Mykolas Alekna set a new facility and meet record in the discus at the NCAA West Preliminary.
Alekna, MacQuiddy Headed To NCAA Outdoor Championships
SACRAMENTO – California track & field qualified another two athletes to the NCAA Outdoor Championships on Friday, bringing its total to 10 after three days of competition at the NCAA West Preliminary.
Starting off the day was none other than star sophomore Mykolas Alekna, who entered the competition as co-owner of the West Preliminary discus record. The reigning world leader and collegiate record-holder started off his series with a throw of 66.34m (217-8) to reset that meet record and take the lead for good before improving on his final throw to 67.75m (222-3), which also set a new Hornet Stadium facility record. With a job well done in the qualifying round, Alekna will next turn his focus toward winning his first NCAA title, which eluded him by just two centimeters in his freshman campaign.
Following Alekna’s triumph came another qualifying performance from junior Garrett MacQuiddy. Cal’s top 1500m runner had reached the second round of competition at each of the previous two years’ regional preliminaries but had yet to advance further to the NCAA Championships. This time, however, he had no intention of missing out, finally punching his first career NCAA ticket with a time of 3:50.08.
MacQuiddy, who at times found himself boxed in by other runners but nevertheless pulled out a gutsy performance to clinch the final qualifying spot in his heat, was all smiles after the race. “I’m tired,” he said with a laugh. “I’m looking forward to the flight to Austin with the rest of the crew. We have a massive group going so far, so I’m really happy with that. Overall, I’m just looking forward to the meet – I haven’t been there before and I don’t know the atmosphere, but I’m really looking forward to the experience.”
Senior Jai Williams also competed for Cal in the high jump after reaching the NCAA West Preliminary for the second straight year, reaching a top height of 2.04m (6-8.25), while the 4x400m relay squad of Will Sornberger, Josh Keller, Aiden Lippert and Henry Larkin combined for a time of 3:08.26 in the quartet’s first time running together as a group.
Day Two Results (Men)
Discus: 1. Mykolas Alekna 67.75m/222-3 (Facility Record) (Meet Record)
High Jump: T31. Jai Williams 2.04m/6-8.25
1500m: 17. Garrett MacQuiddy 3:50.08 (Q)
4x400m: California (Will Sornberger, Josh Keller, Aiden Lippert, Henry Larkin) 3:08.26
Cal’s women will close out the NCAA West Preliminary tomorrow, beginning with the women’s high jump at 2:30 p.m.
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