Summer 2013 ON THE COVER Dog-Tired Achiever
Lauren Hein has a dog back home named “Cholida,” which in Korean means “I am tired.” But the term just as easily could have applied to her. In addition to being a goalie on the Bears’ women’s soccer team, Hein recently graduated with honors in molecular and cell biology and worked at a nearby pet hospital. Now, she plans to attend vet school as the next step in her education.
FEATURES Triple Threat
When Hammed Suleman, Cal’s leading triple jumper, prepares to perform at a track & field meet, everyone in attendance seems to notice. Standing 6 feet, 3 inches tall, he simply commands the attention. Now after several injury-plagued seasons, including a redshirt year in 2011 that kept him on the sidelines for nine months, the rest of the track & field world should start to take notice, as well.
The second of a three-part series on Builders of Berkeley recognizes three families whose commitments to Cal Athletics are made as testaments to a future vision of Golden Bear excellence. Across the board, these families understand the importance of the student-athlete experience for the well-rounded individual and the vital role Intercollegiate Athletics plays in the spirit of the University of California.
You can describe Isaac Howell as a “morning person.” After four years of training as a swimmer at Spieker Aquatics Complex at 6 a.m., Howell traded his swimsuit for an oar and, as a fifth-year senior, made the trek from Berkeley to Briones Reservoir in Orinda for 7 a.m. men’s crew practice this past academic year.
The hard-working, do-it-all mentality that served Kyle Marsh so well on the pitch has translated well to the classroom. The soccer player has parlayed his academic success into a Pac-12 Postgraduate Scholarship that he hopes will give him, and in turn others, a deeper understanding of the environment in order to protect and preserve endangered species.
Builders Among Bears
The Base Paths Less Traveled
Strolling across campus in a flowing tank top, high-wasted cutoff shorts and a pair of Chuck Taylors with her long, blond locks falling from a hippie headband across her forehead, Britt Vonk looks less like a softball player and more like she came straight out of a late-1960s Berkeley postcard. For the Netherlands native and Golden Bear infielder, Cal has been a perfect fit.
DEPARTMENTS LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS.................................. 2 SIDELINE REPORT............................................................................... 4 WHERE ARE THEY NOW?................................................................. 16 SEASON REVIEWS............................................................................ 18 ATHLETIC DEVELOPMENT................................................................ 22 ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT............................................................... 34
from Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour
Dear Friend of Cal Athletics: ith the summer months upon us, many of our student-athletes are taking well-deserved breaks from the rigors of the academic and competitive year. Yet, despite the fact that collegiate competitions are on hiatus until late August, training and preparation for the fall and beyond continue for most of our Golden Bears in order to remain in top condition and be ready for what the upcoming seasons will bring.
Inside our offices at Cal Athletics, the hard work endures, as well. For us to grow as a department, we must constantly assess all facets of our operations to foster continuous improvement and look at what’s next. How can we do things differently? How can we do things better? This exercise is not for change sake, but for us to become more effective and efficient in everything we do.
And in so many ways, we are doing just that. Over the past year, we opened a beautifully renovated Memorial Stadium to the entire Cal community; helped launch the Pac-12 Networks; entered into a partnership with UREL around our Annual Fund solicitations; instituted our Gold Standard sales and service model; installed lights and a scoreboard at Evans Diamond, which helped attendance and ticket income double from 2012; revamped our facilities financing plan for Memorial Stadium and the Simpson Center into a more diversified strategy that takes advantage of new revenue streams; launched a facilities master plan; and so much more.
All of these actions are intended with one objective in mind – to provide our student-athletes with the resources and conditions they need to excel in every aspect of their collegiate experience. In 2012-13, we extended our streak of having at least one national champion to 40 years in a row with a title at the Collegiate Rugby Championship 7s tournament, a victory by our women’s varsity eight at the NCAA rowing regatta, and a combined six individual NCAA crowns in men’s golf and men’s and women’s swimming & diving. On the academic front, our women’s golf team achieved the highest team gradepoint average in our recorded history when it posted a 3.46 GPA for the fall semester. More stories about the aspirations and accomplishments of our student-athletes can be found in the following pages of this issue of the Cal Sports Quarterly. Since its founding nearly 150 years ago, our campus has been a leader in innovation, and Cal Athletics should be no different. It is something we must search out every day. For only as we improve our service and support to our student-athletes and the entire Cal community will we meet the challenges that lie ahead. I hope you have a great summer, and I’m looking forward to seeing you on campus when our teams return to the playing field this fall.
Issue 44 – Summer 2013 ATHLETIC ADMINISTRATION DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS: Sandy Barbour DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS/CHIEF OF STAFF: Teresa Kuehn Gould DEPUTY DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS/COO: Solly Fulp EXECUTIVE ASSOCIATE AD/ DIRECTOR OF ADVANCEMENT: Phil Esten SENIOR ASSOCIATE AD/INTERCOLLEGIATE SERVICES: Foti Mellis SENIOR ASSOCIATE AD/CFO: David Secor
EDITORIAL STAFF 349 Haas Pavilion Berkeley, CA 94720 EDITOR: Herb Benenson CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Scott Ball, Dean Caparaz, Doug Drabik, Miquel Jacobs, Anton Malko, Kyle McRae, Tim Miguel, Jonathan Okanes, Mara Rudolph DESIGN: Evan Kerr PHOTOGRAPHY: John Todd (GoldenBearSports.com), Michael Pimentel, Michael Burns, Richard Ersted, Tim Binning, Joel Capra, Kelley Cox, Todd Drexler/SE Sports Media, John Dunbar, Doug Drabik, Evan Kerr, Don Feria, Patrick Merrill, Nathan Phillips, Casey Valentine, and Russ Wright among others
ATHLETIC DEVELOPMENT OFFICE 195 Haas Pavilion Berkeley, CA 94720 (510) 642-2427 firstname.lastname@example.org
ATHLETIC TICKET OFFICE (800) GO BEARS For daily updates on Cal Athletics, including schedules, press releases and player profiles, visit the department’s official website at CalBears.com.
ON THE COVER A member of the Cal women’s soccer team, Lauren Hein plans to go to veterinary school after graduating earlier this year with a 3.98 GPA in molecular and cell biology and earning an Oscar Geballe Postgraduate Scholarship (photo by John Todd, GoldenBearSports.com).
Sandy Barbour Director of Athletics
General Manager: Mike Kohler (510) 643-4825 email@example.com The Cal Sports Quarterly is published four times per year by the University of California Athletic Department.
cal sports quarterly
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Bears Run National Championship Streak to 40 Years in a Row
olden Bear teams and student-athletes added to Cal’s long list of national championships in 2012-13, capped on June by a triumph by rugby at the National College Championship 7s tournament and a one-second victory by the women’s varsity eight at the NCAA rowing regatta. The first Bears to step to the top of the victory Rachel Bootsma platform this year were swimmers, who wrapped up their seasons in late March. Caitlin Leverenz (200yard individual medley), Rachel Bootsma (100 backstroke) and Elizabeth Pelton (200 backstroke) won in the women’s races, while Tom Shields captured both the 100 and 200 butterfly in the NCAA men’s meet. In golf, Max Homa finished three shots clear of the field at 9-under par to become the first Cal male to win medalist honors at the NCAA Men’s Golf Championships. Overall, Golden Bears have secured 85 national team titles in 15 different sports in their history, as well as a combined 264 crowns in swimming and track & field relays, tennis doubles, rowing boats and individual events.
Games are More Fun with a Group
here’s nothing like hearing the Victory Cannon fire, watching the California Marching Band play, and cheering your Cal football team onto victory with your best friends at beautifully renovated Memorial Stadium. Now you can make new memories and save money at the same time while sitting together with your friends, family or co-workers. The Cal football group tickets program is great for any event – alumni reunions, birthdays, anniversaries, church group and team outings, community organizations, employee get-togethers, and more. Groups of 20 or more receive a discounted ticket price, a video board welcome and other benefits. For pricing information and to book your group today, call our Gold Standard Sales and Service team at (800) GO BEARS (462-3277) and press 3 or visit CalBears.com/tickets.
