Jan. 15, 2013
THIS WEEK IN CAL TRACK & FIELD: For the fifth consecutive year, California opens its indoor track & field season with a trip to Albuquerque, N.M., for the Cherry & Silver Invitational. Scheduled for Friday and Saturday at the Albuquerque Convention Center, the meet gets underway at 4 p.m. MT Friday with the men's pole vault and women's weight throw and concludes with the women's 4x400m relay Saturday at 4:25 p.m. MT.
Over the past couple of years, Golden Bears have produced some record-breaking performances in Albuquerque. Last January, Linda Oseso set a Cal mark in the women's weight throw with an effort of 60-9.50, the first of several times she extended the record during the 2012 season. A year earlier, Hammed Suleman, then a sophomore, went 50-2.50 in the triple jump to become the first Bear to surpass 50 feet in the event in seven years.
Although Oseso has since graduated, Suleman, a redshirt-junior, now ranks ninth in school history with a best of 52-10.75 in the triple jump.
The Cherry & Silver meet is the first of Cal's four regular-season indoor meets before the MPSF Championships Feb. 22-23. The Bears will make a return visit to New Mexico for the Don Kirby Invitational on Feb. 8.
BEAR RETURN 4 ALL-AMERICANS FOR 2013: Four Golden Bears who qualified for the 2012 NCAA Indoor Championships and earned All-American honors are back for the upcoming campaign. Leading the crew is senior distance specialist Deborah Maier, who was the national runner-up in both the 3000m and 5000m last year. In addition, junior Malaina Payton took 14th in the women's triple jump at NCAA's, while Sofia Oberg and Angelica Weaver comprised half of Cal's 10th-place distance medley relay.
CAL WOMEN RANKED 9TH IN PRESEASON: With all of its scoring return from last year's 15th-place NCAA finish, Cal's women's indoor track & field team is ranked ninth in the preseason coaches poll. Senior Deborah Maier took second in the 3000m and 5000m in 2012 to total all 16 of the Bears' points at the national meet. She is the top returning performer in the country in the 5000m (school-record 15:29.24), while she is ranked third individually in the 3000m (9:02.35). Sofia Oberg (800m, 2:05.32) and Malaina Payton (long jump, 20-5.75) are 10th in their respective events.
Among Pac-12 schools, Cal trails only Oregon, which is third in the poll tabulated by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Also in the top 25 are No. 10 Washington, No. 12 Arizona and No. 13 Stanford.
WOMEN'S RECRUITING CLASS RANKED NO. 5: Cal's current class of women's track & field newcomers, which includes an American junior record-holder in the hammer (Shelby Ashe), a national leader in the shot put (Tori Owers) and a two-time state JC champion in the triple jump (Rukayah Bent-Mikail), has been ranked as fifth best in the country by Track & Field News.
GOLDEN BEAR NOTES: Sophomore Kelsey Santistiban qualified for the NCAA national meet and earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors in cross country last fall ... Ray Stewart, the 2011 Pac-10 champion in the 110m hurdles outdoors and the Cal record-holder in the 60m hurdles indoors (7.77), looks to return to racing again this season after sitting out last year with a knee injury ... Golden Bears set five indoor records last season, all on the women's side: mile (4:41.29, Chelsea Reilly), 3000m (9:00.86, Reilly), 5000m (15:29.24, Deborah Maier), DMR (10:56.29, Reilly, Angelica Weaver, Sofia Oberg, Maier) and weight throw (63-3.25, Linda Oseso).