Feb. 27, 2010
SEATTLE, Wash. - Mark Matusak and Deborah Maier won the men's and women's 3000-meter titles, respectively, to lead the Cal track & field team at the MPSF Indoor Championships Saturday on the University of Washington campus. In addition, Patrick Kowalsky captured the shot put competition and Mike Morrison prevailed in the two-day heptathlon to give the Golden Bears four individual crowns at the meet.
The Cal men finished in third place in the team standings with 90 points behind winner UCLA (108.50) and runner-up Stanford (95.50). The Bear women were fifth with 64.50 points.
Overall, Cal athletes posted 11 personal bests, exceeded eight NCAA provisional qualifying standards and set one school record Saturday.
Perhaps the most significant achievement was by Maier, who won the women's 3000 in 9:20.05 despite falling down midway through the race. Not only was her time a Cal indoor school record, breaking the time of 9:36.26 set by Alison Greggor last year, but it also was lower than the Bears' outdoor mark of 9:21.42 run by Marilyn Davis in 1986.
"After Deborah fell at the mile mark, she kept her composure and had an unbelievable kick to win," Director of Track & Field Tony Sandoval said.
Despite her mishap, Maier crossed the finish line more than four seconds ahead of her nearest pursuer, Arizona's Hannah Moen, who came through at 9:24.87. Earlier this season, Maier shattered the Cal indoor record in the 5000 by more than 30 seconds with her time of 15:58.49 at the Husky Classic in Seattle.
Matusak led a 1-3 Cal finish in the men's 3000 with his time of 7:59.67. Michael Coe claimed third in 8:01.23, just behind Stanford's Elliott Heath. It was Matusak's first individual conference crown; the senior was part of the Bears' winning distance medley relay in 2009.
Both Matusak and Coe have already automatically qualified for the NCAA indoor championships in two weeks - Matusak in the mile (school-record 3:58.36) and Coe in the 3000 (he ran 7:52.14 earlier this month).
Kowalsky was the biggest surprise winner with his victory in the shot put, the first event of the morning. His best effort after four throws was 57-11.75. But in his fifth attempt, he surged to the lead with his PR toss of 59-0.75 (18.00m), nearly two feet farther than his previous best.
"Patrick throw was phenomenal," Sandoval said. "When our field events people win, it gets everyone fired up."
Morrison edged Robert Robinson of Cal State Northridge for the heptathlon title, finishing with 5,655 points to Robinson's 5,540. Morrison took over the lead for good after the sixth event - the pole vault - when he cleared 16-0.75 to pick up 880 points. Robinson managed a clearance of 13-9.25, which was good for 673 points. Cal's Kevin Kuechler was sixth with 5,055 points.
The victory was the first conference title for Morrison, a transfer from Florida who was the 2007 SEC Freshman of the Year and placed third at the '07 NCAA indoor meet in the heptathlon. In addition to today's result, Morrison also tied for third in the long jump Friday.
Oregon's Andrew Wheating captured the mile in 3:58.20, with Coe taking fourth in an NCAA provisional qualifying time of 4:02.68. The field was bunched behind Wheating, as Coe missed out on a second-place finish by less than a second behind UCLA's Marlon Patterson (4:02.16) and Arizona State's Brandon Bethke (4:02.41). Cal's Steve Sodaro fell just shy of putting points on the board, taking ninth in a personal-best 4:06.54.
The Bears got a runner-up finish in the women's 800 from freshman Sofia Oberg, who ran a personal-best 2:06.40 in her first MPSF meet. Mercedes Marchbanks took third in the women's triple jump (39-11.50), while Sebastian Sam had a PR 1:49.82 in the men's 800 to claim fourth.
Other notable performances on the day came from Brian Carmichael in the high jump, who finished eighth with a height of 6-9.50, more than three inches better than his previous PR. Linda Oseso bettered her PR in the shot put by two-and-a-half feet to tie for sixth at 45-5.25.
"Most of our strong events come on the second day," Sandoval said. "We came on at the end, and to have four individual champions says something. Unfortunately, we don't have enough depth across the board to move up in the team standings."
MPSF Indoor Track & Field Championships
Saturday's Cal Men's Results
Final Team Standings
Saturday's Cal Women's Results
Final Team Standings
1. Oregon 133, 2. Stanford 113, 3. Arizona 109, 4. Arizona State 75, 5. California 64.50, 6. UCLA 53.50, 7. Washington State 45, 8. Washington 34, 9. Cal State Northridge 27.50, 10. Long Beach State 7.50.
*denotes NCAA provisional qualifying time