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Cal Athletic Hall of Fame Growing by 8 Members
ight distinguished Golden Bears have been selected for enshrinement into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame, a list that includes Olympic medalists, NCAA champions, All-Americans, school-record holders and a conference player of the year. Formal induction ceremonies are scheduled for Friday, Oct. 18, at the annual Hall of Fame banquet at the Greek Orthodox Church Conference Center in Oakland, and the new inductees will be introduced at halftime of Cal’s Oct. 19 football game vs. Oregon State at Memorial Stadium. Information on tickets to the banquet, which is open to all Cal fans, can be found online at bigcsociety.org. Joining the Hall as the 28th induction class are: Rick Brown (men’s track & field, 1971-74) – four-time Pac-8 champion still holds school record in 800 meters after 41 years Candace Harper (softball, 19992002) – All-American third baseman was
key contributor to 2002 NCAA championship Sean Lampley (men’s basketball, 1998-2001) – a 2001 Pac-10 Player of the Year who was also voted MVP of the 1999 NIT when he led the Bears to the title Heather Petri (women’s water polo, 1997-99, 2001) – the only athlete in school history to win a medal in four different Olympics Trisha Stafford-Odom (women’s basketball, 1989-92) – a two-time first-team All-Pac-10 selection who led the Bears to their first two NCAA Tournament berths Todd Steussie (football, 1990-93) – 1993 first-team All-American offensive tackle enjoyed 14-year NFL career Staciana Stitts (women’s swimming, 2000-03) – 14-time All-American won a gold medal in the 400 medley relay at the 2000 Olympics T. Gary Rogers ’63 (Hall of Fame Service Award) – former Cal rower has been long-time contributor to the Golden Bear crew program
More Water Closer to Becoming a Reality
n May 15, the UC Board of Regents approved a plan to build a new aquatics facility on campus, a project that will benefit Cal’s swimming & diving and water polo programs, as well as the entire campus and area swimming communities that currently use Spieker Aquatics Complex. Fundraising for the $15 million center is well underway and work will begin once the entire amount has been committed. The pool will be located in a parking lot west of the Tang Center between Bancroft Way and Durant Avenue on a site approved by the campus Capital Projects Committee. As one of only three NCAA schools to sponsor four aquatics teams – men’s and women’s swimming & diving and men’s and women’s water polo – the Bears are constrained by a lack of water some competitions, which will free up time for recreational, PE with only the current Spieker pool available. Once the new facility and master’s swimming at Spieker. The majority of Cal’s meets opens, it will host the majority of the teams’ practices, as well as and matches will remain at Spieker Aquatics Complex.
2013 Football Home Schedule
Sat Portland State
Sept. 14 Sat Ohio State Oct. 5
Sat Washington State* TBA
Sat Oregon State
*Homecoming #Joe Roth Memorial Game Kickoff times and television selections for TBA dates will be announced either 12 or six days prior to each game
Single-Game Ticket On-Sale Dates Cal
Tuesday, July 23 at 9 a.m. ESP participants and 2013 season-ticket Community Encouraged to Buy Tickets Early holders (MBB/WBB/FB/VB) who are dos the Cal football season approach- Stadium,” said Rob Kristiniak, Cal’s direcnors at the $10K+ level es, tickets are expected to be in tor of ticket sales.
high demand for the 2013 season, specifically for the season opener against Northwestern, Ohio State two weeks later and the match-up with USC. Cal fans are encouraged to buy single-game tickets as early as possible to beat the rush. “With limited inventory, we’re calling on our donors and season-ticket holders to use their benefits and buy additional single-game tickets during their presale dates so we can own our turf and create a true home field advantage at Memorial
Current season-ticket holders, donors to Cal Athletics and letterwinners will receive priority access to buy single-game tickets before the general public. In addition, these groups will enjoy “locked in” pricing that will not fluctuate. Single-game tickets for the general public will be subject to dynamic pricing that will increase based on a variety of factors. For more information on single-game tickets, pricing and seating, visit CalBears.com/tickets.
Wednesday, July 24 at 9 a.m. 2013 season-ticket holders (MBB/ WBB/FB/VB) who are donors at the $1,200+ level
Thursday, July 25 at 9 a.m. 2013 season-ticket holders (MBB/ WBB/FB/VB), Cal Athletic letterwinners and donors at the $5,000 level who are not season-ticket holders Friday, July 26 at 9 a.m. Donors to Cal Athletics at $4,999 and under, e-newsletter subscribers, social media fans, CAA member presale (via promo code subject to dynamic pricing) Tuesday, July 30 at 9 a.m. General Public (if available)
REPORT Golden Bear Team Award Highest cumulative GPA Women’s Golf – 3.46 GPA Big C Most Improved Team Award Most improved team GPA Softball
Cal’s Golden Bear Award winners for having the highest GPA on their respective teams in 2012-13.
Golden Bears Saluted at Honors Luncheon
al Athletics recognized the best and brightest of its nearly 850 student-athletes with a host of awards and postgraduate scholarships at the annual Academic Honors Luncheon held May 7 at Haas Pavilion. The event is co-sponsored by the Big C Society and the Athletic Study Center. The Tom Hansen Conference Medal, presented to the top male and female senior student-athletes at each Pac-12 school, went to men’s swimmer Tom Shields and Layshia Clarendon of women’s basketball. Shields was a multitime NCAA champion during his career, including victories in the 100- and 200yard butterfly this year, while Clarendon led the Golden Bears to the Final Four for the first time in school history and earned the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete
of the Year award for women’s basketball this past season. Lindsey Ziegenhirt, a senior softball player, provided the student-athlete address to the crowd Lindsey Ziegenhirt and spoke about the unique experiences she has had at Cal over the past four years. “From the rigorous academic workload to the intense competition of the Pac-12 Conference, Berkeley student-athletes are continuously challenged,” Ziegenhirt said. “But challenges define us, and overcoming them gives us the courage to take on more. It’s this courage that separates Cal athletes from all the others.”
Summer in the Country for Several Golden Bear Teams
everal Cal teams are spending parts of their summer break traveling, training and competing internationally, including the Bears’ women’s water polo squad that will represent the United States at the World University Games in Russia. The first team to take to the air was women’s soccer, which left Berkeley immediately after spring final exams to visit Costa Rica May 20-29. Later this summer, the Cal women’s basketball team will travel to China Aug. 17-25. Perhaps the most significant trip will be the one taken by women’s water polo, which will be in Kazan, Russia, from July 6-17. The Bears will send a team of 13 and compete under the USA banner at 6
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Tom Hansen Conference Medal Outstanding senior male and female student-athlete Male – Tom Shields (men’s swimming) Female – Layshia Clarendon (women’s basketball) Neufeld Scholar-Athlete Awards Highest GPA among graduating student-athletes Male – Michael Perretta (men’s crew) Female – Lauren Hein (women’s soccer) Pac-12 Postgraduate Scholarships $3,000 awards for graduate work Isaac Howell (men’s swimming) Caitlin Leverenz (women’s swimming) Kyle Marsh (men’s soccer) Robin Rostratter (volleyball) Oscar Geballe Postgraduate Scholarships $5,000 awards for graduate work Lauren Hein (women’s soccer) Sara Isakovic (women’s swimming) Lindsey Ziegenhirt (softball) Jake Gimbel Prize and Anna Espenschade Award Exemplifying Golden Bear spirit Male (Gimbel) – Marin Balarin (men’s water polo) Female (Espenschade) – Caitlin Leverenz (women’s swimming) Joseph McDonnell Kavanagh Award Exception improvement in academic pursuits Tierra Rogers (women’s basketball)
the World University Games against squads from seven other countries. “To represent your country is a huge deal,” Cal coach Richard Corso said. “It’s not only a great trip for training and competition, but it gives a chance for the young players to play at a very important tournament.” Under NCAA rules, teams can take an international tour once every four years, and each of these trips were privately funded.
Walter A. Haas Jr. Community Service Award Contribution to community service Leilani Alferos (women’s gymnastics)
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Aspiring Veterinarian Lauren Hein Worked, Studied and Played Around the Clock at Cal
By Jonathan Okanes
auren Hein has a dog back home named “Cholida,” which in Korean means “I am tired.”
Looks like the residents at the Hein household may have been misidentified. Hein recently completed an impressive and exhausting career at Cal. In addition to being a goalie on the Bears’ women’s soccer team, Hein took a rigorous academic workload and graduated with honors with a degree in molecular and cell biology. In addition, she worked nearby an emergency pet hospital, oftentimes working late shifts and then showing up to soccer practice the next morning.
