There are plenty of events on campus this weekend. Yours truly is looking forward to check out several of these events as I happen to be back in campus this weekend. This may hopefully translate to more insightful reports on Rugby, Baseball, and probably Women’s Tennis next week.
Of course, plenty of Golden Bears are also in action away from the typical Bear Territory, between Beach Volleyball down at Stanford to Men’s Tennis at the Arizona schools. We shall start with the 5 Bears looking to win individual NCAA championships from Texas A&M this weekend.
5 Bears at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships
The first group of Golden Bears that can win a NCAA national championship in 2018 for Cal are the following 5 Track and Field athletes: Ashtyn Davis, Tuomas Kaukolahti, McKay Johnson, Bethan Knights and Lauren Martinez. They will be competing at Texas A&M for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships this weekend.
Senior Ashtyn Davis is probably the most familiar name on the list for most Cal fans, and mainly for his time on the Cal Football team. The primary kickoff returner for the Bears for the last two years have been a hurdling star. Davis is coming off back-to-back MPSF indoor 60 meter hurdles titles. He matched his personal best time of 7.71 second in defending that title. He currently owns the program’s 3rd best time (set by him at the NCAA last year).
Ashtyn Davis is Cal's latest two sport athlete to find success on the football field and on the track. This weekend Davis became back-to-back MPSF champion in the 60m Hurdles #GoBears pic.twitter.com/PCgHXU8Px7— Cal Athletics (@CalAthletics) February 26, 2018
On the other side of Cal experience is first year Finnish transfer Tuomas Kaukolahti who is a sophomore in eligibility. Tuomas won the MPSF triple jump title in dominant fashion (by 2 feet) with a 53-5.50 inches jump.
The last men on the quintet is redshirt freshman McKay Johnson. Johnson took 2nd place at the MPSF championships. Johnson already has the top two shotput throws in school history with 64-5.5 being the record.
On the women’s side, MPSF pole vaulting champ Lauren Martinez actually had to improve on her conference winning vault to qualify for the NCAA. She did that at the end of the MPSF championship two weeks ago. The vault of 13-9.25 gave her a top 12 (tie for 11th) vault in the country to qualify.
After the MPSF Championship, @Lauren_MarieM competed in a last chance qualifier to try to earn a berth in the NCAA Championship...— Cal XC/Track & Field (@CalTFXC) February 25, 2018
AND SHE DID! Lauren vaulted a school record 14-1.5 which is the 11th best mark in the NCAA this year! pic.twitter.com/n3pgidGT5V
Cal cross country star senior Bethan Knights will also be racing in College Station. The senior actually qualified for the 5000m at the season opening meet in Washington. As the quick interview showed below, the senior from England was quite thrilled about this. Knights is a veteran of both NCAA Cross Country (in the fall) and Track and Field (in the spring) championships.
Below is a better look at the Cal women’s track and field contingent with their coach Shayla Houlihan (Cal’s Cross Country head coach and an assistant for the Track and Field season).
NCAA SCHEDULE – All times PT
Friday, March 9
Men’s 60m Hurdles – Semifinals – 4:55 p.m.
Men’s Shot Put - 5:20 p.m.
Women’s 5000m - 6:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 10
Women’s Pole Vault - 2:00 p.m.
Men’s Triple Jump - 3:00 p.m.
Men’s 60m Hurdles - 3:10 p.m.
Collin Morikawa wins Querencia Cabo Collegiate, Cal Men’s Golf finishes 2nd behind No.1 Oklahoma State
Cal junior Collin Morikawa deservedly has earned plenty of national praise this week after a dominant, school record breaking win at the Querencia Cabo Collegiate, played against some of the best programs in this country from San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico. Morikawa shot a -16 in the 54 hole event for the school record.
Golf Channel had high praises for Collin Morikawa in naming him on a very short list of potential future pro, praising in particular his ability to close in the last round.
Yesterday @GolfCentral was talking about the best college players in the country and, yep, they were talking about Collin Morikawa of #Cal #GoBears #GolfChannel @ryanburr @SBurkowskiGC pic.twitter.com/cxwZ3foEMV— Cal Men's Golf (@CalMensGolf) March 8, 2018
Morikawa was tied with Oklahoma State’s Wolff going into the 3rd and final round but quickly jumped out to a three stroke lead and held on. Morikawa was also a part of the four way finish for 1st place at Cal’s last tournament from Palm Desert, CA; so this marks back-to-back individual tournament titles for him.
Morikawa is on the verge of being selected for the prestigious Arnold Palmer Cup team for the 2nd straight year. Last year, he helped Team USA wins this amateur Ryder Cup style competition against Team International.
Golden Bears as a team was competing against the top ranked Oklahoma State for the team title. Bears had a lead at the midway point of the tournament but the Sooners closed the back halves of the 2nd round stronger and had a better 3rd round to get that win.
As a team, the Bears will rest for a couple of week before a local tournament, hosted by Stanford - The Goodwin will tee off.
Junior Marianne Li is leading Cal Women’s Golf
On the women’s side, junior Marianne Li (who made the NCAA championship as an individual as a freshman) had another top 25 finish for the Golden Bears. As a team, the Bears got bit by the injury bug as of late with both Jiyoon Jang (last year’s starter) and Maria Herraez (who had to pull out of the Bears’ last tournament after a round) both out.
After four straight top-25 finishes Marianne Li divulges what’s been working for her! pic.twitter.com/dLvtduzriO— Cal Women's Golf (@CalWGolf) March 7, 2018
On the bright side, freshman Sofia Lundell has been quite solid in her debut season. Lundell tied senior teammate Marthe Wold for 37th at the Meadow Club Women’s Collegiate last week. As a team, the Bears finished 10th out of 16.
Bears will also have a couple of weeks off before a tournament from the San Diego area.
Cal Women’s Water Polo is No.1 for the 1st time since 2000
After defeating No.1 Stanford in dramatic fashion last week, Cal Women’s Water Polo (13-3, 1-0 in MPSF) has gained Co-No.1 ranking in one of the polls. This marks the first time for the program since 2000.
Cal Women’s Water Polo has yet to finish the year as the top team in the country. Maybe 2018 can be that special year for the squad. Bears will immediately face a tough challenge this Saturday from UCLA. The Bruins defeated the Bears two weeks ago, 7-5, in the 3rd place match of a tournament.
Pac-12 Play starts this weekend for Lacrosse, Women’s Tennis, and Men’s Tennis
Coming off a home win versus Robert Morris on Monday, Cal Lacrosse (4-2) will travel to Oregon (Friday) and Colorado (Sunday) this weekend to kick off the inaugural Pac-12 Lacrosse play.
Pac-12 play starts at home for Cal Women’s Tennis (4-4) against USC (today) and UCLA (Friday). Bears faced both in the annual non-conference dual down in LA a few weeks ago and lost both. Given the youth on the squad, a dramatic improvement over the past couple of weeks is actually not that farfetched.
On the road instead, Cal Men’s Tennis (4-4) will visit the Arizona schools to open Pac-12 play. Bears will visit the Sun Devils and Wildcats on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Another young but talented Cal team, it will not surprise me if the Bears just flip a switch and go on a winning streak at any point this year.