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Golden Medals: Cal Swim alum Farida Osman is Best African Athlete, Baseball alum Brandon Morrow ties WS record

Cal Volleyball earned a big road win. Cal Men’s Soccer nearly a lock for postseason. Cal Field Hockey at America East tourney.

XXII ANOC General Assembly - Day One
Recent Cal alum, Farida Osman, was named Best Female African Athlete 2017 by the ANOC (Association of National Olympic Committees).
Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images for ANOC

Look for my separate posts as two of the best Cal fall teams take on the No.1 ranked teams in their respective sports this weekend. No.22 Cal Women’s Soccer visits No.1 Stanford tonight (7 pm PT) while No.2 Cal Men’s Water Polo hosts No.1 USC on Saturday morning (11 AM PT). Both of these matches will be broadcasted live on the Pac-12 Networks.

Farida Osman named ANOC Best Female African Athlete of 2017

Cal swim fans are familiar with recent graduate Farida Osman, who has helped Golden Bears to national championships by swimming the key anchor legs since the beginning of her Cal career (including the 2015 team NCAA title). A sprinter and butterfly swimmer, Osman was a first time Calympian for her native Egypt (although she was born in Indianapolis, IN while her parents were in graduate school but mostly raised in Cairo, Egypt) in the 2016 Rio games. In her senior season this past spring, Osman accomplished a first by finally winning an individual NCAA championship in the 100 yard Fly after many close finishes in the past.

Even more importantly, Osman won a Bronze medal in the 50 Fly at the World Championships this July from Budapest, Hungary - becoming the first Egyptian athlete to win a medal at the World Aquatics Championships. Outside of South Africa, the entire continent of Africa is not known for swimming.

Thanks mostly due to her breakthrough at the Worlds, on Thursday, the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) named Osman the 2017 Best Female African Athlete. It is a great honor for the 22-year old recent Cal graduate (she majored in Media Studies).

Farida Osman has been a great role model and pioneer for Egyptian and Arab women, who have been vastly under represented in all sports (not just swimming). She should still be in her prime comes the 2020 Tokyo Games and be a threat to medal in that Olympic games after racing in the 50 Free (18th) and 100 Fly (11th) at the 2016 Rio games.

Congratulations to Farida Osman on this great honor. We are sure that this Golden Bear will continue to do great things as a Cal alum.

Brandon Morrow became 2nd pitcher to pitch in all 7 games of the World Series

If you watched at least one game of the recently concluded 2017 World Series, you would have seen Cal Baseball alum Brandon Morrow (hopefully, if you only saw him in one game, that was not game 5). Morrow became the 2nd pitcher in the long baseball history to appear in all 7 games of a World Series (the other guy was Darold Knowles in 1973 with the Oakland A’s).

That’s a pretty cool bit of history for the Cal Baseball alum, who also has the distinction of being the highest drafted player in the MLB draft (5th overall in 2013...two spots ahead of some guy named Clayton Kershaw and a couple more spots ahead of Tim Lincecum).

With a blazing fastball that can break 100 mph (his fastball only averages 97.7 mph), Morrow was a pivotal part of the Los Angeles Dodgers pen in their 2017 World Series runner-up run. In the playoffs this year, Morrow pitched in 14 games, threw 13.2 innings, allowing 6 runs (5 in that one terrible game 5 when he was gassed from having to pitch on the 3rd consecutive day), and striking out 12. Morrow was the most trusted Dodgers reliever not named Kenley Jansen.

As an impending free agent, Brandon Morrow (only 32), should be in line for a big free agent deal paying him easily over $10 million per year for 3-4 years.

By the way, Brandon Morrow, who has type 1 diabetes is also a role model for those with that illness. Morrow proves that one can still be an elite athlete despite having to constantly monitor and adjust insulin level.

Best of luck to Brandon Morrow in free agency this offseason. May some of that help toward Cal Baseball endowment in addition to diabetes research.

Cal Volleyball (13-10, 4-8) gets a tough Pac-12 road win

Despite being undermanned with outside hitter senior captain Christina Aftin being sidelined due to an injury, Cal Volleyball earned a tough 4 set win at ASU last Sunday after being swept by Arizona.

Freshman middle hitter Preslie Anderson and her family and friends from the nearby Chandler, Arizona helped made Tempe a Bear Territory. Anderson had a career best 11 kills on a 0.421 hitting percentage. Fellow freshman Mima Mirkovic is looking more and more like the next Cal star by contributing 13 kills and 19 digs in this one.

Golden Bears need 3 more wins in the remaining 8 Pac-12 matches to be eligible for the postseason. The win at ASU was the first Cal road Pac-12 win since October 18th, 2015 at Utah. Bears have just 2 of the final 8 matches on the road (to the Washington schools next week).

The most probably source of wins would be this week’s home contests against the Oregon schools (who swept the Bears earlier this season up in Oregon). Bears host No.15 Oregon tonight at 7 pm PT before hosting Oregon State on Sunday at 1 pm PT. Washington Huskies snapped the Bears’ 8 match home winning streak two weeks ago.

Cal Men’s Soccer (10-5, 5-3 in Pac-12) snaps losing streak, closer to a postseason return

Snapping the two match losing streak from being swept in the Pacific Northwest last week, Golden Bears rebounded with a big 1-0 win over San Diego State in a key Pac-12 conference match yesterday. With that win, the Bears should have clinched a spot in the postseason even though they have two more tough matches left in the regular season.

Spencer Held scored on an emphatic header for the lone goal (out of many Cal chances) in this one as sophomore keeper Drake Callender made 4 saves for another clean sheet.

Bears will celebrate their seniors, including captain Jose Carrera-Garcia, on Sunday when they host UCLA at 1 pm PT in the home finale. Cal will then conclude the regular season at Stanford on Thursday night. Bears defeated UCLA on the road earlier this season but dropped the home leg of the Bay Area Derby to rival Stanford (2x defending NCAA champs).

Cal Field Hockey season ends in America East Quarterfinal today

The resilient Cal Field Hockey team has their season just ended in OT by the University of New Hampshire Wildcats in the America East Quarterfinal. The Golden Bears will conclude their 2017 campaign with a 9-8 record.

Being the 2nd seed in the west division (Stanford got the tiebreaker for the top seed), Cal took on New Hampshire at 9 AM today from Lowell, Massachusetts. Bears actually took an 1-0 and then 2-1 lead but could not hold on.

In OT, New Hampshire scored the golden goal to end the Cal season.

Despite this tough loss, Cal Field Hockey ends with a winning season for the first time since 2011. Freshman Megan Rodgers have been sensational in being one of the top goal scorer in the country. Sophomore goalkeeper Danielle Mentink has also been solid.

With other key players junior Melina Moore and sophomore Femke Delissen all back next year, Cal Bears will be able to build upon this year’s big home win over rival Stanford and the close calls to top 10 ranked Syracuse and Penn State. Do not be surprised if Cal is able to reclaim their spot as the best field hockey program in the west (ahead of Stanford and Pacific) in 2018.