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.


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.”


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.