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Olympics: In ’48, a remarkable Cal man won the pole vault at the London Olympics

He had completed his education at Cal six years earlier, was married, had a child and had flown cargo missions from India into China over the “Hump” of the Himalayas during World War II.

But Guinn Smith still had the skill and toughness necessary to win an Olympic gold medal in the pole vault in a rain storm at the 1948 London Games.

Here’s his story.

Posted on Friday, July 20th, 2012
Under: Alumni, Olympics, Track and field | 7 Comments »
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Track: Ex-Bear Montano 3rd at Monaco meet

Alysia Montano, in her final tuneup before the London Olympics, ran third today in the 800 meters at the Herculis Diamond League meet in Monaco.

The former Cal star ran 1:59.05, well off her season and personal bests.

Russian Yelena Kofanova won the race in 1:58.41 and Burundi’s Franchine Niyonsaba was second with a national record of 1:58.68. South Africa’s Caster Semenya, projected as an Olympic silver medalist by Track and Field News, placed ninth in 2:01.67.

Posted on Friday, July 20th, 2012
Under: Alumni, Olympics, Track and field | No Comments »
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Track and field: Ex-Cal star Montano on Oly team

Former Cal star Alysia (Johnson) Montano earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic track team with a victory in the 800 meters at the trials in Eugene, Ore.

Montano took the lead from the start and won wire-to-wire in a time of 1:59.08. Gina Gall was second at 1:59.24 and Alice Schmidt third at 1:59.48.

Montano, a 2008 Cal grad, earned her fourth national title in the event — and her most important one. She’s going to London.

Montano made the team four years after suffering a foot injury at the trials.

“I’m super-duper elated,” Montano said. “Four years ago I was lying on this track after the first round. My whole mentality is to be brave and have heart. When I’m out there giving it my everything, I’m prepared to run a really, really fast time.”

Meanwhile, ex-Cal star Ed Wright gave the favorites a scare in the high jump before finishing fifth at 7 feet, 4 1/2 inches.

Cal senior Deborah Maier and 38-year-old Cal grad Magdalena Lewy Boulet, a 2008 Olympic marathoner, both advanced to the final of the women’s 5,000. Maier was fifth in her semifinal heat in 1n a school-record time of 15:43.43 and Lewy Boulet was seventh in the second heat at 15:51.73.

Cal alum Tracey Stewart wound up sixth in the triple jump final with a best mark of  43-2 1/2.

 

Posted on Monday, June 25th, 2012
Under: Olympics, Track and field | 2 Comments »
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Track and field: Maier third at NCAA meet

Cal junior Deborah Maier placed third in the 10,000 meter-run at the NCAA track and field championships at Des Moines, Iowa.

Maier, who earlier this year recorded the No. 3 all-time collegiate mark in the event, crossed in 32 minutes, 47.20 seconds. Her finishing spot matches the highest by a Cal woman in the 10,000 at the NCAA meet.

Meanwhile, freshman Harrison Steed finished eighth in the high jump with a Cal career high clearance of 7 feet, 2 1/2 inches. Theh highest-placing freshman in the event, Steed moved to No. 9 on Cal’s all-time high jump list.

 

 

Posted on Thursday, June 7th, 2012
Under: Track and field | No Comments »
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Track and field: Ex-Bear David Torrence races to USA-leading mile at Prefontaine Classic

David Torrence, who five years ago broke a 50-year-old Cal record in the mile, ran a personal-best time of 3 minutes, 52.01 seconds at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., climbing to the top of the 2012 U.S. leaders list.

Torrence finished just ninth in the super-quick field, topped by Kenya’s Asbel Kiprop in 3:49.40. How fast was the race? The first 10 finishers now rank 1 through 10 on the world season list.

Torrence’s time also moves him to No. 18 on the all-time U.S. list.

More importantly, he beat all of the top American runners he will face in three weeks at Eugene in the U.S. Olympic trials. Leonel Manzano finished 12th, Bernard Lagat 14th, Lopez Lomong 15th and Andrew Wheating 16th.

A top-3 finish at the trials will earn Torrence a spot at the London Olympics.

Posted on Sunday, June 3rd, 2012
Under: Alumni, Track and field | No Comments »
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Track and field: Ex-Cal star Montano blazes at Pre

Cal grad Alysia Montano (Alysia Johnson before being married in 2011) ran the second-fastest time in the world this season to win the 800 meters at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore.

