Track: Ex-Bear Montano 3rd at Monaco meet

Alysia Montano, in her final tuneup before the London Olympics, ran third today in the 800 meters at the Herculis Diamond League meet in Monaco.

The former Cal star ran 1:59.05, well off her season and personal bests.

Russian Yelena Kofanova won the race in 1:58.41 and Burundi’s Franchine Niyonsaba was second with a national record of 1:58.68. South Africa’s Caster Semenya, projected as an Olympic silver medalist by Track and Field News, placed ninth in 2:01.67.


Football: OLB prospect from Richmond commits


Kennedy HS-Richmond’s Takkarist McKinley, a defensive end who projects as an outside linebacker, has committed to Cal. He will be a high school senior this fall and would arrive at Berkeley in 2013.

McKinley said he called coach Jeff Tedford with the news Friday morning. “He was real excited,” McKinley said. “It’s good (to make the decision early). Now I know what they want, what they expect of me.”

“They’ve got something there,” Kennedy track coach and co-athletic director Carl Sumler said of Cal securing the oral commitment from McKinley.

“He’s what I call an ideal athlete,” Sumler said. “He works perfectly and asks a lot of questions. He never misses practice. Never.”

Sumler said he can easily envision McKinley playing outside linebacker, defensive end or even tight end at Cal. “He has great hands,” the coach said.

At 6-foot-2, 235 pounds, Kinley reached the CIF state track meet in both the 100 and 200 meters, running 10.58 seconds in the 100 prelims. He finished seventh in the 100 final, and said his goal is to win both events at the state meet next spring.

At Cal, McKinley hopes to do both sports. He said Tedford has given him the green light to run track if he chooses.

McKinley said he weighs 245 pounds now, but doesn’t believe his speed is affected. “I think I’ve still got it,” he said.


Football: Another preseason honor for Allen

The preseason honors continue to roll in for Cal junior wideout Keenan Allen, who has been named to the watch list for the Walter Camp Foundation Player of the Year award.

Allen also has been named to the preseason lists for the Biletnikoff and Maxwell awards. The Walter Camp award is the nation’s fourth-oldest college football trophy.

Fifty players have been named to the Walter Camp preseason list, including USC quarterback Matt Barkley, USC defensive back T.J. McDonald, Stanford linebacker Chase Thomas, Utah running back John White and USC wide receiver Robert Woods of the Pac-12 Conference.


Basketball: Gutierrez shows a little more

After two quiet performances and a DNP in the Denver Nuggets’ first three NBA summer league games at Las Vegas, former Cal star Jorge Gutierrez made at least a little noise Thursday.

The reigning Pac-12 Player of the Year played 18 minutes off the bench in Denver’s 99-86 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats. He had three points, three rebounds, three assists and a steal to go with three turnovers.

Not a show-stopping performance, but a little progress, anyway.


Football: Sofele finds spot on Doak Walker list

Senior Isi Sofele was named as a candidate for the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the nation’s top college running back.

Sofele rushed for 1,322 yards last season — the ninth time in the past 10 seasons Cal has had a 1,000-yard back.

Fifty-two players are on the Walker Award’s preseason list, including eight Pac-12 Conference backs. Stanford’s Stepfan Taylor, Oregon’s Kenjon Barner and Utah’s John White are among those. 

Headliners on the list include Wisconsin’s Montee Ball, South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore and Knile Davis of Arkansas.


Olympics: Ex-Cal star Alysia Montano to run Friday at Monaco in final London tuneup

Former Cal track and field star Alysia (Johnson) Montano will run her final race before the London Olympics on Friday in an IAAF Diamond League meet at Monaco. The U.S. trials winner sits No. 2 on the 2012 world list with a lifetime best of 1 minute, 57.37 seconds.

Montano left on a flight to Europe on Tuesday evening and is healthy and in excellent race condition, reports Tony Sandoval, her coach at Cal and now.

The 800-meter field at Monaco is loaded: Six runners with lifetime bests faster than 1:58. Leading the way is South Africa’s Caster Semenya (1:55.45) and a pair of Russians, Yelena Kofanova and Irina Maracheva.

Here’s a cool promo video featuring Montano.

Opening ceremonies for the London Games are nine days away. The Olympic track and field program begins Aug. 3.


Football: Allen on Biletnikoff Award watch list

Cal junior Keenan Allen was named to the watch list for  Biletnikoff Award, recognizing the nation’s top wide receiver. Allen caught 98 passes for 1,343 yards and six touchdowns last season.

Named in honor of former Oakland Raiders great Fred Biletnikoff, the award’s early list also includes USC’s Robert Woods, Washington State’s Marquess Wilson, Oregon State’s Markus Wheaton and Arizona’s Dan Buckner. Also on the list is Noel Grigsby of San Jose State.


Football: Lynch arrested on suspicion of DUI

A bad weekend for former Cal sports stars.

Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch joined New York Knicks point guard Jason Kidd in the headlines for alcohol-related missteps after being arrested for suspicion of DUI in his hometown of Oakland.

Kidd was involved in a single-car accident in New York and, according to a story in the New York Post, told police he had no idea how he crashed his car into a power pole.