FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The California Golden Bears track & field team is in action in the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field West Preliminary Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. beginning on Thursday, May 29. The Bears will be represented by 27 student-athletes and one relay team across 24 events at John McDonnell Field.
The qualifiers out of these regions will compete in the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships held June 11-14 in Eugene, Oregon.
Three members of the Golden Bears will be competing in multiple events at the West Preliminaries; redshirt senior Tom Blocker (100-meters, 200-meters and 4x100-meter relay), fellow redshirt senior Derek White (discus and hammer) and junior Kelsey Santisteban (5000-meters and 10000-meters).
Blocker is set to compete in the 100-meters, 200-meters and potentially the 4x100-meter relay. He ranks 18th in the 100, after his wind-aided time of 10.34 set at the Mt. Sac Relays on April 18. The Sacramento native also ranks 41st in the 200 with a season and personal best time of 21.11, which he set at the same meet in Walnut, Calif. on April 18. Additionally, he ran the second leg of the Golden Bears 4x100 relay team last weekend at the Pac-12 Championships that clocked a time of 39.91. That time marked the best relay time by a Cal 4x100 team since 1987, and is the seventh best mark in school history.
White, a San Jose native, comes in ranked ninth in both the discus and hammer. His mark of 211-9 in the hammer throw was set this past weekend at the Pac-12 Championships and ranks third all-time on Cal’s All-Time Performers List. White's throw of 194-11 also ranks eighth on that same list, which was set at the Big Meet on April 12 in Berkeley.
Santisteban is the other Golden Bear that will be competing in multiple events on the track in Fayetteville, when she competes in the 5000-meters, where she ranks ninth and 10000-meters, where she ranks seventh. Her time in the 5k of 15:52.94 was set at the Payton Jordan Invitational on May 4 at Stanford, and was just over two seconds shy of her PR. Her time in the 10k of 33:31.85 set at the Stanford Invitational placed her third on Cal’s All-Time Performers List.
Other notable Bears in action will be senior Milan Ristic, who ranks eighth in the 110-meter hurdles with his wind-aided time of 13.59, set earlier this season at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays on March 29, redshirt senior Hammed Suleman, who claimed the Pac-12 Championship for the second consecutive year last weekend in the long jump, fellow redshirt senior Malaina Payton, whose best mark this season of 20-5.00 ranked her 13th in the west and sophomore Shelby Ashe, who ranks eighth in the hammer with her throw of 206-1, set last weekend in Pullman at the Pac-12 Championships.
Three Golden Bears who will be competing this week reached the NCAA meet in 2013 – Payton in the long jump, Blocker as part of the 4x100-meter relay and Suleman in the long jump. Payton recorded the best finish of the three, finishing tenth in Eugene, Ore.