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“I’d have practice in the morning, go straight from practice to class, and then go straight from class to work. I was exhausted,” Hein said. “I took a lot of naps. Naps were the best thing ever.” Oh, and by the way, Hein also found time to study – a lot. She completed her degree with a 3.982 GPA, which earned her the Neufeld Scholar Athlete Award for having the highest GPA of any graduating female student-athlete on campus. Hein was also the recipient of an Oscar Geballe Postgraduate Scholarship, which recognizes devotion to Cal and the combination of scholarship and athletic competition. “Every athlete at Cal deserves recognition,” women’s soccer coach Neil McGuire said. “But as far as the combination of academic standards and character, I don’t think I’ve coached a
finer athlete than Lauren. She’s the unsung hero of Cal women’s soccer.” Hein fondly refers to her childhood home in Tustin, Calif., as “The Zoo.” She grew up with dogs, cats, turtles, snakes and rats, among others creatures. Hein said as early as age 7, she was telling people she wanted to be a veterinarian. One thing was for sure: Hein seemed destined to wind up in the medical field in some capacity. Her mother, Susan, is a nurse and her father, Mike, is an x-ray technician. Hein said she considered going to medical school when she was in high school, but when she got to Cal and started volunteering at the Berkeley Animal Shelter, it reinforced her childhood dream to become a vet. “I was surrounded by the health practice,” Hein said. “I knew I loved science and math, so medicine it was. I didn’t know if I wanted humans or animals. My mom always told me I was going to end up with animals. She could tell that I had a special passion for the animals.” During winter break of her freshman year, Hein got the opportunity to shadow a vet in Newport Beach, Calif., who was a friend of the family. That motivated her even more to get more experience. She joined the Cal Pre-Vet Club, and it was there she met another student working at PETS, an emergency animal hospital in Berkeley. Hein contacted the clinic and got a job as a tech assistant. Hein would either work from 4-midnight or 6 p.m.-2 a.m., making for some bleary-eyed 8 a.m. soccer practices. “I had people telling me I was incredibly crazy,” Hein said. “I would take one- or two-hour naps on the days I had work so those nights I wasn’t too exhausted. But there were sometimes I was so exhausted and they could see it. I lost a little bit of focus. It wasn’t something that concerned them because I always had the right attitude at practice. I busted my butt. Even if I only got four or five hours of sleep the night before, I was trying my hardest during conditioning.” Hein started seven games as a sophomore in 2010, but when Emily Kruger won the No. 1 job the following season, it became apparent her playing time was diminishing. Hein was the maid of honor at her sister’s wedding in September of last year, and with the preparations for that, along with her strenuous academic obligations, Hein decided not to play her senior season. “I think toward the middle of my junior year, I started to realize that soccer wasn’t my end-all,” Hein said. “Making sure I could get the grades I wanted and get the experience in order to continue as a vet was what was important. Soccer wasn’t stopping me from that. So soccer became fun. Not that it wasn’t fun before, but when the pressure was off that I don’t need to play to have fun, it was actually really nice.”
Hein’s retirement lasted until the second day of fall camp. Backup goalie Kat Messinger, a former club teammate of Hein’s, suffered a season-ending knee injury. Hein had already decided she was going to go visit the team that day. It ended up being a more permanent return. “I was talking to the “Every athlete at team, trying to figure out Cal deserves recog- how we were going to move forward. I rememnition. But as far ber thinking that I wish as the combination Lauren were still here,” of academic stanMcGuire said. “Then I dards and characsaw her walking through ter, I don’t think the gate.” Hein agreed to come I’ve coached a back for her senior year. finer athlete than She started one game Lauren. She’s the and shut out Nevada on unsung hero of Cal Sept. 23. It meant anwomen’s soccer” other season of juggling soccer, schoolwork and – head coach animals. Neil McGuire “I don’t understand how she did it,” Messinger said. “Not only was she saving animals, she would come to practice every morning and had the highest GPA in one of the toughest majors. Just from a personal standpoint, Lauren Hein is a person I aspire to be like academically and athletically. It’s inspiring to look at someone who worked so hard. For a number of us, she was a person to look up to.” Like her teammates, Hein made an impression on her co-workers as well. In the short time she volunteered at the Berkeley Animal Shelter, Hein was put in charge of mentoring new volunteers. She also got involved with the “Bad Rap” program, which focused on socializing pit bulls. Despite no professional experience, Hein immediately started performing a variety of duties as soon as she started her job at PETS. She restrained animals, placed catheters, administered injections and took X-Rays. “I hate to gush, but I thought she was really one of the most mature pre-vets I’ve worked with,” said PETS head registered vet technician Lisa Phoenix. “What she brought to us was just an amazing sense of teamwork. She was so easy to work with and so truly helpful. She was there to support the team. I was always disappointed when she had a soccer game and couldn’t work.” And Hein saw the team concept at PETS as well, comparing the dynamic at the animal hospital to the one she regularly saw on the soccer field. “It’s a team. There’s the receptionist, the techs and the doctor – and they all have to work together for a set goal of winning, which is saving the animal’s life,” Hein said. “I feel like the doctors are the goalies. As a goalie, I was always the one directing people where to go. I was the final end-all.” SUMMER 2013
Threat Hammed Suleman Has Overcome Injuries to Become One of the Best Jumpers in Cal History By Herb Benenson
healthy Suleman could become a figure on the triple jump scene for many years down the road. And after several frustrating seasons, including a redshirt year that kept him on the sidelines for nine months in 2011, Suleman appears headed towards such accolades. Suleman arrived at Cal after capturing the state high school triple jump title in 2009, and as a freshman in Berkeley, he was a conference finalist in both the triple jump and long jump. The following year, he captured the MPSF indoor title in the triple jump with a then-lifetime-best effort of 52-10.75. He later placed 12th at the NCAA Indoor Championships and expected much more out of himself once he turned his attention outdoors. However, a hard-to-diagnose ailment put Suleman on the shelf by mid-March 2011 with pain in his lower leg. After initially believing the injury was a stress fracture, then a muscle problem, Cal’s medical staff determined Suleman had nerve entrapment and soft tissue compression, which put pressure on a nerve and resulted in painful takeoffs. Although Suleman had success in the interim – he returned to become the 2012 Pac-12 runner-up in the long jump and also qualified for NCAA regionals in the triple jump – he just started coming around in 2013 after undergoing several surgical procedures to relieve tension in his leg.
When Hammed Suleman, Cal’s leading triple jumper, prepares to perform at a track & field meet, everyone in attendance seems to notice. Standing 6 feet, 3 inches tall, he simply commands the attention. And when he raises his arms and encourages others to start rhythmically clapping before he starts down the runway on his way to the sand pit, fans and competitors alike heed his wishes.
Suleman returns their participation with a smile, and the support appears to drive him to hop, skip and jump as far as he is able. He is engaged with the fans, and they with him. Through three competitive seasons at Cal, Suleman ranks as one of the best in school history in the triple jump, and for Hammed Suleman much of the 2013 season, he was No. 2 in the country in the event having leapt 53-4.50 at the Texas Relays in March. Yet that distance provides only a glimpse at what is possible for the junior out of Deer Valley High School in Antioch. “He has a great combination of speed and power,” director of track & field Tony Sandoval said. “If you look at triple jumpers, they get better with age. I see him as an elite international triple jumper down the road. I think the fact that we finally got him healthy is going to bode well for his future.” Given the inner drive he possesses to reach his potential, a 10
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“I love talking to kids and giving them my experiences and try to make it easier for them so they don’t make the same mistakes I did. I try to help them get the most of this position in their life, especially underprivileged kids. There are certain distractions in the community that can sidetrack you from what you need to do.”
One of the top jumpers in school history, Hammed Suleman believes he will only get better with time.
