Bears Set for NCAA Championships
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  06/04/2013

June 4, 2013

THIS WEEK IN CAL TRACK & FIELD: Jumpers, hurdlers and relay runners will comprise Cal's contingent of representatives at the NCAA Championships set for Wednesday-Saturday at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Representing the Golden Bears will be long jumpers Hammed Suleman and Malaina Payton, triple jumper Amanda Hunter, 110-meter hurdler Ray Stewart and the men's 4x100-meter relay.

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Two of Cal's entries - Stewart and Suleman - captured Pac-12 titles in their respective events before earning their berths to the NCAA meet with qualifying performances at the NCAA West Preliminary rounds May 23-25 in Austin, Texas. Payton and Hunter both took third at the Pac-12 Championships.

ESPN3 and ESPNU will broadcast a majority of the national meet, with supplemental coverage on the Pac-12 Live Stream ( The over-the-air telecast will be on ESPNU Saturday from 2-4 p.m.

Cal's NCAA Championships Schedule

Wednesday, June 5
M 4x100m Relay Semifinal 4:15 p.m.
W Long Jump Trials/Final Malaina Payton 4:15 p.m.
Thursday, June 6
M 110m Hurdles Semifinal Ray Stewart 5:20 p.m.
M Long Jump Trials/Final Hammed Suleman 4:30 p.m.
Friday, June 7
W Triple Jump Trials/Final Amanda Hunter 3:25 p.m.
Saturday, June 8
M 4x100m Relay Final 2:12 p.m.
M 110m Hurdles Final Ray Stewart 3:16 p.m.

HOW THEY GOT THERE: Cal's representatives to the NCAA meet earned their invitations by qualifying at the NCAA West Preliminary meet May 23-25 in Austin, Texas. The top 12 individuals and relays in each event advanced to the national championships.

Ray Stewart won both of his heats in the 110-meter hurdles, finishing his second-round race in a controlled 13.65 seconds, while in the women's triple jump, Amanda Hunter was 10th with a mark of 42-8.00w - her longest distance under any conditions.

In the long jump, Hammed Suleman went 25-1.25 on his second attempt to secure his spot at NCAAs, and Malaina Payton was third overall with a best of 20-11.75.

Cal's men's 4x100-meter relay earned its berth by the narrowest of margins. Initially fourth in its second-round race, the Bears moved up to the third and final automatic qualifying spot after Texas A&M was disqualified for passing out of the zone. The result meant Cal has an entry in the 4x100 relay at the NCAA meet for the first time since 1977.

PAC-12 TITLES FOR SULEMAN, STEWART: Cal returned home from the Pac-12 Championships in Los Angeles May 11-12 with a pair of conference champions in the travel party. Hammed Suleman soared to a PR 25-11.50 in the men's long jump to become Cal's first winner in the event since Chris Ferreira in 1996. In addition, Ray Stewart blazed to a lifetime-best 13.43 to capture his second men's 110m hurdles title (he also won in 2011 before knee surgery kept him off the track last year). The time keeps him No. 2 in school history in the event and moves him to No. 10 on the all-time Pac-12 list. With the two crowns, the Bears won multiple conference championships for the first time since taking three in 1996.

Cal also had several other notable performances at the Pac-12 meet. Suleman just missed on a second title when he finished as the runner-up in the men's triple jump, while Collin Jarvis, who won the men's 3000m steeplechase in 2012, claimed second place this year. Others to finish in the top 3 were Charnell Price in the women's 100m, Amanda Hunter in the women's triple jump and Malaina Payton in the women's long jump.

LOOKING FOR TITLES: The Golden Bear men have capture 30 NCAA championships in their history with the last coming in 2011 when Mike Morrison won the decathlon. Among the events Cal is competing in this year, the Bears have prevailed once each in the 4x100 relay and the 110 hurdles. In 1970, the quartet of Don Couser, Isaac Curtis, Dave Masters and Eddie Hart captured the 4x110-yard relay in 40.3 seconds, while Larry Cowling won the 110-meter hurdles in 1981 in 13.60. Cal has never finished first in the men's long jump.

The Cal women have won seven titles at the NCAA outdoor meet, with Katie Morgan's crown in the pole vault in 2008 the most recent. In the jumps, the most decorated NCAA champion in school history was Sheila Hudson, who won a total of 6 national titles (4 outdoor, 2 indoor), including three times in the outdoor triple jump (1987-88, 90) and once in the outdoor long jump (1990).

BIG MEET WIN FOR CAL MEN: Cal's men's team defeated Stanford, 85-78, to capture the 119th edition of the Big Meet April 20, the Bears first victory in the series since 2006. Cal clinched on the next-to-last event when Hammed Suleman won the triple jump. Suleman also took first in the long jump during the day, while Tom Blocker prevailed in the 100 (10.51) and 200 (21.23w) and ran a leg on the victorious 4x100-meter relay.

COCHRAN SETS CAL FROSH RECORD: Ethan Cochran, a two-time state discus champion while at Newport Harbor HS, etched his name in the Cal record book with a throw of 188-8 in the discus April 12. The mark broke the seven-year-old school freshman record of 184-8 set by Nate Rolfe and moved Cochran up to 16th in the country in the event at the time (now 23rd). Other than NCAA champion Martin Maric, who threw 201-10 in 2009, no other Bear has thrown further than Cochran since the 1993 season.

ASHE BREAKS FRESHMAN HAMMER MARK: Shelby Ashe, who set the American junior record in the hammer before enrolling at Cal from her home in Stone Mountain, Ga., moved up to No. 3 on the school's all-time list with her freshman-record 201-10 at the Big Meet April 20 Only Jennifer Joyce (Cal PR 214-0 in 2002) and Carrie Johnson (Cal PR 211-5 in 2007) have ever gone further.

NEW HALL OF FAMER: Rick Brown, the only four-time 880-yard champion (1971-74) in Pac-8 history, has been elected to the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame and will be enshrined with the rest of the class in October. As a sophomore in 1972, he set the school record in the 800 meters when he was timed in 1:45.4 in the finals of the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. - a mark that still stands atop the record book a remarkable 41 years later.

GOLDEN BEAR NOTES: Matt Petersen (men's cross country), Jonathan Berry-Smith (men's track & field), Deborah Maier (women's cross country) and Nicole Larson (women's track & field) all received Golden Bear Achievement Awards for having the highest GPAs on their respective teams ... 18 Golden Bears earned all-academic honors from the MPSF for the indoor season.


Amanda Hunter - Triple Jump
Senior / Inglewood, Calif. (Marlborough HS)

Qualified for the NCAA meet for the first time in her career ... has improved her performance in the triple jump every year at Cal ... jumped 42-8.00w at the NCAA West Preliminary meet - her best effort under any conditions ... ranks fifth all-time at Cal in the triple jump ... won the triple jump with a mark of 41-5.75 at the Big Meet vs. Stanford, just off her legal PR of 41-7.75 ... placed third at the Pac-12 Championships with a wind-aided 41-9.25 ... a double major in American studies and rhetoric who has been named to the Pac-12 All-Academic team three times ... former member of the Cal Dance team ... participated in gymnastics through 10th grade.

Malaina Payton - Long Jump
Junior / Vallejo, Calif. (Fremont Media College Prep HS)

The No. 3 long jumper in Cal history with a best of 21-1.50 from her victory during this year's Big Meet vs. Stanford ... placed third at the Pac-12 Championships with a top effort of 20-9.25 ... went 20-11.75 at the NCAA West Preliminary meet to qualify for Eugene ... has led Cal in the long jump during each of her three years in Berkeley ... qualified for the NCAA indoor meet as a sophomore in 2012 where she placed 14th ... father, Norbert Payton, was a sprinter at Washington State ... American studies major.

Ray Stewart - 110-meter hurdles
Senior / Oakland, Calif. (James Logan HS/Merritt College)

A two-time conference champion in the 110m hurdles ... captured the title in 2011 (13.48) and again earlier this spring with a PR 13.43 seconds ... the No. 2 hurdler in school history behind Larry Cowling, who ran 13.39 in 1982 ... won his qualifying heat at the NCAA West Preliminary meet in 13.65 ... has made a remarkable recovery from an ACL tear and subsequent knee surgery ... suffered the injury early in 2012 and was competing on the track exactly one year after surgery ... set a Cal indoor record in the 60-meter hurdles (7.68) and reached the final at the 2013 NCAA indoor meet where he placed eighth (7.89) ... a two-time state JC champion in the 110m hurdles at Merritt College in Oakland ... stands 6-foot-4 ... sociology major.

Hammed Suleman - Long Jump
Junior / Antioch, Calif. (Deer Valley HS)

Won the Pac-12 long jump crown after soaring 25-11.50w at the championships ... the effort makes him the fourth-best in the event under all conditions in school history ... recorded a best of 53-4.50w in the triple jump at the Texas Relays and was the Pac-12 runner-up in the event but did not advance to NCAAs ... has suffered from nerve entrapment and soft tissue compression in his lower leg, which puts pressure on a nerve and can result in painful takeoffs ... has undergone several procedures to alleviate the pain, including one last week ... runner-up in the long jump at the Pac-12 meet in 2012 ... reached the NCAA indoor meet in the triple jump in 2011, finishing 12th ... captured the 2009 California state title in the triple jump ... social welfare major.

Earned a berth at the NCAA meet after Texas A&M was disqualified for passing out of the zone at the NCAA West Preliminary meet ... the result moved Cal up to third in its heat, earning the Bears an automatic spot at nationals ... finished in 40.58 at regionals ... owns a season best of 40.05 from the Brutus Hamilton Invitational ... trying to become Cal's first 4x100m relay to run under 40 seconds since 1986 ... quartet at West Preliminary meet was freshman Julius Travis, senior Tom Blocker, junior Dash Oliver and senior Ray Stewart ... senior Chad Jones may replace Stewart at NCAAs to allow Stewart to concentrate on the 110m hurdles.