Stokke, Morrison to Participate in NCAAs

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Even the competitions are bigger in Texas, especially for two of the three athletes the Cal track and field team is sending to College Station, Texas. The NCAA Indoor Championships will be the last collegiate indoor meet ever for two seniors.

Seniors Allison Stokke and Mike Morrison look to end their indoor careers with an emphatic finish in the pole vault and heptathlon, respectively, at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium.

The majority of the team was at the Cal Outdoor Opener in Edwards Stadium last Saturday. Not Stokke, however. She was across state lines, posting her provisional qualifying height of 13-11.75 at the UW Last Chance Qualifier in Washington.

Her previous best of 13-7.75 would likely not have been good enough for an NCAA bid.

"I was really excited to get the opportunity to go," Stokke said. "I was a lot more confident going into that meet than I've ever been. It was more a feeling of relief when I made it.

"I knew I was going to get it together, and I'm glad I got to go to that meet and show that I could."

Not only was it her last chance to qualify, but she did it in style, breaking Katie Morgan's school record of 13-9.25, set in 2009. Her mark vaulted her way up the national rankings into 10th place in a timely fashion.

"She's had some great practices. She's stronger, fitter, faster; it's sort of a no-brainer," coach Tony Sandoval said. "It wasn't if it was going to happen, it was when."

The key for Stokke this season has been staying healthy. In a promising college career largely unfulfilled due to back problems, the last time she made it to NCAAs was for the outdoor championship two years ago.

"In the past, she'd be able to vault for a day and then she couldn't for a few days, so she was kind of a part-time vaulter," Sandoval said. "I think this year she's done a really good job in the offseason quieting that down. She's had more chances to practice and that's certainly helpful."

Morrison, has also been playing a game of catch-up to participate in this weekend's heptathlon showdown. He posted a winning automatic qualifying score at the MPSF Championships two weeks ago to put himself in 11th place nationally.

Morrison, however, tore a tendon in his elbow at last year's NCAA Outdoor Championship during the javelin throw and, as a result, missed a large portion of training in the fall.

The lost time is most obvious in the technical and practice-intensive pole vault event, which has unsurprisingly given him the most trouble.

"If he can turn the pole vault around, he'll jump up two or three hundred points," Sandoval said.

According to Morrison, the elbow won't affect him as much in the indoor heptathlon as it would in the outdoor decathlon. The decathlon's three extra events, one of which is the javelin throw, are largely throwing events which make far more use of the elbow.

While the pair of veteran Bears will compete in their last indoor competition, it will be sophomore Hammed Suleman's triple jump debut on a national scene like NCAAs. His provisional qualifying mark is 52-10.75.


Byron Atashian covers track and field. Contact him at [email protected]

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