On the same Hayward Field track where she will compete at the Olympic trials in three weeks, Montano ran 1 minute, 57.37 seconds in her season debut in the rain to beat the best American runners by a decisive margin of almost 2 seconds.

Her time was a Pre Classic record and a track record at a facility that has known some fast times.

“I feel great. It was a really nice run. I am so excited of things to come. I feel great about where things are at right now,” Montano said. “I actually appreciated the fact that it did rain. It’s just like London weather. I have so much motivation right now.”

Her mark was just .03 seconds off her two-year-old personal best and ranks her No. 2 in the world for 2012, behind only Kenya’s Pamela Jelimo (1:56.94).

Posted on Friday, June 1st, 2012
Under: Alumni, Track and field | No Comments »
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Track and field: Two Bears qualify for NCAA finals

Cal’s Chase Wheeler and Deborah Maier qualified for the NCAA Championships with performances Thursday at the NCAA West Preliminary meet in Austin, Texas.

Wheeler had a wind-aided long jump mark of 25 feet, 2 3/4 inches to finish 11th.

Maier easily advanced to the NCAA finals in the 10,000 meters, running fifth in a field of 48 with a time of 33 minutes, 59.90 seconds. Earlier this season, the junior ran the third-fastest 10K time ever by a collegiate runner, clocking 32:12.47.

The West prelims meet continues through Saturday with athletes vying for spots at the NCAA Championships, June 6-9 at Des Moines, Iowa.

Posted on Thursday, May 24th, 2012
Under: Track and field | No Comments »
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Track and field: Maier 2nd at indoor nationals

Cal junior Deborah Maier finished second in the women’s 3,000 meters on Saturday at the NCAA indoor track and field championships in Nampa, Idaho. On the heels of her runnerup finish in the 5,000 on Friday night, Maier became the first Cal athlete to score in two events at the meet in 22 years.

Georgetown’s Emily Infield passed Maier with 20 meters to go to win the 3K race in  9:15.44. Maier crossed in 9:15.74.

“What a phenomenal effort,” Cal coach Tony Sandoval said. “To turn it around after (Friday), Deborah went for it with 200 meters to go and beat some terrific people . . . This certainly puts a stamp of greatness for her future. I have to take my hat off to her. She put the disappointment of not winning Friday behind her and went for the win.”

Posted on Saturday, March 10th, 2012
Under: Track and field | No Comments »
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Cal rugby’s 63-match win streak snapped

Cal’s powerhouse rugby team lost 22-20 at Cal Poly, snapping the Bears’ 63-match win streak.

The Bears fell to 10-1 this season.

Meanwhile . . .

   — Swimming: Liv Jensen won the 100-yard freestyle (47.42 seconds) and Caitlin Leverenz won the 200 breakstroke in a school-record time (2:05.49) as the Cal women captured their second Pac-12 team title in four years at Federal Way, Wash.

   – Track and field: Deborah Maier set a meet record to win the 3,000 meters (9:02.35) at the MPSF indoor championships in Seattle. Teammate Chelsea Reilly set a school record in the mile (4:41.29) to finish third.

   – Softball:  Valerie Arioto pitched a four-hitter and hit her eighth home run of the season as the No. 1/3 Golden Bears (11-0) topped Cal Poly 4-1 at the Cathedral City Classic. The Bears face Cal State Northridge on Sunday. 

   – Baseball: Vince Bruno tripled to open the 10th inning and scored on Chad Bunting’s sacrifice fly and the Bears (4-1) beat Long Beach State 2-1.

 

Posted on Saturday, February 25th, 2012
Under: Rugby, Spring sports, Track and field | 1 Comment »
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Track and field: Deborah Maier runs fifth-fastest women’s indoor 5K in NCAA history

A detour from hoops: Cal junior Deborah Maier made her track and field indoor season debut, breaking her own school record in the 5K by more than 30 seconds.

Her time of 15 minutes, 29.14 seconds at the FloTrack Husky Classic in Seattle is the fifth-fastest collegiate time of all-time. Maier’s previous indoor school record was 15:58.49.

Posted on Friday, February 10th, 2012
Under: Track and field | 3 Comments »
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