FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The California Golden Bears track & field team had nine student-athletes in action on Friday at the NCAA Championships West Prelims at John McDonnell Field in Fayetteville, Ark. Senior Milan Ristic qualified for Saturday’s quarterfinal in the 110-meter hurdles with his time of 13.98. Redshirt senior Tom Blocker, who competed in two events on Friday, fell just short of reaching the NCAA Championships in the 100-meter quarterfinal after his wind-aided time of 10.40 wasn’t enough to carry him to Eugene, Ore. Senior Nick Ridge and sophomore Randy Bermea each came within one place of qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the high jump and 400-meters, respectively.
Ristic, who missed a good portion of the outdoor season due to injury, got back into the swing of things, qualifying with the 14th fastest time on Friday with a mark of 13.98. His legal PR in the event of 13.71 would have been seventh on Friday, and his wind-aided 13.59 from earlier this season would have placed him fourth. Texas A&M senior Wayne Davis II took the top overall qualifying spot with a mark of 13.46. Ristic will compete for a chance to advance to the NCAA Championships at 5:05 p.m. PT on Saturday along with 23 other hopefuls.
Blocker, came up just short in his quest to reach the 100-meters NCAA Championships after his wind-aided 10.40 (+2.7) placed him 19th out of the 24-man field in the quarterfinal. The Sacramento native had qualified 24th yesterday with a time of 10.55, but would have needed a time of 10.28 or better to book his trip to Eugene. Texas A&M senior Prezel Hardy Jr. took the 12th and final qualifying spot with his legal time of 10.29. Additionally, Blocker finished 28th in the 200-meters with a time of 21.27, which was .16 slower than his PR, which was set last month at the Mt. Sac Relays. He will still have an opportunity to reach the NCAA Championships as part of Cal’s 4x100-meter relay team, who are slated to compete on Saturday at 4 p.m. PT.
In the high jump, senior Nick Ridge was just shy of qualifying for the NCAA Championships in Eugene, finishing tied for 13th after he cleared a height of 6-11.50. The top 12 finishers qualified, meaning Ridge was heartbreakingly close, much like his teammate Bermea was in the 400-meter hurdles. Bermea, a Texas native, was just five hundredths of a second shy of his personal best when he clocked a time of 51.91, finishing 13th as well.
"Today saw a very tough ending for both Randy and Nick," Director of track & field Tony Sandoval said on Friday night from Fayetteville. "Finishing 13th in their respective events and just missing out on qualifying is difficult to see."
Cal’s throwers also fell short of qualification, as redshirt junior Scott Esparza came closest in the hammer throw, with a 19th place finish after his mark of 196-8. Junior Isaac Dan (192-5) and redshirt senior Derek White (191-10) finished 28th and 29th, respectively.
The third and final day of the NCAA Championships West Prelims gets underway on Saturday, May 31, as more Bears continue their run at the NCAA Championships in Eugene. Fans can follow along live here and events begin Saturday at 8 a.m. PT with the women’s hammer.
NCAA Championships West Prelims
John McDonnell Field/Fayetteville, Ark.
100-meters – 19. Tom Blocker 10.40w
200-meters (prelims) – 28. Tom Blocker 21.27
110-meter hurdles (prelims) – 14. Milan Ristic 13.98Q
400-meter hurdles – 13. Randy Bermea 50.91
3000-meter steeplechase – 41. Simon Schmidt 9:19.18
High Jump – T-13. Nick Ridge 6-11.50 (2.12m)
Hammer – 19. Scott Esparza 196-8 (59.95m); 28. Isaac Dan 192-5 (58.65m); 29. Derek White 191-10 (58.49m)
Triple Jump – Kiare Tanner Foul
q – Qualified for quarterfinals