Track and field: Cal’s Deborah Maier honored

Cal’s Deborah Maier, the NCAA runnerup in indoor 3,000 and 5,000 meters, was named the 2012 National Scholar-Athlete of the Year for indoor track and field by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

Maier, a political science major, sports a 3.82 grade-point average. She also placed 11th at the NCAA cross country championships as a junior last fall, the best showing by a Cal runner in 24 years.


Olympics: Alex Morgan scores twice, USA women’s soccer team rallies past France 4-2 in opener

Former Cal star Alex Morgan scored twice and the USA women’s soccer team overcame a 2-0 hole after just 14 minutes to beat France 4-2 in the Olympic opener.

Morgan scored the game-tying goal, then added the final score for the American squad.

Playing in her first Olympics, Morgan now has 19 goals in 16 international games for the USA squad.

Abby Wambach and Carli Lloyd also scored for the USA, which plays Colombia on Saturday.


Football: Media Day Q&A — Josh Hill

Cal senior safety Josh Hill returns off a unit that led the Pac-12 in pass defense and total defense a year ago:

Q. There are concerns that Cal’s defense, having lost so many players who were drafted into the NFL, won’t measure up this season. How do you respond to that and how good can your defense be?

A. We don’t have any concerns. We feel like even we lost a lot of key guys, we feel like we’re going to be better than last year. We have a young team, we have a very experienced team as well. I know the D-line is going to be a lot better. And the secondary. We’re going to surprise a lot of people.

Q. You have played cornerback and safety during your college career and now you are a starter at safety. What do you bring to the field that fans may not have recognized to this point?

A. A lot of leadership. I played the corner, I played the safety, but I wasn’t really considered the leader. Now I am. So now a lot of eyes will be on me. We’ll will have a different kind of swagger on defense. I’ll try to bring that. I like that role because now everything’s on me. If we succeed it’s on me. If we fail it’s also on me. It’s a big role and I’m ready for the challenge.

Q. On Sept. 1, your team will have the distinction of christening the renovated Memorial Stadium. Envision for me the pre-game atmosphere in the locker room and what kind of performance effort that emotion will translate to on the field. Does Nevada have a chance?

A. The atmosphere is going to be crazy. We’re going to have so much energy, we just can’t wait. The chemistry between us is going to be great. Just the new stadium, the whole atmoshere is going to be something I’ve never felt before. We’re going to be the first team in history to be in that stadium. We just plan on making a statement early. You don’t want to be anybody that day. We plan to keep that going the whole season.


Football: Media Day Q&A — Keenan Allen

Cal junior wide receiver Keenan Allen, caught 98 passes in 2011, is expected to be healthy after undergoing surgery on his right ankle in March following a pickup basketball injury:

Q. Have you dunked a basketball lately?

A. Oh no, no basketball for me. It’s strictly football. I can go out there and play H-O-R-S-E. I feel pretty good. If I had a game Saturday, I could play. I don’t know how long it would hold up because it doesn’t have all its full capacity and flexibility yet. I’ve still got a long time (before the opener).”

Q. The Pac-12 may have the best wideouts in the country, including Robert Woods and Marqise Lee at USC and Marquess Wilson at Washington State. Tell me why you are better than any of them and how you’re better than you were a year ago:

A. I feel like I bring a lot of things to the table, being able to catch the ball, being able to run after the catch, go deep, run a screen. Being able to make a quarterback play, throw the ball if the team needs me to. I have a lot of versatility on the field. Those guys, you’re used to seeing them at wide receiver or punt return. I like to go out there and be versatile.

Q. There has been a buzz since last spring that the eligibility of your half-brother, senior quarterback Zach Maynard, is in jeopardy because of academics. How is he coping with that talk and who do you expect to be under center on Sept. 1 when you guys open the new Memorial Stadium against Nevada?

A. I definitely expect Zach to be under center on Sept. 1. Being with Zach my whole life, I know he’s good under pressure. He’s always struggled, always been in hard times, he’s always under pressure. I have the utmost confidence in him. I know he’s going to come out there and do great things. He’s going to take care of the academic stuff and he’s going to be ready to play football. He’s actually doing pretty good. He’s taking care of his academics. I have no doubts.

Q. After two home games, you guys are on the road for a pair of high-profile road games  — at Ohio State and at USC on back-to-back weekends. Tell me what kind of performance will you expect from yourself on those Saturdays and how important those games will be to Cal’s season?

