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Pac-12 Track & Field: Another Record for Mykolas Alekna; Women Nab Third Place

The freshman discus star from Lithuania crushes his month-old NCAA mark

Freshman Mykolas Alekna shattered his own collegiate record in the men’s discus and the Cal men’s and women’s teams completed their best performances in years at the Pac-12 Track and Field Championships at Oregon’s Hayward Field on Sunday.

Alekna threw 225 feet, 6 inches (68.73 meters), eclipsing his month-old record of 222-0 (67.68) and climbing to No. 2 on the 2022 world list, trailing only reigning Olympic champion Daniel Stahl of Sweden.

Mykolas Alekna celebrates his Pac-12 victory

Mykolas Alekna celebrates his victory.

His victory was the third in as many days for the Bears in throwing events, on the heels of Camryn Rogers winning her third women’s hammer throw title and Josh Johnson claiming the men’s shot put.

It had been 13 years since the Bears claimed three titles at the Pac-12 meet, indicative of impressive showing by both the women’s and men's squads.

The Bears’ women finished third with 82 points, behind champion Oregon and runner-up Colorado, a leap from ninth place a year ago. Cal hadn’t finished as high at the Pac-12 meet since a third-place effort back in 1995.

The Cal men wound up sixth with 85 points in a competition won by Oregon for the 15th year in a row. A year ago, the Bears were 10th and last in the men’s race, scoring just 31 points.

Over three days at Eugene, Cal athletes established 15 personal bests and had 12 top-3 podium finishes.

"I'm over-the-top proud of (them)," coach Robyne Johnson told the Cal Bears website. "We had a full team effort and got it done both on the field and the track."

Alekna, the 19-year-old Lithuanian whose father Virgilius is a two-time Olympic champion, had three throws beyond the nine-year-old meet record of 214-7 (65.41) by UCLA’s Julian Wruck.

He also eclipsed Wruck's non-collegiate, exhibition mark of 223-7 (68.16), and set a world record for his age group. 

Teammate Iffy Joyner was third at 185-5 (56.53) and shot put champ Johnson claimed fifth place with a personal-best of 183-7 (55.97).

Ezinne Abba, left, sprints toward the finish line.

Ezinne Abba left, sprints toward the finish line.

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Senior Ezinne Abba assembled a terrific day, placing second in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes and helping the Bears’ 4x100 relay to fourth place. Abba ran 11.13 in the 100 — just 1/100th of a second off her school record — and clocked a personal-best 22.91 in the 200, improving her own No. 2 ranking on Cal’s career list.

The foursome of Jada Hicks, Abba, Stevens and Aysha Shaheed ran 44.22 in the relay, off their school-record mark of 43.99 earlier this season.

In the women’s discus, junior Jasmine Blair finished second with a personal-best throw of 187-10 (57.26), that improves her all-time No. 2 Cal mark. She is now just 13 inches behind school-record holder Kelechi Anwanyu from 2007.

Cal’s men and women combined for eight top-three podium finishes in the throwing events.

Senior Hawa Wague took second place in the women’s high jump with a clearance of 5-9 1/2 (1.76) and two Cal athletes scored in the women’s triple jump, with junior Asha Fletcher taking fourth at 41-6 1/2 (12.66) and sophomore Busola Akinduro sixth at 40-10 1/2 (12.46).

Sophomore Jada Hicks, seeded ninth in the 100 hurdles final, dashed to fifth place in a personal-best of 13.34 that ranks No. 3 in Cal history.

On the men’s side, junior Jai Williams was third in the high jump with a personal-best of 6-11 (2.11).

Both men’s relays finished fifth, with the 4x400 team of Hakim McMorris, Josh Keller, Will Sornberger and Henry Larkin clocking a three-second season-best time of 3:07.20. The time doesn't crack the Bears' all-time top-10 but is the program's fastest at least since 1996.

The 4x100 foursome of Kamau Carlisle, George Monroe, Mason Magnum and David Foster matched its season best at 39.91.

Other Cal men who scored points Sunday included sophomore Garrett MacQuiddy, who was eighth in the 1,500 with a personal-best of 3:41.33, good for No. 7 all-time at Cal).

McMorris was fifth in the 110 hurdles (14.26), senior Moises Medrano was sixth in the 800 (1:50.80) and sophomore Sornberger was sixth in the 400 hurdles (a personal-best 51.85).

Cover photo of Pac-12 discus champion Mykolas Alekna by Derrick Tuskan

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