamilton Challenge Edwards Stadium/Berkeley, Calif. California Results Men 100-meters (prelims) – 3. Tom Blocker 10.47q; 6. Khalfani Muhammad 10.58q; Dash Oliver 10.62; Charles Saseun 10.77