“I’ll give them encouragement and try to be a younger coach and kind of relate to them,” Suleman – Hammed Suleman said. “I have a good relationship with the teachers and the principal. It’s always a good feeling when I go back and feel welcome.” While a student at Deer Valley Continued from page 10 HS, Suleman took up track & field Suleman still has good and bad days, but overall, he believes because his older sister ran for the team. At first he tried a litthe disappointment of the past two years is behind him. tle bit of everything before an assistant coach encouraged him “It’s been a winding road, up and down,” Suleman said. “But to become a jumper. His first year, he managed only 16 feet in I’m still blessed to be here and trying to stay positive and live the long jump (“Nothing impressive,” he said). He improved to out every day the best that I can.” 22-6 in the long jump and 46 feet in the triple jump by the end In particular, Suleman’s 53-foot jump at the Texas Relays of his junior year, but he still wasn’t where he wanted to be. earlier this year assured him that he can do so much more. “I was so motivated to be the best that I can, that whole sum“It gave me a lot of confidence knowing that on that particu- mer I got on a regimen,” Suleman said. “I was on the track by lar jump, I put my hand back (on the landing), which took more myself running stairs. I couldn’t be on the bottom like I was the away from the jump,” Suleman said. “To have done that tells me year before. It really motivated me to see what I could do, to see I’m on the right track. I’m just staying positive.” how much work I could put in and see what the effects were.” Suleman continued his upward trajectory at the Pac-12 Adding to the incentive was a conversation Suleman had Championships. On the opening day, he captured the confer- with Cal associate head coach Ed Miller. Suleman asked if Cal ence title in the long jump with a distance of 25-11.50, and a would recruit him, and Miller replied that the Bears would day later, he was runner-up in the triple jump. In June, Suleman take a look once he reached 49-50 feet. qualified for the NCAA meet in the long jump, as well. In Sandoval’s words, Suleman “exploded” his senior seaSuleman’s natural upbeat attitude translates very well to his son, picking up an extra five feet in the triple jump and regsocial welfare major and intended career path. Although he istering a best of 51-2. Although Cal was late to get into the would like to train and compete after he graduates next year, a recruiting mix, Suleman eventually chose to become a Goldmaster’s degree in social work is a clear goal. en Bear and is taking advantage of his time in Berkeley. Not “I love talking to kids and giving them my experiences and only is he relishing the teaching he receives from his event try to make it easier for them so they don’t make the same coaches, but he constantly scours the internet for videos of mistakes I did,” Suleman said. “I try to help them understand triple jumpers to pick up as many tips as he can. certain things that they’re going through. I try to help them “Is it going to work for me? How does it work for them? I try get the most of this position in their life, especially under- to diagnose everything about it,” Suleman said. “What muscles privileged kids. How are you going to help yourself? How are are they using, are their arms parallel to their legs, how much you going to get better? What if this doesn’t work out? I try speed, what is their strength-to-weight ratio? I just try to break to give them the best advice that I can. There are certain dis- everything down. The triple jump is a very technical event. Do tractions in the community that can sidetrack you from what one little wrong thing and you feel so much pain. When everyyou need to do.” thing goes right, it feels very good.” Suleman speaks from the experience of regularly returning With one more season at Cal and hopefully many more comto his high school in Antioch and talking with members of the petitive years after that, Suleman hopes that the triple jump current track & field team about the challenges that lie ahead. feels good to him for a long time. SUMMER 2013
Kyle Marsh Hopes to Make the World a Safer Place by Better Understanding the Environment By Dean Caparaz ’90
he hard-working, do-it-all mentality that served Kyle Marsh so well on the pitch has translated well to the classroom. The soccer player has parlayed his academic success into a Pac-12 Postgraduate Scholarship that he hopes will give him, and in turn others, a deeper understanding of the environment in order to protect and preserve endangered species. A product of Santa Rosa High School, Marsh played for three seasons – and redshirted one year due to injury – on the Golden Bear team. He graduated with his degree in conservation and resource sciences this past May. Marsh came to Cal completely focused on soccer. He dreamed of someday playing professionally, as head coach Kevin Grimes’ lauded program has produced several players who are still active at the next level. Over the years, Marsh watched as many of his former teammates, including A.J. Soares, Servando Carrasco and Hector Jimenez, left Cal to become pros. A speedy midfielder/defender, Marsh appeared in a total of 38 games for the Bears and started 20 times. An injury sidelined him in 2010, forcing him to Kyle Marsh the sidelines when Cal produced arguably its best season in program history with a berth into the NCAA quarterfinals. Personally, Marsh had his most outstanding year in 2011, when he started 11 games and scored the first two goals of his career. This past fall, he started in nine of 15 games played and scored twice more – in a 4-1 win over Central Florida and a 5-0 rout of Houston Baptist. But over the years, his focus changed. Despite seeing many of his teammates 14
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Kyle Marsh (center) celebrates on Goldman Field with Cal teammates Tony Salciccia (10) and Kyle Lunt (23).
advance to the next level, Marsh realized that reaching the pro ranks was going to be a long shot. “That was my aspiration in the beginning,” Marsh said, “and obviously it shifted to a more realistic future for myself and something that I can control a little bit better with schoolwork and hard work than I could with soccer. Once I got here I found another passion. That’s when it started to shift a little bit more towards education and my classes. “Actually, it was a big shift,” Marsh admitted. “I was always super passionate about soccer, and that’s what pushes any athlete to be their best. And then when you find a passion in school, it’s pretty
similar, and you work as hard in both. Athletes are usually pretty competitive, so doing the best you can always is just kind of a mindset you’re stuck in.” Marsh worked in two different research positions as a senior. One entailed analyzing data about coyote activity over the previous four years. The other position was part of the Undergraduate Research Apprentice
Program (URAP), in which he assessed the quality and catalogued the sound recordings of East African Sunbirds for the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology as well as for the Ph.D. student he worked with. Marsh’s emphasis on his schoolwork resulted in him claiming Pac-12 All-Academic honorable mention notice in 2011 and 2012. He also earned the conference
scholarship, along with swimming’s Caitlin Leverenz, volleyball’s Robin Rostratter and Isaac Howell, who competed in swimming and crew. In collecting his Pac-12 award, Marsh rubbed shoulders with other high achievers in both the academic and athletic realms. “It’s pretty impressive,” Marsh said. “It makes me pretty proud to be part of this group of people.”
Like many newcomers in Berkeley, Marsh became aware of academic pursuits he didn’t know existed before arriving on campus. And a class he took as a freshman not only piqued his interests, but sent him in a direction that will shape his post-Cal career and inspired him to try to do his part of make the world a better place to live, a sentiment shared by so many others on campus. “In my freshman year I had a seminar class that was on environmental issues and green energy, and that kind of sparked my interest because I didn’t know that was an actual area of study until I got to college,” Marsh said. “And then that led to taking Biology 1B. My GSI (graduate student instructor) was a conservation biologist from Madagascar, and he was talking to me about his research and everything that he’d been doing. That definitely opened my eyes to a possibility that I didn’t know existed. It was definitely something that I was very interested in, and that’s shot me on this path.” With conservation biology serving as Marsh’s favorite area of concentration within his major, his “path” has led him towards protecting wildlife and the environment. “To be able to prevent a species from going extinct is a dream of mine that I will always strive for, and with the education I received here I know that it is possible,” he said. Now a young Cal alumnus, Marsh is spending his summer in Yosemite National Park, though he’s not sight-seeing, at least not in the conventional sense. He is assisting a Cal graduate student in her research of Dark-eyed Juncos, “which are these tiny birds,” March said. “We’ll be catching them, taking DNA samples, banding them and watching them. [We’re] doing a study on how clutch size (the number of eggs that a bird lays in one nesting) goes down or how clutch size changes as elevation changes.” Marsh hopes to take at least one year off from school to do research, prepare for the GREs and decide what he wants to pursue in graduate school before renewing his studies. “My ultimate goal is to earn a Ph.D. in biology or ecology,” he said. “After graduate school all I know is that I want to be using my knowledge to better our society’s understanding of our natural world and prevent species from going extinct.” SUMMER 2013
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Roy Jackson Loving His Role
By Kyle McRae
hen Roy Jackson was a high school senior at nearby St. Mary’s College High School in Berkeley, he was a standout linebacker on the school’s football team. By the time he had graduated from Cal in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in American studies, Jackson was a three-year letterwinner who had seen action at linebacker, safety, rush end and fullback. But those are far from the only roles the one-time walk-on has played. “When I came to Cal I always knew I wanted to do something in entertainment,” said Jackson, who eventually earned a football scholarship. It didn’t take long for Jackson to figure out that he wanted to become an actor. “The bug bit me,” Jackson said. “I found my calling and I knew what I wanted to do.” Although Jackson never officially changed his major to theater, dance and performance at Cal, it wasn’t long until he was taking drama classes and quickly immersed in the field. Jackson not only studied the craft on the Berkeley campus, but he also trained at the American Conservatory Theater and performed with the African-American Shakespeare Company in San Francisco. Now, Jackson can draw parallels between football and acting. “Playing football at Cal prepared me for getting on stage and going into an 16
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audition,” Jackson said. “When you’re on the field, you know there are 70,000 people in the stands, but you don’t see them or hear them because you’re just so tuned in to what you’re doing. Walking into an audition or being on stage or on set is similar.”
Roy Jackson in an episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
The multiple roles Jackson played while at Cal were just a beginning. After spending five months teaching English and doing some modeling work in Santiago, Chile, following graduation, the aspiring actor returned to the
United States and moved to the Los Angeles area in 2002. While he was there, like most aspiring actors, he did lots of jobs to make ends meet. “I’ve never gone to my tax lady with less than 6 or 7 W-2’s, ever,” said Jackson, who admitted that many of those were for jobs not in the acting profession. “Many days I looked at it and said ‘I have a degree from Berkeley and I’m doing this.’ But you do what you have to do to survive.” Finally in 2007, Jackson got his big break when he landed a role in the Ice Cube movie First Sunday and then did a series of television shows and movies. “At one point, people were telling me that it seemed like they were seeing me on TV every week,” Jackson said. There have been ups and downs but a mostly steady stream of work since, including a recent gig earlier this year on Law & Order: SVU, which films in the New York City area where Jackson moved recently. Jackson has more projects in the works and is positive about his future. “I always say choose something that you’re into and everything else will fall in place,” Jackson said. “Do what you love.” That’s something Jackson has been doing for a long time.
