After three days of competition in Sacramento for the NCAA West Region Championships, seven Bears from Cal track and field punched their tickets to the coveted NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
The field includes sophomores McKay Johnson and Tuomas Kaukolahti, juniors Silviu Bocancea and Lauren Martinez and seniors Ashley Anderson, Ashtyn Davis and Peter Simon.
The first member to book his trip to Oregon was Bocancea in the hammer throw. On the first day of competition, Bocancea placed fourth in the hammer with a personal best throw of 65.83 meters.
Next came Johnson, who qualified in the discus event. His throw of 55.86 meters was good for sixth place overall, and he set his own personal best along the way.
Martinez, one of the two women representing Cal, launched her way to the finals by recording a five-way tie for first in the pole vault event. The top vaulters in the group all recorded best jumps of 4.18 meters, which will make for an interesting go-round in Eugene.
Anderson kept the girl power going in the triple jump event, in which her personal best mark of 13.30 meters was good for a tie for sixth place. Anderson’s excellence has led her through back-to-back NCAA Championships and landed her in the Cal history books with the fifth-best women’s triple jump.
Kaukolahti leaped into the qualifying group with a jump of 15.96 meters in the triple jump event. His personal best mark was good for seventh, though he will have to improve upon his mark if he wishes to see the podium in Oregon.
In the shot put event, Johnson qualified for his second event in the big dance. His throw of 19.79 meters boosted him to fourth place overall, just two spots above senior teammate Simon. Simon still earned a bid to nationals, however, with this mark of 19.19 meters.
Last but certainly not least was acclaimed hurdler Davis, who earned his bid with a time of 13.83 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles. Davis, a 2017 Pac-12 champion and third-place finisher at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, surely has some unfinished business to handle.
The Championships will take place June 6-9, giving the athletes a little bit of extra training time.
Christie Aguilar is the sports editor. Contact her at [email protected].