May 29, 2010
AUSTIN, Texas - Senior Mark Matusak established a Golden Bear record in the men's 5000 meters, running 3:39.59, and sophomore Deborah Maker and both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays earned qualifying marks for the NCAA Championships Saturday as Cal wrapped up action the NCAA West Preliminary meet in Austin, Texas.
After three days of competition at Mike A. Myers Stadium, the Bears claimed spots in seven events at the national meet June 9-12 at Oregon's Hayward Field. In addition, Mike Morrison will vie for the title in the decathlon based on his score from earlier this season, giving Cal eight total entries.
Matusak, who was fourth in his heat and had the fourth-fastest overall time in the 1500, broke the Cal record of 3:39.9 set by Andy Clifford in 1979. The time was a nearly three-second PR for Matusak, whose previous best was 3:42.42 from his third-place finish at the Pac-10 Championships in Berkeley two weeks ago.
In Saturday's race, Oregon's Andrew Wheating led heat one through at 3:37.52. He was followed by Jack Bolas of Wisconsin in 3:38.47, Lee Emanuel of New Mexico in 3:38.81 and Matusak. All four were under the existing Myers Stadium record, as the top five in the heat received invitations to nationals.
The first Golden Bears on the track Saturday were members of the women's 4x100-meter relay - Malaina Payton, Kayla Dixon, Kristin Holmes, Cherrelle Garrett - who blistered around their lap in 44.97 to secure the 12th and final spot for the national meet. The Cal coaches used the same foursome at the Pac-10 Championships earlier this month, but for the NCAA preliminary meet, they switched the order with Dixon going second and Holmes third instead of vice versa. The result was the sixth-fastest 4x100 relay in school history, 0.43 seconds faster than they ran at the conference meet.
Maier was timed in 16:37.95 in the women's 5000 meters, qualifying as the seventh fastest in the field. After taking fourth in the race at the Pac-10 Championships, she was fourth in her heat to earn the berth as the top five runners plus the next to fastest times in each of two heats advanced.
Cal qualified a second relay for nationals when the quartet of JAsmine Joseph, Angelica Weaver, Kayla Dixon and Alima Kamara was timed in 3:36.81 in the 4x400-meter relay. The mark was the fastest for the Bears in three years and ranks fifth on the school's performance list. The foursome's previous best this year was 3:40.06.
Tracey Stewart, the Pac-10 runner-up in the women's triple jump, was unable to advance with a best effort of 41-7.75, which was 20th on the day. Mercedes Marchbanks fouled on each of her three attempts and did not record a valid mark.
Although she did not advance to nationals, Linda Oseso set a PR in the hammer with a throw of 179-2 on her second of three attempts and placed 28th. The mark was three inches further than her previous best and keeps her at No. 5 on Cal's all-time performers chart.
Junior Michael Coe, who battled a case of the flu earlier in the week, competed in the men's 5000 meters but did not finish the race. In the men's triple jump, freshman Hammed Suleman fouled on all three of his attempts.
In the women's high jump, Kristen Meister cleared 5-8.50, tying for 14th place to just miss out on a trip to Eugene.
On Friday, Steve Sodaro qualified in the men's 3000-meter steeplechase, Connor Landry advanced in the men's pole vault and Kamara ran Cal's No. 2 time ever in the women's 400 meters to move on to Eugene. Morrison received an invitation in the decathlon after posting the country's No. 7 mark during the season.
Twelve qualifiers from every event at each of the two NCAA preliminary meets - West in Austin and East in Greensboro, N.C. - advanced to nationals. For multi-event athletes in the decathlon and heptathlon, the top 24 on the national list received automatic berths.
NCAA West Preliminary Rounds
5000 meters - Michael Coe DNF
Triple Jump - Hammed Suleman NM
High Jump - 14. Kristen Meister 5-8.50 (1.74m)
Hammer - 28. Linda Oseso 179-2 (54.61m)
Q - qualified for NCAA national meet in Eugene, Ore.