Track: Montano wins 4th straight USA crown

Former Cal star Alysia Montano became the first woman to win four straight 800-meter titles at the USA national track and field championships on Sunday at Des Moines, Iowa.

Fifth at the London Olympics last summer, Montano wants more at the IAAF World Championships at Moscow in August.

“I’ve been hoping for No. 1 for a really long time,” she said. “It’s about being patient. It will come. You’ve gotta remember it’s about the climb.”

Montano blasted to a huge lead by running 56.8 seconds for the first lap and held off a late push from Brenda Martinez to win in a season-best time of 1:58.67.

“I can’t see what’s happening behind me, I don’t have eyes in the back of my head, but I knew it was going to be a race and I was excited for it,” Montano said after winning her fifth national title.

Cal’s Ray Stewart bowed out in the semifinal round of the 110 hurdles, finishing seventh in his heat in a wind-aided time of 13.56.


Football: Bears get commit from 3-star safety

Cal got its seventh commitment for the Class of 2014 when safety Quentin Tartabull of Bishop Alemany High in Mission Hills chose the Golden Bears, according to multiple recruiting websites.
Rated as a three-star prospect by both Scout.com and Rivals.com, Tartabull is the son of former Major League All-Star outfielder Danny Tarabull. His father played part of the 1995 season with the Oakland A’s and his grandfather, Jose Tartabull, played the final two seasons of his career — 1969 & ’70 — with Oakland.

Track: Khalfani Muhammad 2nd in 200m at Jr nationals

Cal football recruit Khalfani Muhammad finished second on Friday in the 200-meter final at the USA Junior National Track and Field Championships at Des Moines, Iowa.

Muhammad, who was fifth in the 100 the day before, ran a wind-aided time of 20.97 seconds, finishing behind UC Riverside sophomore-to-be Just’N Tymes (tremendous name, huh?), who crossed in 20.61.

Muhammad ran 21.14 in the morning semifinals into a strong headwind before officials changed the direction sprinters would run in the final. Thus, his final time was aided by a 4.0 meters-per-second trailing wind.

The two-state California high school state meet champ in the 100 and 200, Muhammad will play running back for the Bears next fall.


Golf: Steve Desmione named natl coach of year

Cal coach Steve Desimone was named the winner of the Dave Williams Award as the national men’s golf coach of the year Friday by the Golf Coaches Association of America.  Eaton Golf Pride will present the award December 9 during the Hall of Fame Banquet at the GCAA Convention.

Desimone was also named the Eaton Golf Pride West Region Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.

Desimone won the national award after his team set a modern-era NCAA record with 12 victories in 14 stroke-play events and finished the season ranked as the No. 1 team nationally in the final Golfstat and Golfweek polls released after the NCAA Championship despite being defeated by Illinois in the match-play semifinals of the NCAA’s.

“I’m honored and humbled to win such a wonderful award,” Desimone said. “This goes directly back to the players for all of their hard work and being such an incredible part of the team. Many people are involved when somebody wins a coach of the year award.

“Our players, associate head coach Walter Chun and the Cal Golf Committee are all a huge part of this award. This is not just an award for me but an award for every one of us involved with our program. This is about as special as it can get, and in many respects, it’s the culmination of the greatest season in the history of college golf.”


Track: Khalfani Muhammad 5th at Jr. nationals

Incoming football freshman Khalfani Muhammad, the two-time 100- and 200-meter California high school state meet champ, finished fifth in the 100 Thursday at the USA Junior Nationals at Des Moines, Iowa.

Muhammad, who will play running back for the Bears in the fall, ran 10.87 seconds into a fierce wind of 4.8 meters per second, which translated to nearly 11 mph.

Meanwhile, ex-Cal star and Olympic finalist Alysia Montano ran the fastest prelim time in the women’s 800 at the senior meet at the same facility. Montano, gunning for her fourth straight national title, crossed in 2:01.96. She runs the semifinals on Friday.

Another Cal grad, David Torrence, grabbed the final non-automatic qualifying spot for the final of the men’s 1,500 meters — by a margin of 0.003 seconds. Torrence ran sixth in his heat, ninth overall, with a time of 3:41.70. The 1,500 final is Saturday.


Football: Rebenzer, Enwere excited about future

Don’t expect class of 2014 recruits Luke Rebenzer or Vic Enwere to arrive at Berkeley ahead of schedule as did 2013 newcomer Jared Goff, who graduated from high school mid-year in order to enroll at Cal and attend spring workouts.

