Cal at NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships recap
The 2021-22 school year officially ends for Cal Athletics
The best season in recent Cal Track and Field history came to an end last weekend.
Thirteen Golden Bears competed in 10 events from Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. The eight Cal Women earned 12 points to tie for 21st as a team. The five Cal Men earned 13 points to finish tied for 18th as a team. Typically, only the top 8 finishers would score points. Winners get 10 points; runners-up earn 8 points; the rest gets 6 down to 1 for the 3rd through 8th place finishers. By the way, Florida won the team championships for both men (54 points) and women (74 points). Cal would need to have at least 5-6 top-3 finishers (per gender) to really be a team championship contender.
Nonetheless, it has been a long time (apparently since the inaugural championship way back in 1922) since four Cal Bears earned First Team All-American honors (and scored points).
Until this year, Cal had not had four First Team All-American throwers since 1922 – the very first NCAA Championships ever held. This year's group, which Assistant Coach Mohamad Saatara has called "the best (he's) ever coached", gave Bears fans plenty to be excited about, including an all-time NCAA record set by Alekna and a third hammer National Championship from Rogers.
The highlight, of course, was senior Camryn Rogers accomplishing a three-peat in the hammer throw. The Canadian “Calympian” also set a new collegiate record. If you missed it, watch her record-breaking throw in my previous post.
With her record-breaking season, Camryn Rogers has been shortlisted for the Honda Award for Track and Field.
Rogers now owns the top-11 women’s hammer tosses in collegiate history.
Teammate junior Anna Purchase also scored points by placing 7th in the same event.
A pair of Cal men also shared the podium in Discus. Freshman Mykolas Alekna just got edged by an inch to Virginia’s freshman Claudio Romero. Teammate Iffy Joyner placed 4th overall.
In other events, Josh Johnson (in men’s shot put) and Ezinne Abba (in women’s 100m dash) earned 2nd team All-American honors.
Hakim McMorris did well (top 4) in 4 out of the 10 decathlon events (100m, long jump, 400m, and 110m hurdles) to finish 19th overall. Despite Cal’s prowess in the throwing events (not to mention his brother Malik being a Cal weight tosser in addition to being a football player), Hakim can certainly improve on shot put (13th), javelin (18th), and discus (20th).
Also getting to compete at NCAA national championships for the first time were Ivar Moisander (men’s hammer throw), Busola Akinduro (women’s triple jump), and the quartet of Jada Hicks, Jordyn Grady, Maisie Stevens, Aysha Shaheed (4x100m Relay), even if they finished toward the back of the 24 competitor deep fields or got DQ’ed, as in the case for Cal’s relay team.
While there is some unclarity as to the future facility for the program if/when the prime real estate of Edwards Stadium gets taken over by the University as rumored, Cal Track and Field/Cross Country director Robyne Johnson has done a fine job in her third season. Due to COVID, Johnson has repeatedly called this season her “first real year” in interviews.
I will conclude with a bunch of great photos of Golden Bears in action, followed by a list of their results.
NCAA Outdoor Championships Complete Roundup – California
Women's Hammer Throw:
-National Champion Camryn Rogers (First Team All-American)
-Seventh Place Anna Purchase (First Team All-American)
Men's Discus Throw:
-Second Place Mykolas Alekna (First Team All-American)
-Fourth Place Iffy Joyner (First Team All-American)
Women's Triple Jump:
-23rd Place Busola Akinduro
Men's Shot Put:
-10th Place Josh Johnson (Second Team All-American)
Women's 100m Dash:
-15th Place Ezinne Abba (Second Team All-American)
-19th Place Hakim McMorris
Men's Hammer Throw:
-20th Place Ivar Moisander
Women's 4x100m Relay:
-Semifinalists Jada Hicks, Jordyn Grady, Maisie Stevens, Aysha Shaheed