Cal Track and Field’s best season in recent history ended 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 had 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 get 6-1 for the 3rd-8th place finishers. Incidentally, Florida won the tag team championships for both men (54 points) and women (74 points). Cal would need to have at least 5-6 top-3s (by gender) to really be a tag team championship contender.
Nonetheless, it’s been a long time (apparently since the inaugural championship in 1922) since four Cal Bears earned first-team All-American honors (and scored points).
Until this year, Cal hadn’t had four first-team All-American pitchers since 1922 — the very first NCAA championships ever held. This year’s group, as the assistant coach mohamed saatara called “the best (he’s) ever coached,” gave Bears fans something to cheer about, including an all-time NCAA record set by Alekna and a third national hammering championship from Rogers.
The highlight, of course, was senior Camryn Rogers who scored a hat-trick in the hammer throw. The Canadian “Calympian” also set a new collegiate record. If you missed it, watch its record throw my previous message.
With her record breaking season, Camryn Rogers has been shortlisted for the Honda Award for Track and Field.
Rogers now holds the top 11 women’s hammer throwers in college history.
Her junior teammate Anna Purchase also scored points by placing 7th in the same event.
A pair of Cal men also shared the Discus podium. Freshman Mykolas Alekna just fell an inch ahead of Virginia freshman Claudio Romero. His teammate Iffy Joyner placed 4th overall.
In other events, Josh Johnson (in the men’s shot put) and Ezinne Abba (in the women’s 100m) earned 2nd Team All-American honors.
Hakim McMorris did well (top 4) in 4 of 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 who is a Cal shot putter in addition to being a football player), Hakim can definitely improve in the shot put (13th), javelin (18th) and discus (20th).
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 though they finished towards the back of the 24 fields deep competitors or were disqualified, as in the case of Cal’s relay team.
Although there is some uncertainty as to the future of the program facilities if/when the main real estate at Edwards Stadium is taken over by the University, rumor has it that the Director of Cal Track and Field/Cross Country, Robyne Johnson, did a good job in her third season. Due to COVID, Johnson has repeatedly called this season his “first real year” in interviews.
I’ll conclude with a bunch of great photos of Golden Bears in action, followed by a list of their results.
Complete NCAA Outdoor Championships 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 Unfaithful Joyner (First Team All-American)
Women’s triple jump:
-23rd place Busola Akinduro
Men’s shot put:
-10th position Josh Johnson (Second Team All-American)
100m women’s sprint:
-15th place Ezinne Abba (Second Team All-American)
-19th place Hakim McMorris
Men’s Hammer Throw:
-20th place Ivar Moisandre
Women’s 4x100m relay:
-Semi-finalists Jada Hicks, Jordyn Grady, Maisie Stevens, Aysha Shaheed