Track: Montano runs season-best in Paris

Ex-Cal star and 2012 Olympian Alysia Montano ran a season-best time of 1 minute, 57.75 seconds to finish third at an IAAF Diamond League meet in Paris on Saturday.

Her time is the fastest by an American this season, moves her to No. 3 on the 2013 world list and marks the fourth straight season Montano has run a sub-1:58 time.

World leader Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi won in a time of 1:57.26.


Track: Ex-Cal star Torrence runs swift 1,500m

Former Cal track star David Torrence ran the fastest 1,500-meter time by an American this year at a meet in Tomblaine, France.

Torrence clocked 3 minutes, 34.19 seconds to finish third in the race at the Stanislas de Nancy meet. The time converts to 3:51.3 for the mile — the same time Jim Ryun ran at Berkeley’s Edwards Stadium in 1966 to set the world record.

Torrence, 27, now sits alone at No. 20 on the all-time U.S. list for the 1,500.

In 2007, he broke Cal’s 50-year-old school record in the mile, running 3:58.62 to eclipse the mark of 3:58.7 set by Don Bowden in 1957 — a time that made him the first American to break the 4-minute barrier.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


Football: Cal signee Muhammad blazes in SoCal

Cal football signee Khalfani Muhammad had another spectacular day on the track for Notre Dame HS of Sherman Oaks.

The senior two-sport star won both sprint events at the CIF Southern Section Masters meet at Cerritos College on Friday night in times that were spectacular, albeit wind-aided.

Muhammad, who will play running back for the Bears next fall, repeated as 100-meter champion, running 10.22 seconds, backed by a wind of 2.1 meters per second — barely over the allowable limit of 2.0. His time, while not eligible for record purposes, was faster than the Southern Section mark of 10.25 set by Hawthorne’s Henry Thomas in 1984.

It’s also faster than any wind-legal time run by a prep sprinter in the country this season, according to the website Dyestat.com.  Only five sprinters nationwide have run faster this season under any conditions.

In the 200, Muhammad ran a wind-legal 20.73 to break his own school record. It was the third-fastest legal time in the country this season by a high school runner and the fastest mark by a San Fernando Valley spring since 1987, when future Olympian Quincy Watts ran 20.50.

How fast are his times?

Consider that Muhammad’s 10.22 — if wind-legal — would rank No. 2 on Cal’s all-time career list for the 100. His 20.73 mark in the 200 would sit at No. 3 all-time.  

Muhammad will be the favorite in both events next weekend at the CIF State Meet in Clovis, where he will attempt to defend his titles in the two sprint races.

“I like being the favorite because there’s more pressure and that brings out the best in me,” Muhammad told the Los Angeles Times.

It  will be interesting to see how Sonny Dykes and offensive coordinator Tony Franklin can utilize the speed that Muhammad and Brendan Bigelow bring to the field.

And whether Dykes will let Muhammad find his way to Edwards Stadium to run track for the Bears.