Tough Opening Day For Bears at NCAA Track

The Cal track and field team got off to a very shaky start on the first day of the NCAA meet yesterday in Sacramento.

The National Championship, which had previously been held in Texas and suffered from heat, humidity, and thunderstorms, was moved to Hornet Stadium at Sacramento State for the next three years. Hornet Stadium played host to the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2000 and 2004, and is an excellent facility. The Bears, who were sending one of their largest contingents in recent memory to the Nationals (15 athletes ) had some very high hopes of placing well. Unfortunately, the highly unusual rainy weather Wednesday played havoc with several of the Bears' performances, most notably two seniors that had given Cal track and field fans some exciting memories over the course of their college careers.

A dropped baton in the women's 4x100m relay got the Bears off to an poor start. Junior Tiffany Johnson was unable to secure a baton exchange from lead-off runner, Osarhiemen Omwanghe as Johnson collided with another competitor, Wiande Moore of University of Miami in the neighboring lane.

Senior Rhuben Williams, who was expected to easily make it into the men's shot put finals and commands a season best of 64-02.50 missed getting out of the preliminary round with his final throw as the shot came out of his grasp mid-spin, ending his series with a best of only 58-10.25, just two inches short of the 12th and final qualifying mark. Williams ends his college career at Cal second on the "All-Time Top 10 Performer" list in the shot with a best of 64-9.75 and was most recently voted Most Valuable Performer on the Cal squad.

On the women's side, senior Chloe Jarvis' career at CAL came to a disappointing end in the 800m as she was unable to produce a final kick in the last 100m that was good enough to catch the leaders in the first round of the women's 800m. The slowest time to qualify for the semi-finals was 2:06.26 and Jarvis was unfortunately unable to muster her usual kick coming off the final turn, finishing in fifth place at 2:06.87. Jarvis had run a seasonal best of 2:04.53 just three weeks ago at the Pac-10's. The native of nearby Elk Grove has a lifetime best of 2:03.62 putting her second at Cal on the "All-Time Top 10 Performer" list.

On the plus side, freshman 800m standout and former California State High School Champion, Alysia Johnson was able to qualify for the semi-final round in the women's 800m putting together a tremendous charge and passing four runners down the stretch to finish in second place in the same heat as her teammate Chloe Jarvis. Johnson finished in 2:05.92, another personal best for this incredible freshman that appears to be peaking at just the right time.

Junior Antonette Carter, the ever so charismatic school record holder in the 100 and 200m who single-handedly accounted for 21 of the 82 total points by the Cal women at the recent Pac-10's showed a tremendous amount of mental toughness as she was the 4th best qualifier in the long jump at 20-08.50 during a driving rain storm. Carter's season best of 21-04 has her ranked fifth in the nation coming into the NCAA's. She will also be competing in the 200m prelims which start later today. Carter, who competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials last summer at this very same venue is currently ranked 8th in the nation coming into this competition in the 200m with a season best, 23.12 from the NCAA Western Regionals.

Senior high jumper, David Glasgow with a season best of 7-02.25 will start his competition today, and senior All-American Brooke Meredith will begin her quest in the women's heptathlon on Friday. At the 2004 NCAA's, Meredith was the Bear's highest placing finisher scoring 5,442 points in the heptathlon, good enough to secure 5th in the nation.

Pac-10 champion and CAL school record holder in the javelin, junior Paul Teinert easily qualified for the finals in the mens javelin with his first throw of 223-11 in wet and rainy conditions that left much of his competitors unable to make the necessary adjustments to qualify. Teinert will compete in the finals on Friday afternoon.

For more info on the NCAA's at Sac-State: Top Stories