Track: Bears’ Payton 10th in NCAA long jump

Cal junior Malaina Payton finished 10th in the women’s long jump at the NCAA championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.

Payton leaped 20 feet, 7 inches on her second attempt, missing by 3/4 of an inch of advancing to the finals with nine others.

Cal’s 4×100-meter relay team of Julis Travis, Tom Blocker, Chad Jones and Dash Oliver finished seventh in its heat and 22nd overall with a time of 40.68. The Bears were competing in the 4×100 relay at the NCAA meet for the first time since 1977.



Golf: Homa and Kim join Weaver in U.S. Open

Cal will have three players in the June 13-16 U.S. Open at Ardmore, Pa., after Max Homa and Michael Kim earned spots in Monday qualifying. They will join Michael Weaver, who received an exemption for entry into the field following his runnerup finish in the 2012 U.S. Amateur.

“This is a great day for Cal golf,” coach Steve Desimone said. “I don’t know if any school has ever had three players from the same team in the U.S. Open. What a statement. This is such a spectacular achievement.

“It’s a continuation of this great season. I couldn’t be happier for these guys. They’ve worked so hard and earned every bit of this. All I know is we’re going to have another Cal reunion next week at Merion.”

Cal won 11 of 13 tournaments this season to enter last week’s NCAA Championships as the No. 1 seed, then bowed out in the semifinals.

“If we needed something to salve the wounds [from losing in the NCAA semifinals] this does it,” Desimone added.

Kim was the co-medalist at Hawks Ridge Golf Club in Ball Ground, Ga., earning one of three U.S. Open spots in a field of 51.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling to qualify for the U.S. Open,” Kim said. “To be playing in the same tournament with players like Tiger (Woods) and Phil (Mickleson) is just awesome,” Kim said. “I can’t wait to get to the tournament. This is a dream come true.”

Homa prevailed in a three-way playoff for the final two spots and ended in a tie for fourth from a field of 102 playing at Big Canyon Country Club & Newport Beach Country Club in Newport Beach.


Basketball: Haas Pavilion floor gets facelift

Cal has put down a new floor design at Haas Pavilion, featuring the newest “Bear” logo at mid-court.

“We are excited about the new floor at Haas Pavilion,” athletic director Sandy Barbour said. “The design enables us to increase exposure of our new visual identity while still maximizing exposure for the traditional Cal script. All of our visual identity elements are important brand assets and we believe this floor maximizes each of them.”

Here is a time-lapse video of the installation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AyzM-cgwxo&list=UUI9uQ9_YlN7-orPz5qIpzNw&index=1


Basketball: Jason Kidd says he’s retiring from NBA

Click here for my latest story on Kidd’s retirement, plus a photo slide show of his career.

Here is columnist Monte Poole’s take on the timing of Kidd’s farewell.


The greatest player to wear a Cal basketball jersey, Jason Kidd announced Monday he is retiring from the NBA after a 19-year career in which he was a 10-time all-star and one of the greastest point guards in league history.

Kidd, 40, played 19 NBA seasons, finishing No. 2 in league history in assists (12,091) and steals (2,684), and No. 3 in 3-point field goals (1,988) and minutes played (50,0111).  He is the all-time leading rebounder among NBA guards (8,725) and compiled 107 career triple-doubles — behind only Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson.

Kidd said he made the decision over the weekend, simply deciding the time was right.

Asked by ESPN.com to identify the highlights of his career, Kidd said, “The two things that are probably tied for first are winning a championship with the Mavericks and also being able to win a gold medal — two gold medals with Team USA,” Kidd said of what he’s most proud of in his career. “And then underneath that will probably be sharing Rookie of the Year with Grant (Hill).”

Hill, coincidentally, announced his retirement on Saturday.

A graduate of St. Joseph’s HS in Alameda, where was such a popular phenom that the Pilots played some of their games at Cal State Hayward or the Coliseum Arena, Kidd helped elevate Cal to heights it hadn’t enjoyed since Pete Newell coached the team four decades earlier.

As a freshman, Kidd powered the Bears to spectacular NCAA tourmanent wins over LSU and two-time defending champ Duke, earning a cover on Sports Illustrated. After his sophomore season, he declared for the NBA draft and was taken No. 2 overall by the Dallas Mavericks.

At Cal, Kidd averaged 14.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 8.4 assists.

In the NBA, those numbers were 12.6, 6.3 and 8.7.

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Football: DL Keni Kaufusi no longer with Bears

Senior defensive lineman Keni Kaufusi is no longer part of the Cal football team, the school announced Monday. No reason was given for his departure from the roster.

Kaufusi started three games last season, totaling 10 tackles, including 2 1/2 sacks. He also forced two fumbles.

The 6-foot-1, 285-pounder from Salt Lake City would have been a fifth-year senior.