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Women’s Cross Country
al baseball, with up to five freshmen in its starting line-up, won five extra inning games and had six walk-off wins in 2013. The Bears, (23-31, 10-20), were led offensively by junior catcher Andrew Knapp, who batted .350 with a team-leading 16 doubles, eight home runs and 41 RBI. Knapp, a third-team All-American and second round draft pick, also paced Cal with 22 multiple hit games and 11 multiple RBI games. Two Bears who have bright futures are 6-7 freshman right-hander Ryan Mason, Cal’s No. 1 starter (5-3, 3.76 ERA), and freshman center fielder Devin Pearson (.302, eight doubles, two home runs, 17 RBI, seven stolen bases). Evans Diamond saw some major upgrades in 2013, as well, with the installations of lights and a new video scoreboard.
young Cal men’s crew program overcame several challenges throughout the season to earn podium finishes in four of the five grand finals and place third overall at the IRA National Championships in Lake Natoma in early June. Cal’s varsity eight finished fifth, while the Bears placed second in the varsity four, and third in the second varsity eight, freshman eight and open four. Earlier, Cal captured the Copley Cup at the San Diego Crew Classic and posted victories against Wisconsin and Oregon State in dual action. The Bears secured a Pac-12 title in the varsity four and finished second as a team at the conference championships in May. For 2014, Cal returns the entire varsity eight crew, including All-Pac-12 selections Cole Reiser and Jovan Jovanivic, and all but two in the second varsity eight boat.
al’s young squad, which featured only one senior and one junior in the regular lineup, showed great promise with top finishes in several races in the fall. Among their races, the Bears won the USF Invitational and the Hornet Jamboree, placed fourth at the Panorama Farms Invitational in Virginia, 10th at the Wisconsin Invitational, and eighth in the Pac-12 Championships. Sophomore Kelsey Santisteban represented Cal at the NCAA Championships in Louisville, Ky., after posting a season-best time of 19:15 in the 6,000-meter course in the NCAA Regionals. The second-year standout placed 70th overall at NCAAs. Santisteban earned AllPac-12 second-team honors after finishing ninth overall at the conference meet.
nder the direction of Mike Montgomery, Cal completed its winningest five-year stretch in more than 50 years with a 21-12 record. A top-two finish in the Pac-12 for the second consecutive season culminated with a third-round appearance in the NCAA Tournament. After opening with a victory over UNLV, Cal was eliminated by Final Four participant Syracuse, 66-60. Junior Allen Crabbe became Cal’s third Pac-12 Player of the Year in the last four seasons. A third-team NABC and Sporting News All-American, he averaged 18.4 points and 6.1 rebounds to also earn first-team All-Pac-12 honors. Crabbe declared for the NBA Draft following the season, ending his decorated collegiate career. The Bears welcome back four of five starters in 201314, including two-time All-Pac-12 guard Justin Cobbs, along with the addition of a top-20 recruiting class. Montgomery enters his 32nd year of collegiate coaching as the NCAA’s ninth-winningest active Division I coach with 656 victories.
he Bears capped another stellar season with an NCAA championship in the varsity eight in early June in Indianapolis. Coupled with a second-place finish by the second varsity eight and petite final win by the varsity four, Cal placed second overall as a team in the NCAAs – just two points shy of a team title. The Bears continued a remarkable run of six straight top-three finishes at the NCAAs and nine of the last 10. Guided by wins in the second varsity eight and varsity four, Cal earned its sixth consecutive Pac-12 team crown. Juniors Kara Kohler and Agatha Nowinski collected allleague honors for the second season in a row, while seniors Lynn Anderson and Maggie Simpson were named coaches’ association National Scholar-Athletes.
al finished third at the NorPac Tournament under 18th-year head coach Shellie Onsted and went 8-12 on the year. Sophomore Lara Kruggel was named to the NFHCA All-West first team and was tabbed the NorPac West Offensive Player of the Year after leading the Bears with 18 goals and 44 points. Kruggel finished 11th in the nation in points per game at 2.20 and already holds down the 10th position on Cal’s all-time points list at 67 with two seasons remaining. Junior Shannon Elmitt earned second-team All-West honors after tallying nine assists on the season, and senior Rachelle Comeau was named to the NorPac All-Tournament team. The Bears also featured nine players on the NFHCA National Academic Squad.
Men’s Cross Country
al’s young roster was comprised of several firstyear Golden Bears, including seven freshmen. Among their results during the fall, the Bears placed ninth at the Pac-12 Championships and 13th at NCAA West Regionals. Sophomore Chris Walden paced the team in two of the four events he competed in, placing 23rd overall in Virginia and 62nd overall at the NCAA Regionals. With top returner Collin Jarvis redshirting, Cal received contributions from freshmen Leland Later and Matt Carpowich, as well as first-year Bear in junior transfer Agustin Alva. The senior trio of Matt Petersen, Renaud Poizat (paced Cal with second-place finish in Sacramento) and Simon Schmidt also contributed to Cal’s lineup throughout the season.
espite a 3-9 final mark, Cal’s 2012 season was not without highlights as the Golden Bears returned to a renovated Memorial Stadium with much fanfare. Cal drew a sellout crowd of 63,186 to its first game back in Strawberry Canyon on Sept. 1, and although the Bears dropped a 31-24 decision to Nevada, there was tremendous enthusiasm about the arrival of football back in Berkeley. The highlight of the season came against UCLA when the Bears put together their best game with a 43-17 dismantling of eventual Pac-12 South Division champion Bruins on a night in which Memorial Stadium was rededicated. The most notable individual highlights included Keenan Allen becoming the school’s all-time leader in receptions and Brendan Bigelow’s 81-yard touchdown run in a hard-fought 35-28 loss at Ohio State that was the longest by an opponent in the stadium’s history.
he 2012-13 season turned into a record-breaking one that culminated in Cal winning the first Pac-12 regular-season title in program history and advancing to the NCAA Final Four with a 32-4 record. Head coach Lindsay Gottlieb was named a finalist for the Naismith National Coach of the Year award in addition to being named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year by the media after leading her team to a 17-1 conference record that included a 67-55 win at Stanford to end the Cardinal’s 81-game conference winning streak. The Bears earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament behind the play of senior Layshia Clarendon’s 16.4 points and 4.0 rebounds per game that ultimately led to her being selected No. 9 by the Indiana Fever in the 2013 WNBA Draft. Clarendon, as well as junior Gennifer Brandon, earned All-America honorable mention honors.
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al completed a historic season in 2012-13, so strong that despite falling in the NCAA Championships’ match-play semifinals, the Bears were still the nation’s No. 1 team according to final rankings by Golfweek and Golfstat. Cal set a modern-era NCAA record by winning 12 of 14 stroke-play events, including the strokeplay portion of the NCAA Championships. Michael Kim earned National Player of the Year honors and was joined as a first-team All-American by Max Homa and Michael Weaver. Joël Stalter and Brandon Hagy also earned second-team All-American recognition. Homa became Cal’s first-ever individual medalist at the NCAA Championships and added a Pac-12 individual title. Five players – Homa, Kim, Weaver, Stalter and Hagy – were individual medalists at least once during the season and earned All-Pac-12 honors. Head coach Steve Desimone was the National Coach of the Year and Pac-12 Coach of the Year.
he Golden Bears opened the season with their highest score in two seasons, a result that propelled them into the national top 25 for nearly half the year. Cal finished the regular season by setting the second-highest team score in program history in Haas Pavilion on Senior Night, a 196.525. At the Pac-12 Championships, where the Bears finished seventh, first-year head coach Justin Howell was honored with the Pac-12 Gymnastics Coach of the Year award, and freshman Serena Leong received the program’s first-ever Freshman/Newcomer of the Year title. Senior Mariesah Pierce and junior Alicia Asturias were named to the All-Pac-12 second team, while seven Bears earned Pac-12 All-Academic honors. The squad capped off its most successful season in recent history with its first team berth to NCAA Regionals since 2007, where Howell was recognized by his peers as the West Region Coach of the Year.
al ended the year with a winning record at 8-7-3 and with several Pac-12 accolades for performances on and off the pitch. Senior Tony Salciccia garnered an AllPac-12 first-team selection, while junior defender Ryan Neil, sophomore goalkeeper Kevin Peach and sophomore midfielder Seth Casiple collected second-team placement. Cal’s midfield general, Salciccia led the Bears in points (16), tied for first in goals (5) and ranked second in assists (6) – setting career highs in each category. Senior defender Ted Jones, sophomore defender Christian Dean and sophomore forward Stefano Bonomo earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention. Sophomore midfielder Omid Jalali (3.90 GPA) earned a Pac-12 All-Academic first-team spot, with Salciccia taking a position on the second team with six others gaining honorable mention status.
ead coach Nancy McDaniel’s team earned its 14th consecutive bid to the NCAA Regionals in 2013, where the Bears finished 18th with a youthful lineup that will return four of five regulars next season. Junior Nicola Rössler paced Cal with a top-25 finish at the Pac12 Championships and a top-40 showing at the NCAA Regional, finishing with a team-best 75.0 stroke average. Freshman Hannah Suh had a team-high six rounds of par or better and shot 75.3 in her first collegiate season that included a round at the NCAA West Regional where she shot a one-under 70. Suh led the Bears with two top-five finishes on the year, and her 69 at the Spartan Invite was the lowest round of the year for the Bears. Cal also had another freshman, Carly Childs, in the lineup as well as sophomore Morgan Thompson, who earned one top-five finish on the season.
