FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The California Golden Bears track & field team had several student-athletes in action on Thursday at the NCAA Championships West Prelims at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville, Ark. Sophomore Thomas Joyce was among the four Golden Bears who qualified for the quarterfinals later in the weekend, when he placed third in his 1500-meter heat with a time of 3:43.09. Additionally, redshirt senior Hammed Suleman placed seventh in the long jump with a leap of 25-0.00, qualifying him for the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore. on June 11-14. Also headed to Eugene is junior Kelsey Santisteban, who qualified in the 10,000-meters with her time of 34:19.15.
Joyce was an automatic qualifier after placing third in his heat in the 1500-meters with his time of 3:43.09, which tied for sixth overall among the 48 competitors. That mark is the best of his collegiate career, surpassing his previous best of 3:45.41, set earlier this year at the Tri-Meet in Charlottesville, Va. against Virginia and Michigan.
Suleman came just half an inch shy of his legal season best with his leap of 25-0.00 on Thursday. Just two weeks ago, he flew to a wind-aided jump of 26-0.25 to claim his second consecutive Pac-12 Championship and has now booked his trip to Eugene for the NCAA Championships with the seventh best mark in the West Prelims. This also marks the second consecutive year that the Antioch, Calif. native will be competing for a chance to win the national championship after his 21st place finish last year.
Redshirt senior Tom Blocker competed in his first event of the prelims, the 100-meters and snagged the 24th and final qualification spot for Friday night’s final qualifying event with a mark of 10.55. He finished just .004 faster than Iowa freshman O’Shea Wilson to advance. Blocker is also slated to compete in the 200-meters on Friday night and as part of the 4x100-meter relay on Saturday.
In the 400-meter hurdles, sophomore Randy Bermea clocked a time of 51.44, which placed him 18th and qualified him for Friday’s final qualifier. Bermea’s time on Thursday was a bit behind his PR of 50.86, set at the Brutus Hamilton in April, but still gives him an opportunity to earn his way to Eugene.
Junior Sydney Gray also qualified for Saturday’s 1500-meter final qualifier after she clocked the fasted non-automatic qualifying time of 4:22.94, which placed her 19th overall. Her best time this season and PR, 4:21.68 would have placed her fourth on Thursday.
Santisteban booked her ticket to Eugene with an 11th place finish in the 10,000-meters with her time of 34:19.15. It was less than 50 seconds off of her personal best pace (33:31.85), set previously this season in April at the Stanford Invitational. That mark also ranks third on Cal’s All-Time Performers List.
The second day of the NCAA Championships West Prelims gets underway on Friday, May 30, as more Bears continue their run at the NCAA Championships in Eugene. Fans can follow along live here and events begin Friday at 8 a.m. PT with the men’s hammer.
NCAA Championships West Prelims
John McDonnell Field/Fayetteville, Ark.
100-meters (prelims) – 24. Tom Blocker 10.55q
800-meters (prelims) – 26. Jordan Locklear 1:51.16
1500-meters (prelims) – T-6 Thomas Joyce 3:43.09Q
10000-meters – 27. J.P. Slater 30:33.83
400-meter hurdles (prelims) – 18. Randy Bermea 51.44q
Long Jump – 7. Hammed Suleman 25-0.00 (7.62m)Q
Shot Put – 22. Sullivan Parker 56-10.75 (17.34m); 41. Matt Esparza 54-4.00 (16.56m)
1500-meters – 19. Sydney Gray 4:22.94q
10000-meters – 11. Kelsey Santisteban 34:19.59Q
400-meter hurdles (prelims) – 27. Angelica Weaver 59.76; 47. Tiarra Pittman 1:05.00
Long Jump – 30. Malaina Payton 19-0.00 (5.79m)
q – Qualified for quarterfinals