Women’s sports: Missy Franklin hasn’t set post-Cal training plans leading to Rio Olympic Games

A couple stories from this morning’s edition you may want to check out:

* Cal sophomore and Olympic swim star Missy Franklin says she hasn’t decided whether she will continue training in Berkeley for the 2016 Rio Olympics after she completes her collegiate career this spring.

* The Bears’ field hockey team stages a small protest that the temporary practice field it was promised by the Cal administration still is not ready with spring workouts under way.


Swimming: Cal-bound Franklin wins Sullivan

Cal-bound swimmer Missy Franklin, who won four gold medals at the London Olympics last summer, took home the James E. Sullivan Award as the nation’s top amateur athlete on Tuesday night.

Still a month shy of her 18th birthday, Franklin is a senior at Regis Jesuit HS in Denver.

“This award means a lot to me because of how much I’ve given up to be amateur,” Franklin said at the awards ceremony hosted by the Amateur Athletic Union in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. “I absolutely love being an amateur athlete, and to be a part of something so special that honors that is amazing.”

Franklin, the most decorated athlete at the London Games, joins past Sullivan winners including Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz, Peyton Manning, Tim Tebow, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Frank Shorter and Shawn Johnson.

She is the 11th swimmer to win in the 83-year history of the award, the first since Phelps in 2003.

“I’m looking at awards won before me, and there’s Tracy Caulkins and Bruce Jenner and Peyton Manning. It’s incredible,” Franklin said. “All these athletes have won the award. It’s such an honor. I can’t believe my picture’s going up next to theirs.”




Water polo: Olympian Petri to be honored

Heather Petri/Photo courtesy Cal athletics

We don’t devote much attention to water polo in this space, but here’s a special event that may hold interest for Cal fans — especially those coming to Haas Pavilion for Saturday’s 2 p.m. game against Colorado.

Just before 1 p.m., next door at Spieker Aquatics Complex, Cal women’s water polo will retire the cap of former Bears star and four-time Olympian Heather Petri. Fifth-ranked Cal will take on top-ranked USC after ceremonies honoring Petri.

A 34-year-old graduate of Miramonte HS in Orinda, Petri was a two-time All-America player at Cal and earned four Olympic medals as a member of U.S. teams, including a gold in London last summer.

She recently returned from a trip to Afghanistan, where she and other Olympians (including former Cal rower Erin Cafaro) visited U.S. troops.


Track and field: Cal Olympian to run Millrose

Cal grad and London Olympic finalist Alysia Montano will run the 600 meters at the 106th Millrose Games indoor track and field meet Feb. 16 at the Armory in New York City.

Montano, who ran as Alysia Johnson while at Cal, is an 800-meter specialist. She ran the fastest time in the world in 2010 and last season was ranked No. 7 in the world, No. 1 in the USA, according to Track and Field News after a fifth-place finish at the London Olympics.

The 600 is an event held primarily indoors and meet director Ray Flynn believes Montano and the field could threaten Delisa Walton-Floyd’s 32-year-old American record of 1:26.56.

Others expected to join Montano in the race include former U.S. indoor champion Phoebe Wright, world indoor bronze medalist Erica Moore and world junior champion and former Neptune High School (N.J.) sensation Ajee Wilson.

“I have been looking forward to racing at Millrose for some time now, but could never fit it in the training schedule,” said Montano, a four-time national champion (2007, 2010-2012) in the 800 meters and bronze medalist in 2010 world indoor championships.

“This year is the perfect opportunity. The 600-meter run at Millrose is a wonderful opportunity to run fast, have fun and gauge my potential 800-meter time at this point in the season.”


Swimming: Cal gets commit from Olympic star

Turns out Saturday wasn’t a total loss for Cal.

Olympic swim star Missy Franklin, who won five medals at the London Games, has committed to attend Cal next fall.

The U.S. women’s team was coached by Cal coach Teri McKeever, and the connection obviously paid off for the Bears.

Here’s the story, including details of Cal’s water polo win over Stanford in the Big Splash.


Olympics: Alysia Montano earns spot in 800m final

Ex-Cal star Alysia Montano grabbed the final qualifying spot for the Olympic 800-meter final on Saturday, running 1:58.42 in her semifinal heat today.

Montano ran in the fastest of the three semifinals, so her fourth-place finish got her a spot in the final based on time.

“My coach talked to me about relaxing, and I think I relaxed too much,” Montano said. “When they made a move on the backstretch it took me a second to respond, and when I did it wasn’t the energy to respond it was the fact that I was boxed and had to jump out.

“That energy was a total error and I had to make it up in the last 200 meters. I’m really thankful I get an opportunity to redeem myself.”

Saturday will be plenty competitive.

Defending Olympic champ Pamela Jelimo of Kenya won a slow first heat in 1:59.42 and Ekaterina Poistogova of Russia securing the second automatic qualifier at 1:59.45.

South African Caster Semenya won the second heat in a season-best of 1:57.67, with Russia’s Elena Arzhakova (1:58.13), Kenya’s Janeth Jepkosgei (1:58.26) and Montano going 2-3-4.

Russia’s Mariya Savinova, the defending IAAF world champion, stormed from behind to win the third heat in 1:58.58, with Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba second in a national-record time of 1:58.67.

The U.S. has produced just two medal winners ever in the women’s 800 — Madeline Manning with a gold in 1968 and Kim Gallagher with a silver in 1984 and a bronze in ’88.


Olympics: Ex-Cal star Alysia Montano wins first-round 800m heat; she goes in semifinals Thursday

Cal grad Alysia (Johnson) Montano went out fast — as she usually does — and held on to win her first-round heat in the 800 meters at the London Olympics.

Montano will run in the semifinal round Thursday, where her heat includes eight runners who have broken 2 minutes and two — Janeth Jepkosgei of  Kenya and Caster Semenya of South Africa — who boast faster personal bests than Montano. On the other hand, Montano beat Semenya in Wednesday’s opening round.

Her race goes off at 11:30 a.m. PDT.


Olympics: Alex Morgan’s big moment

On the famous pitch known as Old Trafford, home of legendary Manchester United, former Cal soccer star Alex Morgan added a huge chapter to her own budding legend on Monday.

Morgan’s header in the 123rd minute lifted the U.S. women to a wild 4-3 victory over Canada in the semifinals of the Olympic tournament. The Americans will play Thurssday in the gold-medal game against Japan — which beat them for the 2011 World Cup last.