enior attacker Megan Takacs ended her Cal career with another outstanding season, winning the MPSF Player of the Year award for the second straight year, as well as being named to the West All-Region first team for the second consecutive season. In the Bears’ final game, the semifinals of the MPSF Tournament, Takacs became Cal’s all-time leader in career goals, wrapping up her tenure with 148 goals. Fellow senior Melissa Humphrey paced the Bears with 29 assists, which ranked 24th nationally, and she wound up her career No. 2 on Cal’s all-time list with 74. Junior goalie Megan McGinnis, a first-team All-MPSF selection and ended the campaign sixth in the country in save percentage and 10th in total saves. Under the tutelage of head coach Ginger Miles, the Bears enjoyed a stretch of six straight games without allowing more than 10 goals, finishing the season with a record of 9-7 and 6-2 in conference play.
al garnered a slew of accolades – including forward Ifeoma Onumonu’s Pac-12 Freshman of the Year award and spot on the All-Pac-12 first team – during a season that concluded with a run to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Bears won at Pepperdine, 1-0, in the NCAA first round before falling at San Diego State, 2-1, to finish 16-6 overall. Onumonu led Cal in points (28), goals (11), assists (6) and game-winning goals, also pacing all Pac-12 freshmen in points, goals and gamewinners. Senior midfielder Betsy Hassett joined Onumonu on the all-conference first team after totaling points (17), goals (6) and assists (5). Hassett also earned a spot on the NSCAA Scholar All-America first team. Four Bears claimed All-Pacific Region status: Onumonu (first team), Hassett (first team), junior defender Emi Lawson (second team) and junior midfielder Kaitlyn Fitzpatrick (third team).
he young 2013 Cal men’s gymnastics squad finished the season ranked seventh in the country following a trip to the NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Championship’s 12-team Qualifier. Six Golden Bears advanced to the individual event preliminaries, with freshman Takahiro Kawada and sophomore Jonathan Liu earning spots in the finals and receiving All-American status. Earlier in the season, Cal took down defending national champion Illinois, 427.00-425.650, at home in Haas Pavilion in the final contest of the regular season. At the MPSF Championships, the Bears finished third, and junior Matthew del Junco and sophomore Jonathan Liu were recognized as MPSF All-Academic selections.
he Bears capped head coach Jack Clark’s 30th year at the helm and the team’s return to Witter Rugby Field after a two-year absence with their first 7s title at the 2013 Collegiate Rugby Championship, which followed an undefeated regular season in spring 15s. Cal won the inaugural season of the PAC Rugby Conference, took its eighth straight UCLA Tournament and swept UBC for its seventh straight “World Cup” series. In the spring postseason, Cal defeated Navy in the semifinals of the Varsity Cup National Championships, then fell just three points short to BYU in the final for an overall spring 15s record of 21-1. In June, the team won the program’s first 7s championship in its fourth trip to the CRC, where teams showcased the Olympic code of the game heading back into the\ Summer Games in Rio for 2016.
ollowing a 2-2 start in opening weekend, the Cal softball team tore through its schedule and produced a 22-game winning streak before opening Pac12 play with a sweep of Utah. Against the Utes, senior ace Jolene Henderson became the winningest pitcher in program history after notching her 120th victory. The Golden Bears went on to win conference series against Arizona and Oregon State and earned their 28th consecutive postseason bid – the longest active streak in the country. The Bears fell to hosting Michigan at the Ann Arbor Regional, finishing 38-19 overall, but were recognized with numerous awards. Henderson was lauded as a Top 10 finalist for USA Softball Player of the Year and the Senior CLASS Award, while Lindsey Ziegenhirt was named Capital One Academic All-American and the Pac-12 Softball Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
summer2013 2011 SUMMER
Men’s Swimming & Diving
he Cal men’s swimming and diving team, under the direction of 2013 Pac-12 Coach of the Year David Durden, placed second at the NCAA Championships, falling just shy of a third consecutive national title. Senior standout Tom Shields won 2013 NCAA crowns in the 100 and 200 butterfly to conclude his career with 11 national titles and 17 Pac-12 championship victories. The Bears captured the 2013 Pac-12 meet, upending Stanford’s streak of 31 straight conference team titles, and also finished the 2012-13 dual meet season a perfect 7-0, including a dual-meet win over the Cardinal for the first time since 2005. Freshman Josh Prenot, who won the conference title and set a new school record in the 400 individual medley, was named the 2013 Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year.
al, seeded eighth, reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships after winning three straight postseason matches. The Golden Bears ended the season with a 19-6 record, after posting a 9-1 (second place) Pac-12 mark. Fifth-ranked sophomore Zsofi Susanyi, eighth-ranked junior Anett Schutting and 43rd-ranked freshman Klara Fabikova all competed in the NCAA singles championship, with Susanyi reaching the round of 16. Both Susanyi and Schutting earned All-America honors in singles, along with AllPac-12 first-team status. Amanda Augustus earned the Wilson/ITA Northwest Coach of the Year award, while Tayler Davis was named the Senior of the Year and Fabikova claimed the Player to Watch honor for the ITA Northwest region.
he Bears set a program-record by making their 11th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, where they lost in the first round to North Carolina. Cal finished an injury-plagued season 15-16 with a handful of landmark moments. The biggest came in November when the Bears went on the road and defeated No. 2 Oregon in a five-set thriller. Cal also knocked off No. 8 Hawaii in Honolulu during a preseason tournament. Individually, senior middle hitter Shannon Hawari emerged as one of the top players in the Pac-12, earning All-Pac-12 first team honors after ranking fourth in the conference with a .370 hitting percentage and tied for ninth with 1.20 blocks per game. She also ended her career as Cal’s all-time leader with a .367 hitting percentage. Senior middle hitter Kat Brown, meanwhile, became the Bears’ all-time leading blocker with 509 in her career.
Women’s Swimming & Diving
Men’s Track & Field
Men’s Water Polo
al posted its eighth consecutive top-five finish at the NCAA Championships by taking second place at the national meet in Indianapolis. The Bears collected three individual titles at NCAAs – Caitlin Leverenz won the 200 individual medley, freshman Rachel Bootsma claimed the 100 backstroke and freshman Elizabeth Pelton broke her own American record to win the 200 backstroke. Pelton took home the Swimmer of the Meet award for her exploits, which included seven All-America honors. At the Pac-12 Championships, the Bears compiled victories in the 200 breaststroke (Leverenz), 200 backstroke (Pelton), 200 IM (Pelton), 100 backstroke (Bootsma), 200 butterfly (Bootsma), 200 freestyle (freshman Rachael Acker) and 400free relay. Pelton also claimed the Pac-12 Swimmer of the Meet honor. The Bears ended the regular season with a 7-2 dual-meet record, capped off by a win over Stanford in the Big Meet.
he Golden Bears produced a pair of Pac-12 champions during the 2013 season in Ray Stewart and Hammed Suleman. Stewart captured the 110-meter hurdles crown in a personal-best 13.43 seconds to keep him as the No. 2 performer in school history. He also won the 2011 title before missing all of the next season due to knee surgery. Suleman, meanwhile, won the long jump with a lifetime-best 25-11.50 while he was also runner-up in the triple jump. Earlier in the year, Ethan Cochran set a Cal freshman record in the discus with a throw of 188-8. As a team, the Bears defeated Stanford in the annual Big Meet and took first place a home triangular meet against Virginia and Michigan. On the conference level, Cal was third at the MPSF Championships and eighth at the Pac-12 outdoor meet.
ead coach Kirk Everist’s squad finished the 2012 campaign 17-8, winning seven of its last eight matches, including upending No. 2-ranked UCLA, 12-9, in the MPSF tournament semifinal. The Golden Bears had six players named All-Americans, led by first-team selection Collin Smith. As a junior, Smith led the Bears in scoring with 61 goals and had a team-high 31 assists. He was twice named MPSF Player of the Week during the regular season, including Oct. 20 after scoring six goals in a 14-8 Big Splash victory over Stanford. Sophomore Aleksa Saponjic, who won a bronze medal competing for Serbia at the 2012 London Olympics, was a second-team All-American, while senior Marin Balarin earned third-team honors. The Bears also had three honorable mention All-Americans – Hunter Gettelfinger, Jon Sibley and Colin Mulcahy – and 10 players who were ACWPC All-Academic honorees.
al reached the NCAA Championship round of 16 for the third consecutive season, but for the second straight year, Virginia ended the Golden Bears’ postseason run. The Bears wound up with a 16-10 overall record and finished at 5-1 (third) in the Pac-12. Juniors Ben McLachlan and Campbell Johnson competed in the NCAA singles tournament, falling in the round of 64, while Johnson and senior co-captain Christoffer Konigsfeldt fell in the round of 32 in the NCAA doubles championship. Konigsfeldt and Johnson claimed the Pac-12 Doubles Team of the Year award. Johnson – a transfer from Georgia – earned the Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year honor and the regional ITA Norwest Player to Watch accolade. Senior co-captain Riki McLachlan, who sat out much of the spring with an injury, made an inspirational return to the court at the start of NCAAs.