Rugby: Bears win collegiate 7s national title

The Cal rugby team, long the national standard for traditional college rugby, won the 7-man Collegiate Rugby Championship with a 19-14 win over Life University on Sunday in Philadelphia.

Captain Seamus Kelly was named MVP of the tournament after scoring the decisive try.

The Bears went 6-0 in the 20-team, three-day event held at PPL Park.

After two days of pool play, Cal advanced to the championship match with a 33-21 win over UCLA. The Bears beat Arizona 26-12 in the quaterfinals.

Cal has won 26 national titles since 1980 in traditional rugby. The 7s game, quicker and shorter in duration, is the format that will be used in the Olympics beginning in 2016.

This is the Bears’ first championship in four tries at the 7s tournament, having lost in the 2010 final and in the 2011 quarterfinals before winning a bronze medal last year.



Rowing: Cal women’s varsity eight wins NCAA title

The Cal women’s varsity eight boat won the NCAA title on Sunday, leading the Bears to a second-place team finish at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, Ind.

The Bears crossed in 6 minutes, 21.426 seconds to beat runnerup Princeton (6:22.595) and third-place finisher Ohio State (6:23.197).

Overall, Cal scored 124 points to finish just two behind team champion Ohio State.

Cal’s second varsity eight boat placed second and its varsity four team won the “B” final.

MEN’S ROWING: The Cal men earned podium finishes in four of five grand finals at the IRA National Championships at Lake Natoma in Gold River, Calif. Washington dominated the competition, winning all five races.

GOLF: Sophomore Michael Kim became the first Cal men’s golfer to win national player of the year honors when he was named the Jack Nicklaus Award winner as the top player in Division I by the Golf Coaches Association of America.

Kim won four individual tournament titles this season as the Bears captured 11 of their first 13 events before losing in the semifinal round of match play Saturday at the NCAA championships.

Kim was presented with the honor by Nicklaus at an awards ceremony Sunday during the final round of the Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio, just outside of Nicklaus’ hometown of Columbus.

“To be named the winner of the Jack Nicklaus Award is the biggest honor of my career and to be at the award ceremony with Mr. Nicklaus there was truly amazing,” Kim said.





Track: Cal football signee Khalfani Muhammad defends CIF state 100m and 200m sprint titles

Man, is this kid fast.

Khalfani Muhammad, who will play football at Cal next fall, defended his 2012 CIF state meet titles in the 100 and 200 meters on Saturday at Clovis. And he wasn’t really challenged.

A 5-foot-8 senior at Notre Dame HS in Sherman Oaks, Muhammad equaled his personal best with a wind-legal 10.33-second clocking to win the 100. He came back to capture the 200 20.86, also a legal time.

Muhammad ranks third and fourth nationally among HS sprinters in the 100 and 200, respectively.

Earlier, he helped his team with a No. 9 seed and difficult outside lane position to a third-place finish in the 4×100 relay with a time of 41.01.


Track: Ex-Cal star Montano 4th at Pre Classic, welcomes new star to spotlight

Former Cal star and 2012 Olympic finalist Alysia Montano finished fourth in the 800 meters at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., then helped young star Mary Cain celebrate a special performance.

Montano ran 1 minute, 59.43 seconds in her outdoor season debut. Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba won the race in a meet record and world season best time of 1:56.72.

Cain, a 17-year-old junior at Bronxville (N.Y.) High, finished fifth in 1:59.51 to set American junior and national high school records. Last month, Cain ran 4:04.62 to break the national high school record in the 1,500 by nearly 10 seconds.

After Saturday’s race, Montano embraced Cain, removed her trademark flower from her hair and pinned it on Cain.

On Friday night, former Cal star David Torrence ran sixth in an international mile field at Eugene, clocking 3:57.43.

Golf: No. 1 Bears stunned in NCAA semifinals

Top-seeded Cal’s dreams of a national championship were derailed in semifinals of NCAA tournament match play on Saturday, as 15th-seeded Illinois posted a 3-2 upset victory over the Bears.

Cal had hoped to complete a spectacular season in which it had won 11 of 13 previous tournaments, including both the Pac-12 and NCAA regional events. Instead, the Bears bowed out in the semifinals for the second straight season.

The Illini will meet No. 2-seeded Alabama in the final Sunday morning.

Illinois’ Thomas Pieters clinched a 1-up victory on the 20th hole with a par. Cal’s Max Homa, the tournament medalist, made bogey when his 8-foot par putt missed to the left of the hole.

Michael Weaver got a win for Cal with a 1 up verdict over Thomas Detry. Brandon Hagy also prevailed, beating Alex Burge 4 and 3.

The Illini’s other wins came courtesy of Brian Campbell, who scored a 2 and 1 win over Michael Kim, and Charlie Danielson, who beat Joel Stalter 3 and 2.

Alabama defeated host Georgia Tech 3-0-2 in the other semifinal. Alabama will make its second consecutive trip to the final match; the Crimson Tide lost to Texas in the championship last year.