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Cal Track & Field: Camryn Rogers Wins In Canada; Mykolas Alekna Breaks College Mark

Both shine in championship meets in their homelands of Canada and Lithuania.

Former Cal star Camryn Rogers, in her first competition since winning her third straight NCAA title, captured the women’s hammer throw at the Canadian Track and Field Championships at McLeod Park in Langley, BC on Saturday.

Rogers, 23, got an early challenge from fellow Olympian Jillian Weir but wound up with the afternoon’s three longest throws, including the winning mark of 247 feet, 1 inch (75.33 meters).

Meanwhile, Cal freshman Mykolas Alekna broke the all-dates collegiate discus record with a throw of 226-4 (69.00) to win the Lithuanian national championships at Centrinis Stadionas in the city of Šiauliai.  

Mykolas Alekna and dad Virgilius

Mykolas Alekna and father Virgilius, a two-time Olympic gold medalist

Alekna, 19, set the college record twice as a freshman this season. Saturday's mark establishes an all-dates college record, meaning he set the record outside the college season. His previous best was 225-6 (68.73) at the Pac-12 championships. 

His latest mark places him No. 5 in the world this year and elevates him to No. 47 on the all-time world list.

Alekna's father, Virgilius, is a two-time Olympic champion in the event with a best of 242-5 (73.88) that ranks No. 2 all-time. He was 28 years old when he delivered that throw.

Both Rogers and Alekna will return to the U.S. next month to compete at the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

Rogers, who owns the Canadian (and collegiate) record of 254-10 (77.67), trailed after the first round when Weir, a 29-year-old former Oregon athlete, threw 239-10 (73.12).

Rogers regained the lead with a throw of 242-8 (73.97). She then improved upon that on each of her next two attempts, going 246-8 (75.18), then her winning toss of 247-1 (75.33), the sixth-longest of her career.

Weir, whose personal best is 238-4 (72.64), could not improve on her initial attempt and finished second.

Earlier this week, Rogers was named Cal’s female winner of the 2022 Pac-12 Tom Hansen Conference medal, given annually to a male and female athlete from each conference school for achievement in scholarship, athletics and leadership.

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Past Cal female winners of the award include the likes of track and field star Alysia Johnson, swimmers Abbey Weitzeil and Natalie Coughlin, basketball players Kristine Anigwe and Layshia Clarendon, and softball player Valerie Arioto.

Elijah Hicks, a senior defensive back on the football team, was Cal’s male recipient.

Presented every year since 1960-61, the award was renamed in 2009 to recognize Hansen, who served 26 years at Pac-12 commissioner.

Rogers is a three-time NCAA champion (2019, 2021, 2022) and three-time Pac-12 champion (2019, 2021, 2022) in the hammer throw. She completed her Cal career with the 11 longest throws in collegiate history.

USC’s male medal winner was Earnie Sears III, an eight-time All-America high jumper who is the son of former Cal basketball player Earnie Sears.

*** On Sunday at the British Athletics Championships in Manchester, England, Cal junior Anna Purchase placed fifth in the women's throw with a mark of 209-9 (63.95).

 Purchase, who was seventh at the NCAA meet earlier this month, would have won the British title by matching her personal best of 231-8 (70.61).

*** In action involving Cal athletes at the USA Championships, Amelia Flynt won the under-20 shot put title Saturday with a throw of 51-0 1/4 (15.55 meters).

Amelia Flynt

Amelia Flynt

She placed fifth in the discus on Friday. Flynt, who just completed her freshman season, threw 161 feet, 0 inches (49.07 meters).

At the senior nationals, 35-year-old Cal grad Inika McPherson — a 10th-place finisher at the 2016 Rio Olympics — finished fourth in the high jump at the 6-1 1/2 (1.87 meters). McPherson needed a top-three finish but also a clearance of 6-5 (1.96) in order to qualify for the World Championships.

Cover photo courtesy of the Pac-12 Conference

Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo