In this and next weekend, California Golden Bears will be looking to repeat as national champions in three different sports - women’s crew this week at the NCAA Rowing Championship, men’s crew and rugby at the IRA championship and the collegiate rugby championship (rugby 7s). I will be making the trip over to Lake Mercer in New Jersey this (Friday) morning to check on the first day of NCAA Crew competition (check back tomorrow for the Women’s Crew NCAA update - and Sunday for the gamethread of the finals - it is essentially a given that Cal should qualify all three boats to the finals on Sunday). Meanwhile, let’s check on Track and Field as well as Women’s Golf.
Cal Track and Field in Austin for NCAA West Regional
After winning two Pac-12 title two weeks ago (again, congrats to Ashtyn Davis for winning the 110m hurdle and Peter Simon for winning the shot put), 26 Golden Bears will compete in Austin this weekend at the NCAA West Regionals for a spot in the NCAA Championship in ~2 weeks from Eugene, Oregon.
Golden Bears will be looking to place in the top 12 in each event to advance. Last year, 4 Bears made the NCAA Championships - Davis, Simon, as well as a pair of Cal women in Isabella Marten and Ashley Anderson in the triple jump. I have a good feeling that number of Cal delegates at the NCAA will be larger this year.
Here is the full list of Golden Bears in Austin, TX this weekend, their regional rankings are also listed:
Women's 3000-meter steeplechase – 32. Megan Bordes (10:22.24)
Women's 5000 meters – 24. Marissa Williams (16:06.86)
Women's 10,000 meters – 6. Bethan Knights (33:30.13)
Women's pole vault – 19. Lauren Martinez (13-8.25)
Women's triple jump – 16. Ashley Anderson (42-11.00)
Women's discus – 22. Kendall Mader (174-7)
Men's 1500 meters – 32. Thomas Joyce (3:44.56)
Men's 400-meter hurdles – 17. Connor Meech (51.01)
Men's triple jump – 36. Karsten Wethington (50-3.25)
Men's javelin – 40. Scott Chiesa (206-11)
That’s a total of 12 Cal women and 14 Cal men that will be seeking another trip to Eugene (Pac-12 Championship was also held there). Three Bears will compete in two events - Robert Brandt in 5000 and 10,000 meter. McKay Johnson and Malik McMorris (yes, the football player) in both the shot put and discus.
Based on the ranking, 5 Bears would make the NCAA in 6 events (Brandt for both of his events) by being ranked in the top 12 but several other Bears are also within striking distance.
The competition started on Thursday and will go through Saturday.
Live Stats: LINK
Bethan Knights, who also excels in Cross Country, is the first and only Golden Bears to qualify for the NCAA Championships on Thursday, thanks to her 7th place finish in the 10,000m with a time of 34:41.74.
In the men’s 10,000m, Trent Brendel led for the majority of the race before fading late to 19th (30:30.08). Robert Brandt pulled out of the race about a quarter of the way in and Did Not Finish.
Scott Chiesa finished 14th in Javelin with a 65.93, just missing out.
Ilse Kaaja also just missed with a 13th place finish in the Hammer Throw (60.88). Destiny Parker was 20th (59.12).
Lauren Martinez was 14th in the pole vault (4.20).
Connor Meech was 24th in the 400m hurdles (52.05).
Xochitl Navarrete (4:28.57) and Georgia Bell (4.32.02) finished 16th and 25th, respectively in the 1500m. Navarette just missed out on advancing because she was in a very fast heat where she finished 7th.
Thomas Joyce qualified for Saturday’s final with 12th place in 1500m with a time of 3:51.98 - 5th best in his heat but one of the top two times out of the top 4.
Jordyn Colter (2:07.53) and Rebecca Croft (2:08.69) both qualified for Friday’s 800m final with the 5th and 13th best times, respectively.
Cal Women’s Golf finished 14th at the NCAA Championship
It was a cold, windy, and sometimes wet condition (check out the embedded picture below) at the Rich Harvest Farms course in Sugar Grove, Illinois this past week (Day 2 was rained out turning the stroke play part of the championship into just 3 rounds rather than a special 4th round for the top 15 teams). Nevertheless, the Golden Bears had their best finish since a 12th place finish in 2011 with a tie for 14th finish after 3 rounds. Bears finished with a +64, 9 strokes out of 8th place and a part in the match play.