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Women’s Track & Field
wo Bears qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in long jumper Malaina Payton and triple jumper Amanda Hunter. Payton placed 10th in the competition with a mark of 20-7, while Hunter established a personal best with her distance of 43-3.25 to take 12th. Both athletes finished third in their respective events at the Pac-12 meet. During the Big Meet at Stanford, Shelby Ashe set a Cal freshman record with a throw of 201-10 in the hammer. Among other highlights, Kelsey Santisteban ran the No. 3 5000-meter time in school history when she was clocked in 15:50.18 at the Payton Jordan Invitational, and Charnell Price moved into Cal’s all-time top five in both the 100 meters (11.46) and 200 meters (23.55). During the indoor campaign, the Bears were eighth at the MPSF meet, and they took ninth at the Pac-12 outdoor meet.
Women’s Water Polo
he Bears had another successful season under head coach Richard Corso, compiling a 17-7 record and ending the year ranked No. 5 in the country. Senior All-American Emily Csikos returned from a one-year hiatus to train with the Canadian National Team and led her Cal squad with 49 goals, giving her a 2.04 average which ranked seventh in the MPSF. Csikos also finished her career with 216 goals, making her the all-time scoring leader in school history. Junior Ashley Young, who was a third-team All-American as a freshman, had another strong campaign with 36 goals. Sophomore Savanna Smith averaged 6.16 saves per game in her first season as the Bears’ starting goalie, and Pippa Saunders was one of the top freshmen in the MPSF with 13 goals. Cal defeated 11 ranked teams during the season. The Bears also hosted the MPSF Championships, in which the Bears finished fifth.
Itâ€™s perfectly clear that
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More Builders Among Bears
Within Legions of Bear Backers Are Builders of Berkeley
By Anton Malko
n this, the second of a three-part series, we continue to recognize crucial members of the campus community who have made Cal Athletics a significant part of their giving history. These Builders of Berkeley, so called for their total gifts to the University in excess of $1 million, are among the names etched in granite on a monument outside of Doe Library for their comprehensive commitments to California.
Stu and Florianne Gordon
Stu Gordon received his bachelor’s degree in political science in 1962 and Juris Doctor from Berkeley Law in 1965. A senior partner at Gordon & Rees LLP, he put his Cal education to perhaps the ultimate test when he undertook the 22
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challenge of saving Cal baseball from elimination in 2010-11. Gordon and the Friends of Cal Baseball have since done even more than come to its financial rescue; in 2013, the team played night games for the first time under the lights at Evans Diamond with a new scoreboard showing balls, strikes and high-definition replays, thanks to this forward-thinking group. “I am really proud of that,” Gordon said. “I can’t tell you how rewarding that is for me. The difference is amazing, the abundance of kids after the game shaking hands and talking with the players and coaches. What inspires me is the feeling that I’m contributing
and knowing that I’m doing the best I can at everything I do.” Gordon, who became a Builder of Berkeley in 2003, is first and foremost an alumnus of the University. But his devotion to Cal baseball has also earned him an enshrinement in the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame as a Service Award recipient in recognition of his lasting and vital support of Cal Athletics. A founder of the Bear Backers program and member of the Athletic Director’s Advisory Board, Gordon also received the Chancellor’s Citation for Leadership and Contributions to the University of California in 2012. Three years earlier, his law school awarded him the Boalt Alumni Association’s Citation Award. Cliff Higgerson came west from Illinois to the No. 1 public university in the world and was in Berkeley for less than a day when he decided he would stay. He called enrolling at Cal for his MBA, which he received in 1966, “the best decision I ever made. I was in Berkeley about nine hours and I said, ‘I’m never going to live east of Grizzly Peak Ridge again.’ That was in 1965 and I’ve lived up to it.” Higgerson arrived thanks to the inspiration of his wife, Judith, who herself had fallen in love with the area after
visiting with her father from the East Coast. “She was the prime mover and I thank my lucky stars that she wanted to live in the Bay Area,” he said. Together they went on to become Builders of Berkeley in 2005.
Cliff and Judith Higgerson
While it was the weather that initially captured Higgerson, the academic vitality of Berkeley was the second blow that left him smitten. “Cal’s intellectual commitment, its open-mindedness, was the second reason that I never wanted to leave,” Higgerson said. A no-nonsense individual who works as a venture capitalist partner at Palo Alto’s Walden International and lives in Menlo Park, Higgerson contends with a lot of pride from friends and colleagues who root for a rival institution located closer to his daily life on the peninsula. That proximity to Stanford only reinforces his belief in the importance of the flagship campus for the public universities in the state of California, among whose merits are Intercollegiate Athletics. “Athletics represents people and teaches discipline,” Higgerson said. “To succeed you have to be disciplined and get organized, which everyone at Cal has demonstrated to become part of that community. In the long term of life, that discipline is ultimately important.” The Higgersons maintain season tickets to both men’s basketball and football, and were significant donors to the Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance. Higgerson is bullish on Golden Bear football entering 2013 because head coach Sonny Dykes strikes him as “the kind of leader that can be successful,” while down at Haas Pavilion,
he views men’s basketball head coach supports people of all economic backMike Montgomery as “a very sound grounds,” he said. “Cal got more charitable contributions last year than any year investment.” Higgerson supports Cal Athletics for in history, and that was great.” The Steinys have committed long-term uncomplicated reasons. “I give to Athletics because I enjoy it and think it worth- support to Athletics through the Endowwhile,” he said. “I want to ment Seating Program. “I consider it an help do what it can on the honor to be a part of the ESP program athletics side to be suc- for the next 40 years,” said Steiny, who cessful. I’m going to keep also sits on The Cal Parents Board, is a contributing and I’m glad CAA Cal Advocate and a member of multhe athletic department is tiple committees with the UC Berkeley working so hard to drive Foundation. Steiny echoed a common refrain that new donors.” The first in his the true and ongoing builders of excelthree-generation Stan- lence at this University are its students ford family to attend Cal, who strive to achieve on a daily basis Richard Steiny received with amazing results. “Those are the his bachelor’s degree kind of kids you want to hire and put to in political economy in work in your company, because they’re 1979. Three years later, going to be so driven,” he said. “Cal is so his wife, Lisa, received impactful on these young people and her degree in mass com- that’s what makes me so excited about munication and in doing giving. I love to donate to help people so, joined her parents and sisters as Cal purpose their own path to success.” Each year another “class” of inductees graduates. The Steinys’ gifts to Cal Athletics has its names etched in granite outside have been tremendous, but that sup- of Doe Library to recognize them as the port does not constitute the majority newest Builders of Berkeley. They will of their giving to the University, which join the ranks of other cherished donors made them Builders of Berkeley in 2008. whose goal remains the same: to provide While that honor goes to Social Sciences, the Steinys’ ongoing love affair with the Golden Bears makes it crystal clear the importance Cal Athletics holds in their lives. “The funding of Athletics is the spirit behind our giving to academics,” explained Steiny, who is a co-chairman of Genworth Financial Wealth Management. “Without the camaraderie of Athletics, we would have a hard time getting gifts to the aca- Lisa and Richard Steiny demics side. If it weren’t for my ties to Cal through Athletics, I just support to the mission of the University wouldn’t be as engaged with the school.” in its pursuit of excellence. To learn more about the BuildOnce engaged as donors, the Steinys have never wavered in their role to main- ers of Berkeley, please contact Nancy tain Cal’s reputation, and they are heart- McKinney, Director of Donor Stewardened to see more people take on that ship for University Relations, at (510) same responsibility. “People are starting 643-7664 or nlmckinney@berkeley. to understand that the state is not our edu. To deepen your commitment to Cal primary source of revenue any longer Athletics, contact the Office of Athletic and that we need to keep our public mis- Development at (510) 642-2427 or email sion of being a fantastic University that email@example.com. SUMMER 2013
unning through the bedrock of support for the University are the Builders of Berkeley, who have in each case donated $1 million or more to Cal. Many of these generous donors support Cal athletics in a significant way. Listed below are those who have given at least $50,000 of their University lifetime contributions to Intercollegiate Athletics. Across the board, these individuals and families recognize the importance of the student-athlete experience for the well-rounded individual, the merits of Athletics as a pillar in pursuit of excellence and the vital role Intercollegiate Athletics plays in the spirit of the University of California. We thank these donors, listed here alphabetically, for their vital support and apologize for the incomplete list that accompanied Part I of this three-part story in the spring issue of Cal Sports Quarterly.
