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.


Track: Bears’ Stewart earns NCAA bid

Senior Ray Stewart breezed to qualification for the NCAA track and field championships, winning his heat and posting the day’s fourth-fastest time at the NCAA West Preliminary meet at Austin, Texas.

Stewart, from James Logan HS and Merritt College, ran 13.65 seconds for the second-fastest wind-legal time of the day.

Senior Amanda Hunter qualified in the women’s triple jump with a wind-aided mark of 42 feet, 8 inches for 10th place. The top 12 qualified for the NCAA championships, June 5-8.  Earlier, Hunter also qualified in the long  jump.

Cal’s 4×100 men’s relay team of Julius Travis, Tom Blocker, Dash Oliver and Stewart ran fourth in 40.58, but moved up to third and a qualifying bid when Texas A&M was disqualified.



Track: Stewart hurdles toward NCAA meet

Cal senior Ray Stewart ran 13.81 in his first-round heat of the 110-meter high hurdles on Friday, advancing to Saturday’s second round at the NCAA West Preliminary meet.

Stewart, from James Logan HS and Merritt College, had the fourth-fastest time of the day. He must finish among the top 12 on Saturday to advance to the June 5-8 NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore.

Due to bad weather, Friday’s meet at Austin, Texas, was running about three hours behind schedule.


Track: Two Bears move through NCAA regionals

Cal long jumpers Hammed Suleman and Malaina Payton advanced to the NCAA track and field championships during the West Preliminary meet Thursday at Austin, Texas.

Suleman leaped 25 feet, 1 1/4 inches on his second attempt to qualify for the NCAA meet, June 5-8 at Eugene, Ore.  He won the Pac-12 meet two weeks ago with a personal-best jump of 25-11 1/2.

On Friday, Suleman will try to qualify in the triple jump, where he is seeded No. 1 in the West meet.

Payton jumped 20-11 3/4 on her third attempt, passed on her remaining tries and also qualified for the NCAA championships.

The West Preliminary meet runs through Saturday. 



Football: Cal signee Khalfani Muhammad blazes to four CIF Southern Section sprint titles

Khalfani Muhammad, who will be a freshman running back for the Bears next fall, showed off the speed he will bring to Berkeley by winning four events Saturday at the CIF Southern Section championships.

Muhammad, who competes for Notre Dame HS in Sherman Oaks in Division 3, won the 100- and 200-meter dashes and anchored winning teams in the 4×100 and 4×400 relays.

Muhammad logged a wind-aided 100-meter time of 10.33 seconds. Although not eligible for record purposes, because of the 3.1-meters-per-second wind reading, the time was the fastest Muhammad has run under any circumstances.

It’s also faster than any California sprinter has clocked this season, according to the website www.dyestat.com.

Later, Muhammad won the 200 meters with a wind-legal time of 20.84, crossing six-tenths of a second ahead of the runnerup. That time is the third-fastest in the country this year.

Muhammad also anchored his team to victory in the 400 relay with a time of 41.27, and 1,600 relay to first place in 3:18.92.




Track and field: Stewart wins Pac-12 hurdles title

Senior Ray Stewart, sidelined all last season by a knee injury, won the 110-meter hurdles at the Pac-12 Track and Field Championships on Sunday at USC.

Stewart, a James Logan HS product, won the title in 2011, then missed the 2012 campaign. He ran a lifetime-best mark of 13.43 seconds on Sunday, to beat defending champ Johnathan Carbral of Oregon.

Stewart remains No. 2 on Cal’s career list, behind only Larry Cowling’s 1982 mark of 13.39. By becoming the first Cal hurdler to win the event twice at the Pac-10 meet, Stewart also moved to No. 10 on the all-time confererence list.

Meanwhile, Hammed Suleman finished second in the triple jump with a wind-aided mark of 50 feet, 6 inches, barely missing a sweep of the long jump/triple jump events.

Charnell Price was third in the 100 meters (11.60), fifth in the 200 (23.55) and helped the Cal women to a fourth-place finish in the 4×100 relay (45.24).




Track and field: Suleman wins Pac-12 long jump

Junior Hammed Suleman leaped 25 feet, 11 1/2 inches on his third attempt to win the long jump at the Pac-12 Conference championships in Los Angeles. He is the first Cal athlete in 17 years to win the event at the league meet.

Suleman, runnerup in the event the past two seasons, moved to No. 4 on Cal’s all-time list in the event. The school record is 26-6 1/4, set by Curtis Rogers in 1985.

Suleman will try to win the triple jump on Sunday. He enters the competition ranked No. 2 among all collegians at 53-4 1/2.

Collin Jarvis, defending champion in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finished second in a personal-best time of 8:47.82.

Cal’s top finisher in the women’s meet was Malaina Payton, who was third in the long jump at 20-9 1/4.

The day’s highlight was delivered by 2012 Olympian Brigetta Barrett, a senior at Arizona, who was the high jump with an NCAA-rec0rd clearance of 6-6 1/4. She broke the 18-year-old record of 6-6, set by former UCLA star Amy Acuff.


Track and field: Bears split in Big Meet

The Cal men’s track and field team beat Stanford 85-78 in the 119th Big Meet. Tom Blocker won the 100 and 200 meters and ran on the victorious 400 relay team as the Bears won for the first time since 2006.

Hammed Suleman swept the long and triple jumps for Cal, which leads  the all-time series 67-50-2.

Stanford won the women’s meet for the third straight season, posting a 102-61 victory. Charnell Price won the 100 and 200 for the Bears. Stanford’s women own a 23-11 series edge.

— RUGBY: Cal blasted Notre Dame 77-0 in the quarterfinals of the Varsity Cup National Championships at Annapolis, Md. The win sets up a semifinal matchup vs. Navy, which beat Dartmouth 32-0.

The Bears (20-0) and Midshipmen (8-1) will meet next Saturday at 1 p.m. at Witter Rugby Field in Berkeley.


Track and field: Ex-Cal great Montano crushes American record in indoor 600m at Millrose

Former Cal star and 2012 Olympian Alysia Montano broke the American record while winning the seldom-run 600-meter run at 106th Millrose Games indoor track meet at the Armory in New York City.

Montano ran 1 minute, 23.59 seconds to crush the record of 1:26.56 set by Delisa Walton-Floyd in 1981. She won the race by nearly three seconds.