“It’s not in the cards for me,” said Enwere (pronounced en-WHERE-ee), a running back from Sugar Land, Texas, a Houston suburb. “I have things I want to do at home … I want to graduate with my class from high school.”

Likewise, Rebenzer, a quarterback from Scottsdale, Ariz., said he’s thought about it, but added, “At this point, it’s kind of too late to do anything about it.”

Rebenzer, who gave Cal an oral commitment last week, said offensive coordinator Tony Franklin floated the idea of red-shirting as a freshman or perhaps gray-shirting, meaning Rebenzer would not arrive on campus until the start of the spring semester (January 2015), delaying the start of his eligibility clock.

All that is down the road.

One thing seemed clear in my phone conversations with the two on Wednesday — each is as committed as a 17-year-old who has not signed a binding letter of intent can be.

Rebenzer had planned to take summer trips to check out the Air Force Academy and a couple Ivy League schools. “Now that I committed,” he said, “I’m just laying back the rest of the summer, just chilling.

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Track and field: Ex-Cal star Montano set for USAs

Former Cal star Alysia Montano begins her quest for a fourth straight USA outdoor title in the 800-meter run on Thursday at the national championships in Des Moines, Iowa.

Montano, a fifth-place finisher at the London Olympics last summer, has run just once outdoors this season, clocking 1:59.43 at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore.

She was beaten there by largely unheralded American Brenda Martinez, a 25-year-old UC Riverside grad, whose personal-best mark of 1:58.18 at Pre is the fastest by an American this season. Martinez will run in Heat 3 of the first round on Thursday.

Montano, set to run in Heat 4, has broken 1:58 each of the past three seasons. She has won a total of four USA outdoor titles: 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Semifinals are set for Friday with the finals on Sunday. The top three finishers qualify to represent the U.S. at the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Aug. 10-18.


Football: Check back tonight for my interviews with Cal commits Rebenzer, Enwere

I spoke this morning with Cal commits QB Luke Rebenzer and RB Vic Enwere (pronounced en-WHERE-ee) and will post their comments, along with those from their coaches, later today.

I can tell you this: Enwere made it clear he was recruited by the the Bears to play running back and intends to do that. Said he’s not sure about the origins of the internet chatter about him switching positions in college, but said it ain’t so.

Check back later for more.


Football: Bears add sixth 2014 prospect

Looks like it was a productive recruiting week for the Bears while I was off on vacation.

(And to all of you, including the omni-present Juancho, thanks for keeping the conversation going here while I was absent).

First, as most of you no doubt know by now, quarterback Luke Rebenzer of Saguaro HS in Scottsdale, Ariz., committed last week. Then, on Monday, running back Vic Enwere of Fort Bend Austin HS in Sugar Land, Texas, became the sixth player to join Cal’s class of 2014.

Rebenzer is just 6-foot, 186 pounds, but is accurate and mobile. His size may not matter as much in the Bears’ new offense, but coach Sonny Dykes and offensive coordinator Tony Franklin apparently were sold on his skillset.

As a junior, Rebenzer completed 68.7 percent of his passes for 2,834 yards with 36 touchdowns and just six interceptions. He also rushed for 1,184 yards and 10 touchdowns. Add it up and he contributed 4,018 yards of passing and running, an average of 334.8 yards per game, and 11.5 yards per play.

The kid is a first down machine.

The Sabercats were 8-4, averaging 46.6 points per game, including at least 55 in five games.

Rebenzer also reportedly is smart, as evidenced by the fact that he was offered by Columbia and all three military service academies.

Enwere is the second running back to commit to Cal, which no doubt still has its sights set on 5-star prospect Joe Mixon of Freedom-Oakley. Enwere, a 3-star prospect, is rated as the nation’s No. 53 running back by Rivals.com, No. 54 by ESPN and No. 77 by Scout.com. Everyone has an opinion.

He reportedly rushed for more than 1,600 yards and 16 touchdowns last season and was district MVP.

Enwere comes from a different high school but the same Texas town as legendary prep star Ken Hall, known as the “Sugar Land Express.” From 1950-53, Hall rushed for 11,232 yards, including more than 4,000 as a senior.

At 6-1, 213 pounds, Enwere picked the Bears over the likes of Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Colorado and Utah.