Sunday, May 14, 2017

A Pac-12 Title For Peter Simon

A Pac-12 Title For Peter Simon
Howard Lao/Pac-12
Peter Simon became the first Golden Bear to win a conference shot put crown since Dave Porath in 1981.

A Pac-12 Title For Peter Simon

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EUGENE, Ore. – As the final competitor in the men's shot put at the Pac-12 Championships Saturday afternoon, Cal's Peter Simon stood in second place with one last throw left. The junior clearly made the most of his opportunity, unleashing a lifetime-best effort of 64-9.25 to capture the conference title, becoming the first Golden Bear to claim the honor in 36 years.

Simon led the field through four rounds before USC's Nicholas Ponzio moved ahead. When it came time for his last final throw, Simon needed an improvement of seven inches to retake the lead and win the event. He did that and more, with his mark being the best for a Cal shot putter since Rhuben Williams' 64-9.75 in 2004. Simon's previous PR was 63-8.25 set at the Big Meet earlier this season. Dave Porath, in 1981, was the last Cal thrower to win the shot put at the conference meet.

"Peter's last winning throw was a big PR in an epic competition that saw the order change throughout the day," Director of Track & Field Tony Sandoval said. "To win it all on his last throw just after Nick Ponzio's PR was spectacular."

Simon was not the only Bear to score in the shot as McKay Johnson took fourth with a throw of 60-7.25.

Two other Bears also earned their spots on the podium Saturday. First, Trent Brendel came from the middle of the pack and claimed runner-up status in the men's 10,000 meters with his time of 29:20.52. Then, Bethan Knights took third in the women's 10K, crossing the line in 33:30.13.

In the men's 3000-meter steeplechase, Takeshi Okada (8:59.66) and Max Leach (9:04.33) finished fifth and sixth, respectively. Overall, the Cal men stand in third place with 36 points, which also includes Tyler Brendel's third-place showing in the decathlon from last weekend. The Cal women have six points from Knights with more opportunities on the horizon.

While a number of Pac-12 champions were determined on Saturday, much of the day was spent on qualifying heats for Sunday finals. Leading the way for the Bears is Ashtyn Davis, who posted the fastest time of the day in the men's 110-meter hurdles, running 13.65. The time equaled his PR, but the wind was just over the allowable (2.3 mps).

In the men's 400-meter hurdles, Paramveer Chohan posted the second-fastest qualifying time (52.42), and he will be joined in the final by Connor Meech, who was clocked in 52.48. Thomas Joyce (3:46.83) and Garrett Corcoran (PR 3;46.98 will be racing Sunday in the men's 1500 meters, Josh Lewis advanced in the 800 meters (1:51.95), and Cal's 4x100 relay qualified for the final.

Among the Cal women, Jordyn Colter (2:07.02) and Rebecca Croft (2:07.78) reached the 800-meter final, as did Marissa Williams in the 1500 meters (4:24.37). In addition, the 4x100 relay qualified fifth.

Two Bears competed in finals, with Megan Bordes taking 10th in the 3000-meter steeplechase (10:53.05) and Ashley Anderson finishing 15th in the long jump (18-1.75w).

"Overall, it was a good day with most who should have advanced doing so under some intermittent heavy rain and cold throughout the day," Sandoval said.

On Sunday, field events get underway at 12:45 p.m., with running events starting at 3 p.m. The Pac-12 Network will televise the meet live from 3-6:30 p.m.
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