A. I take the motto that big-time players show up in big-time games. I’m going to come out there and give it my 100 percent for four quarter. They  definitely excite me, but I think all games excite me. Every time I go out there I feel like it’s my turn to shine. I’ve got to impress somebody so I just go out there with that mindset. As far as the team, playing Ohio State and USC back-to-back, that’s going to show our character. It’s definitely going to develop a path for this season.



Football: Bears picked 4th in Pac-12 North

USC was a clear choice Tuesday morning to win the Pac-12 football championship in a poll of 123 media members who cover the conference.

The Trojans received 117 first-place ballots to easily outdistance Utah for the South division crown. Oregon also collected 117 first-place votes to top the North division.

USC received 102 votes to win the Pac-12 title game, with Oregon earning 18 votes and Arizona State, in a surprise, drawing three votes.

Stanford was placed first on five ballots and wound up second in the Pac-12 North, ahead of Washington. Cal got one first-place vote and finished fourth in the Pac-12 North.

   Results of the annual media poll, with first-place votes in parenthesis and total points:

North Division
1. Oregon (117)      732
2. Stanford (5)      533
3. Washington        502
4. Cal (1)           382
5. Washington State  228
6. Oregon State      205

South Division
1. USC (117)         729
2. Utah (1)          514
3. UCLA (2)          435
4. Arizona           385
5. Arizona State (3) 353
6. Colorado          164

Pac-12 championship game winner: USC 102, Oregon 18, Arizona State 3.


Football: Your source for Pac-12 media day

The Pac-12 football season takes its first step Tuesday with media day. BANG colleague Jon Wilner and I will be there, reporting on everything that takes place.

Cal will be represented by coach Jeff Tedford, wide receiver Keenan Allen and safety Josh Hill.

We will be at work first thing Tuesday morning, posting news at here on BearTalk but also on our websites, including www.insidebayarea.com/sports and www.mercurynews.com/sports.

We also are planning a live chat in the mid-afternoon. Check back for details.




Football: NCAA delivers substantial penalties to Penn State in wake of Sandusky scandal

As expected, the NCAA today handed Penn State harsh penalties in response to the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case.

Here is a summary:

— A four-year bowl ban

— $60 million in fines, spread over five years, to endow programs designed to prevent child abuse and assist victims.

— All of Penn State’s football victories since 1998 will be vacated, reducing late coach Joe Paterno’s career victory total from an all-time record 409 to 298. Paterno’s record now stands at 298-136-3.

— Penn State will lose 10 scholarships this year and 20 per season for four years. Within two years, the Nittany Lions’ scholarship limit will be capped at 65 — 20 below the norm.

— Current players will be allowed to transfer to another school without having to sit out a season.



Olympics: Max Zhang on China roster

With a nod to a Tweet from Cal A.D. Sandy Barbour, news that Max Zhang is on China’s Olympic basketball roster.

You’ll see him listed below under his formal name, Zhaoxu Zhang, but it’s Max, one of the more popular Cal players in recent years.

This is the happy ending for Zhang following his sudden departure from Berkeley on the eve of the 2010-11 season. The 7-foot-2 center was signed to a pro contract in China at the time after playing on a second-level national team in his homeland — and the undercurrent was the decision was not his alone.

China opens Olympic play a week from Sunday against powerhouse Spain.

China Men’s Basketball Olympics Roster

  • Ailun Guo – SF
  • Fangyu Zhu – SF
  • Jianghua Chen – PG
  • Jianlian Yi – PF
  • Jinhui Ding – PF
  • Li Yi – SF
  • Peng Zhou – PF
  • Shipeng Wang – SG
  • Xiaoxu Li – PF
  • Wei Liu – PG
  • Yue Sun – SF
  • Zhizhi Wang – C
  • Zhaoxu Zhang – C

China coach Bob DONEWALD Jr.

Source: fiba


Olympics: In ’48, a remarkable Cal man won the pole vault at the London Olympics

He had completed his education at Cal six years earlier, was married, had a child and had flown cargo missions from India into China over the “Hump” of the Himalayas during World War II.

But Guinn Smith still had the skill and toughness necessary to win an Olympic gold medal in the pole vault in a rain storm at the 1948 London Games.

Here’s his story.