Junior Marthe Wold and graduating senior Lucia Gutierrez led the way for the Bears with +11 and +19 respectively. The three underclassmen for the Bears - freshmen Maria Herreaz, Jiyoon Jang, and sophomore Marianne Li got some valuable experiences, although each of them had a round that was dropped from the team scoring for being the worst of the fivesome.
May.23 | 2016-2017 season came to a close today and we got to enjoy it with wonderful people! Thank you to Jenny, our very awesome SWA (@jsoatcal), for traveling all the way to Illinois and to watch us from start to finish no matter the tee time (7:30am) nor the weather (45° with rain). Thank you to Jeff Troesch for dedicating these last two weeks (and four total years) to Cal WGolf and preparing our brains for the long days on the course. And thank you to our senior, Lucia Gutierrez (@lugutierres) for giving your heart to this program. You've left quite a footprint! #OnceABear #AlwaysABear #CalWGolf #NCAAGolf
Bears was 15th after round 1 and basically maintained that spot in the standing through out the 3 rounds (in 4 days). Bears shot their best round on the final day, but was never quite in contention to advance.
This was Cal Women’s Golf’s 3rd trip to the NCAA Championships in 4 years. The expectation would be a return next year given the amount of talent and experience that are returning. Maybe the Golden Bears can find their way to the top 8 next year. Three Pac-12 schools - Stanford, Arizona State, and USC made the match play this year; Oregon finished 24th for last place.
CAL RESULTS POS /PLAYER / RD 1 / RD 2 / RD 3 / TOTAL / TO PAR
22 /Marthe Wold / 77 / 76 / 74 / 227 / +11
73 / Lucia Gutierrez / 79 / 79 / 77 / 235 /+19
T81 / Maria Herraez / 80 / 80 / 77 / 237 / +21
T85 / Jiyoon Jang / 88 / 75 / 75 / 238 / +22
T85 / Marianne Li / 83 / 76 / 79 / 238 / +22
Lastly, Pac-12 continues to the “Conference of Champions” as Arizona State Sun Devils won the 2017 NCAA Women’s Golf Championship in match play final over Northwestern - ASU’s 8th NCAA titles which is more than every other schools. ASU knocked Stanford out in the semifinal to prevent Stanford from breaking their tie with UCLA for the most NCAA championships. Sun Devils’ senior Monica Vaughn won the NCAA individual championship on Monday with the best score after the three rounds of stroke play.
Cal Women’s Crew looks to repeat in the NCAA Championships
Friday’s Races Video: NCAA
Stats for the entire weekend: LINK
From Mercer Lake in New Jersey (West Windsor near Princeton), California Golden Bears will look to repeat as NCAA Champions this weekend. In a location flip from last year, the Cal women’s will be rowing at the site of Cal men’s triumph as IRA national champs. Coming up next week from Lake Natoma in Sacramento, Cal men will look to win at the site of Cal women’s NCAA victory last year.
The NCAA race consists of three events - Varsity 4, 2nd Varsity 8, and Varsity 8. The team championship will be crowned to the school with the top cumulative points across the three events (tie-breaker to the team that place higher in the Varsity 8 race). Team score points based on descending order from their finish in the finals on Sundays. Varsity 8 and 2nd Varsity 8 races weigh 3 and 2 times that of the Varsity 4 results. In other words, even if Cal places 2nd behind Washington in both V4 and 2V8, a V8 win over Washington would still give the Golden Bears a repeat championship.
Cal Women’s Crew are seeking their 4th NCAA Championship (and 5th team championship in program history when also counting the 1980 National Women’s Rowing Association title). Golden Bears have won it all in 2005, 2006, as well as 2016 (check out my CGB recap of that event). Cal graduated last year’s (and 2x) Pac-12 rower of the year in Kendall Chase, but returned plenty of talent nonetheless to be one of the favorites this weekend.
On Friday, the Bears will look to win (or at worst finish 2nd) in their heats in the morning to go straight to the semifinal on Saturday morning. Should the Bears somehow falter, they will have to race again on Friday afternoon in the repechage.
Varsity 8 will race in the 6th event of the day at around 6:12 AM PT. 2nd Varsity 8 will race in the 10th event of the day at around 7 AM PT. Varsity 4 will race in the 14th event of the day at 7:48 AM PT.
Cal is ranked 2nd in all three races behind the Washington Huskies. Golden Bears Varsity 8 defeated Washington up in Seattle but Washington swept all three races at the Pac-12 Championship from Lake Natoma two weeks ago. The pivotal “rubber” race between the two West Coast powers should decide the NCAA title this weekend.