Cal had a victory just three hours into the three-day Pac-12 Track and Field Championships at USC, but no Golden Bear finished higher than third place the rest of the weekend.
After Camryn Rogers’ repeat victory in the women’s hammer throw on Friday, junior decathlete Hakim McMorris provided the most drama by a Cal athlete.
For six events, McMorris looked like the Pac-12’s best.
But the decathlon requires excellence in 10 events over two days, and a no-height in the pole vault dropped McMorris out of contention for the Pac-12 title.
McMorris led by 202 points after Friday’s five events and pushed his advantage to 266 when he won the 110-meter hurdles to open the competition on Saturday. That was his fifth win over the first six events.
He still led by 147 points after finishing sixth in the discus with a throw 16 feet off his best. But it was the pole vault that did in McMorris’s designs on the conference crown.
He failed three times to clear his opening height of 12-5 1/2 and fell to third place in the standings. Oregon’s Max Vollmer climbed from second to first and held to that, ultimately winning with a score of 7,638 points.
McMorris closed with an eighth-place finish in the javelin then ran a personal-best of 4:42.61 to finish fourth in the 1,500 meters. He wound up with 6,936 points — off his best of 7,259 in 2019 when he was second at the Pac-12 championships.
Had McMorris merely cleared his opening height, which was nearly 22 inches off his best, he would have earned second place. Instead, that went to Washington’s Oliver Thorner with 7,388 points.
Cal’s men finished 10th (last) place with 31 points while Oregon won its 14th consecutive Pac-12 team title by easily outdistancing USC, 185-137.
The Bears’ women scored 43 points to wind up ninth place out of 12. USC pulled away to beat Oregon, 162.5-151, for its third straight team title.
Aside from Rogers, no Cal athlete finished in the two two in any event. Here are other top-six finishers for the Bears over the weekend:
— Josh Johnson was fifth in the men's shot put at 62-8 3/4
— Annie Boos was sixth in the women's 3,000 steeplechase in 10:16.45, a season best
— Jai Williams was sixth in the men's high jump, clearing a personal-best 6-7 1/2
— Kamau Carlisle was sixth in the men's long jump at 23-11 1/2
— Iffy Joyner placed third in the men’s discus with a throw of 180-11
— Deshae Wise — who this week was honored with the Tom Hansen Conference Medal, which is awarded to one outstanding senior male and female student-athlete at each Pac-12 school — was third in the 100 hurdles with a time of 13.26
— The women’s 4x100 relay team of Ezinne Abba, Maisie Stevens, Sonia Redon and Wise ran fourth at 45.14
— Hawa Wague, a transfer from Houston who was seeded eighth, placed fifth in the women’s high jump with a season-best clearance of 5-8 3/4
Cover photo of decathlete Malik McMorris in the hurdles by John McGillen
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo