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Cal Bears at NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships (June 7-10)
A program-record 17 qualifiers will compete in 13 events (6 men, 7 women)
On WatchESPN (NCAA page to all of the stream links for each event) over the next few days, Cal fans can catch the last group of California Golden Bears to compete for national championships in the 2022-23 school year. Bears will compete in 13 events (6 men and 7 women) from Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas.
Event Schedule (All Times PT - Seeds, Season-Highs Notated)
Wednesday, June 7
Men's Hammer (12:30 p.m.): No. 13 Ivar Moisander (69.32m/227-5)
Men's Decathlon 100m (12:30 p.m.): No. 23 Hakim McMorris (10.48)
Men's Decathlon Long Jump (1:10 p.m.): No. 23 Hakim McMorris (7.45m/24-5.5)
Men's Decathlon Shot Put (2:25 p.m.): No. 23 Hakim McMorris (13.80m/45-3.5)
Men's Decathlon High Jump (3:40 p.m.): No. 23 Hakim McMorris (1.89m/6-2.25)
Men's Pole Vault (4:30 p.m.): No. 3 Skyler Magula (5.55m/18-2.5)
Men's 1500m Semifinal (4:46 p.m.): No. 19 Garrett MacQuiddy (3:41.26)
Men's Shot Put (6:10 p.m.): No. 10 Jeff Duensing (19.80m/64-11.5)
Men's Decathlon 400m (6:56 p.m.): No. 23 Hakim McMorris (47.49)
Thursday, June 8
Men's Decathlon 110m Hurdles (10:30 a.m.): No. 23 Hakim McMorris (14.00)
Men's Decathlon Discus (11:20 a.m.): No. 23 Hakim McMorris (42.44m/139-3)
Men's Decathlon Pole Vault (12:30 p.m.): No. 23 Hakim McMorris (4.60m/15-1)
Women's Hammer (1:30 p.m.): No. 2 Anna Purchase (73.02m/239-7); No. 14 Audrey Jacobs (64.57m/211-10)
Men's Decathlon Javelin (3:00 p.m.): No. 23 Hakim McMorris (49.45m/162-3)
Women's Javelin (5:10 p.m.): No. 11 Carolina Visca (54.88m/180-1)
Women's Pole Vault (5:30 p.m.): No. 5 Amari Turner (4.30m/14-1.25)
Women's 4x100m Relay Semifinal (5:32 p.m.): No. 14 California (Jada Hicks/Jordyn Grady/Makhaila Mills/Aysha Shaheed/Ryan Lacefield) (43.75)
Women's 100m Hurdles Semifinal (6:32 p.m.): No. 21 Jada Hicks (13.04)
Women's Long Jump (7:00 p.m.): No. 19 Ijeoma Uche (6.31m/20-8.5)
Men's Decathlon 1500m (7:56 p.m.): No. 23 Hakim McMorris (4:33.30) (Total Decathlon Season-Best: 7655)
Friday, June 9
Men's Discus (5:35 p.m.): No. 1 Mykolas Alekna (71.00m/232-11)
Men's 1500m Final (6:12 p.m. – if qualified): No. 19 Garrett MacQuiddy (3:41.26)
Saturday, June 10
Women's 4x100m Relay Final (6:02 p.m. – if qualified): No. 14 California (Jada Hicks/Jordyn Grady/Makhaila Mills/Aysha Shaheed/Ryan Lacefield) (43.75)
Women's Triple Jump (6:10 p.m.): No. 19 Asha Fletcher (13.33m/43-9)
Women's 100m Hurdles Final (6:42 p.m. – if qualified): No. 21 Jada Hicks (13.04)
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For team points, typically a top-8 finish is required. Based on the seed, Cal's ascension back to team Track and Field national championship contender status ("back" because Cal claimed the second ever NCAA Men's Outdoor Track and Field Team Championship back in 19221, over 100 years ago) still has some room to go.
Nonetheless, Cal does have a couple of good chances to add to the program's total of 54 individual NCAA titles2 and 3 relay titles according to Cal’s record book. Canadian "Calympian" Camryn Rogers had won the most recent ones from her "three-peat" in women's hammer. Mike Morrison (who has a 2012 Topps USA Olympics card made though he did not become an Olympian) was the last Cal male champion with his decathlon win in 2011.
Thursday's women's hammer throw and Friday's men's discus are the events to watch, for those of us who prioritize national championships.
Senior Anna Purchase will look to continue Cal's dominance in this event and take over the NCAA crown from former teammate Camryn Rogers who won the last three. Purchase has got the second-best throw in college this year, with her main competition being Harvard's Stephanie Ratcliffe. Ratcliffe's latest throw at the NCAA East preliminaries of 73.11 meters is just a bit further than Purchase's career-best throw of 73.02 meters set at the Big Meet.
The best bet for a Cal win will be on Friday when sophomore Mykolas Alekna will attempt to break more records in men's discus. The Lithuanian sophomore placed 2nd at the NCAA last year with a subpar (by his lofty standard) performance. Alekna is again on the Bowerman Award (Track and Field's version of the Heisman) watchlist for the second straight year. Son of a Lithuanian Olympic Record holder in the same sport, Mykolas Alekna has rewritten his collegiate record again in 2023, with his best throw being 71.00 meters.
Discus - Mykolas Alekna, California
Cal's Mykolas Alekna is the collegiate record holder in the discus and has his name all across the top 10 all-time marks. But he doesn't have an NCAA title after finishing in second last year. Alekna won't fall short this go-around.
Hammer - Anna Purchase, California
Cal's Anna Purchase will keep the hammer trophy with the Bears this year as the top woman in the event. While she could see competition with Harvard's Stephanie Ratcliffe — the only other woman with a throw over 73 meters this year — I think Purchase's previous championship experience will benefit her in Austin.
While both Alekna and Purchase are returning to the NCAA Championships for the second consecutive year, they are joined by men's hammer tosser Ivar Moisander as Cal veterans who can impart important experience to the other 14 Golden Bears who are in their first NCAA Championships.
Other Cal Bears who might score points (in the top-8) are Pac-12 champion Skyler Magula in men's pole vault on Wednesday and Amari Turner in women's pole vault on Thursday. Jada Hicks will be the lone Cal Bear who will compete in two events as she has qualified individually for 100m hurdles and as the first leg of Cal's 4x100m relay.
A potential pair of wins would be a great breakthrough for the Cal Track and Field program in its 4th season under the leadership of director Robyne Johnson. She was wise to keep throwing coach, Mohamad Saatara, who is in his 10th season in Berkeley.
Even back in 1922, Cal dominated more field events than track, including wins in shot put, hammer, and pole vault. Jack Merchant (1st, Shot Put, 44-6.5; 1st, Hammer 161-4; 4th, Long Jump, 23-4) Allen Norris (1st, Pole Vault, 12-6) Brick Muller (2nd, Long Jump, 23-8.25; 3rd, High Jump, 6-1.5; 4th, Discus, 127-8) Harry McDonald (2nd, 440y, 49.90) Sandy Sorrenti (3rd, Javelin, 188-11) Jack Witter (3rd, Shot Put, 43-2) Ted Treyer (5th, High Jump, 5-9)
The 54 number does NOT match the 43, including three relays, California NCAA Champions explicitly listed. It is known that Cal has taken some individual championships off the record book due to eligibility issues, but it is still odd that the total listed does not match.