CALIFORNIA ATHLETICS BUILDERS OF BERKELEY
The Ralph E. and Marla H. Andersen Family Trudy L. and William F. Ausfahl Mel and Vera Bacharach Barbara and Gerson Bakar Dado and Maria Banatao Dwight and Nancy Barker Kathy and Frank Baxter Richard H. and Carolyn P. Beahrs Stephen D. Bechtel Jr. Kenneth E. and Patricia R. Behring Robert B. Beim and Nancy C. Beim Richard C. Blum and Dianne Feinstein William E. Brown and Sharon Bonner-Brown Robert L. and Alice M. Bridges Barbara Burnham Bryan Cameron Beverly B. and Arlington C. Charter Alice V. and Michael N. Chetkovich Natalie Cohen John E. Cook Jr. and Sandra G. Cook Kathleen G. Correia and Stephen A. Evans Paul and Judith Cortese Janet M. and William F. Cronk Frithjof Jon and Ellen Giusti Dale Milt and Carol David Frederick J. and Kathi De Grosz The J. DeBenedetti Family Wiiliam S. and Mary Jane Detwiler Patricia L. and James W. Dieterich Jr. James K. and Jean S. Dobey Shannon M. Drew and Marilyn Shehan Drew Roger C. Dunn and Lou Curtice Dunn Marji and Phil Dunn David R. Eckles and Allene H. Wong David J. and Jane Epstein Robert J. and Christine Feibusch Doris and Donald G. Fisher The William S. Floyd Jr. Family William F. and Grace H. Ford Donna and Gary Freedman David A. Friedman and Paulette J. Meyer Phyllis K. and Howard A. Friedman John Burdette Gage and Linda Schacht Gage Theodore H. and Frances K. Geballe Douglas E. and Lisa M. Goldman
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Richard N. and Rhoda H. Goldman John L. and Margaret B. Gompertz Elizabeth Marsteller Gordon Stuart M. Gordon Frederick L. and Roberta O. Greenlee Glenn and Robin W. Gulvin Evelyn D. and Walter A. Haas Jr. Peter E. and Mimi Haas Colleen and Robert D. Haas Elise S. and Walter A. Haas Michelle and Cyrus Hadidi The William W. Halford Jr. Family Jean H. and Will C. Hall The Harry and Betsy Hathaway Family Clarence E. Heller The Hellman Family The Leo and Florence Helzel Family William A. and Sally M. Hewlett Clifford H. and Judith D. Higgerson Ken and Jean Hofmann Russell D. and Lydia P. Hogan Thomas R. and Ruth Ann Hornaday Preston B. and Maurine M. Hotchkis James V. and Betty R. Huhn Grant and Suanne Inman Judith Woolsey Isaac Stacy and Paul Jacobs Jeffrey A. and Deni D. Jacobs The Stephen F. Keller and Sarah Mage Keller Family Dolorous and Kenneth C. Knight Mary Dee Artal Karp Daniel E. and Yvonne C. Koshland James M. and Catherine P. Koshland The Marian E. and Daniel E. Koshland Jr. Family Robert J. Lalanne and Millicent C. Lalanne Doris S. and Theodore B. Lee Georgia Lee Edward H. and Lynn B. Little Irving and Shirley Loube William and Iona Main Ora Main-Geyer Brian L. and Jennifer A. Maxwell Ross and Irma G. McCollum Jeffrey and Ashley McDermott Janet A. McKinley George A. Miller Laurie Cockburn Morrison
Richard H. Morrison Clara B. and Daniel B. Mulholland Noel W. and Penelope B. Nellis S. Victor and Leta H. Nelson Kent and Patricia Newmark Robert G. and Sue Douthit O’donnell David H. and Phyrne M. Osborne Lisle and Roslyn Payne Lawrence E. and Mary Peirano The Edward H. and Barbara B. Peterson Family William V. Power Kenneth B. Rawlings Linda Erickson Rawlings David L. Redo and Judy L. Redo In Sik and Isabel Rhee The Tahir Family Helen Wills Roark T. Gary and Kathleen Rogers Richard V. and Ellen Sandler Frank J. and Mary Schlessinger Betty H. and Eugene A. Shurtleff Nat Simons and Laura Baxter-Simons Barclay and Sharon Simpson Nadine M. Tang and Bruce L. Smith Barbara C. and Larry W. Sonsini Carol and Warren E. Spieker Jr. Catherine and Tod Spieker Richard and Lisa Steiny Paul H. Stephens and Elle Mcadam Stephens John P. Stock Cleo C. and Robert A. Stoker The Katharine Wallace Thompson Family John L. and Margaret P. Tormey Michael and Nancy Torres Charles N. and Elizabeth H. Travers Charles T. and Louise H. Travers Catherine M. and Eugene E. Trefethen Jr. Tomas S. Vanasek Paul and Linda White Jan and Buzz Wiesenfeld H. Michael and Jeanne Williams Robert W. Witter and Marilyn A. Witter The Witter Family Douglas H. and Jane E. Wolf
faces in the crowd
Former Drum Major Loves Cal’s Tempo
im French was unflustered when he arrived at Cal in 1965 from his hometown of Garberville, Calif. (population 913 in the 2010 U.S. Census). He joined the the University of California Marching Band that fall and became its Drum Major in 1968. In 1969 he received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science as a Phi Beta Kappa and then earned his Juris Doctor from Berkeley Law in 1972. French knew the lay of the land in Berkeley because it was already ingrained in his family tree, with Cal degrees also held by his mother, father, uncle, his uncle’s wife and both of Jim’s brothers. Once enrolled, French displayed much of the resolve toward accountability that defines the student-athlete experience, striving for excellence without shirking challenges. He seized opportunities to travel with the band, including its 1968 tour of California and its 1970 tour of Japan as well as its bicentennial tour in 1976.
Beyond the circle on his calendar around Sept. 14, when The Ohio State University Marching Band is scheduled to join the Buckeyes as they play the Golden Bears at Memorial Stadium, French is generally excited about the direction of Cal Athletics under the leadership of Director Sandy Barbour. “I have just have nothing but admiration for Sandy Barbour and what she’s done for the program in terms of bringing excellent coaches to the Athletic Department, people that understand how to motivate kids and get results while at the same time balancing academics,” he said. “I’m looking forward to a very exciting football season because we could see things we haven’t seen before including, hopefully, a Rose Bowl on the horizon.”
Early Riser After Four Years as a Swimmer, Isaac Howell Makes the Transition to Rowing By Doug Drabik
ou can describe Isaac Howell as a “morning person.”
After four years of training as a swim- world. He grew up with a deep interest in architecture, but mer at Spieker Aquatics Complex at 6 a.m., athletics captured his focus for much of his childhood and Howell traded his swimsuit for an oar and, extended into college. That changed with his collegiate as a fifth-year senior, made the trek from swimming career complete, and he ventured to Harvard, Berkeley to Briones Reservoir in Orinda enrolling in a six-week architecture introductory summer for 7 a.m. men’s crew practice this past program. academic year. “I realized last year I wanted to do architecture … I remem“Rowing workouts were almost like bered I liked it,” Howell explained. “The Harvard program was Isaac Howell sleeping in relation to swimming,” Howell a simulation of what first semester of grad school was like and joked. “I woke up at 6 a.m. instead of 5:20 a.m. It was nice to get I loved it. After I finished that program, I created a portfolio a little late start to the day.” and applied to the top architecture programs in the country to Howell played an important role in Cal’s two national see what would happen.” championships in his four seasons in Howell, who is a multiple Pac-12 the pool. After his NCAA eligibility in All-Academic honoree, designed a swimming expired in March 2012, he creative portfolio in a short period to headed for a new chapter in his life. submit along with his graduate school Howell had planned to spend his application. In just weeks, he was offifth year of school as a regular student fered enrollment in the highly-regardwithout the daily grind of practices, ed Taubman College graduate program but his competitive drive needed a at the University of Michigan. new challenge. He chose to exercise an “I am so excited for this opportunity,” NCAA rule that gives student-athletes said Howell, a Long Beach, Calif., naa five-year window to compete with a tive. “I made my first trip there in April maximum of four years allowed in each and got to meet with some of the archisport. With his swimming career comtects. It is very similar and at the same pleted, Howell decided to move from time very different from Berkeley. I am racing in a pool to racing on a much looking forward to the challenge.” larger body of water. This spring, Howell was one of four “Being an athlete has developed into Cal student-athletes to receive a prestia lifestyle for me,” Howell said. “I enjoy gious Pac-12 Postgraduate Scholarship, training and enjoy competing, and I which awards him $3,000 towards his wasn’t ready to give that up. I felt I still graduate studies at Michigan. had room to grow athletically.” Howell, who graduated from Cal Howell’s transition from swimming in May, plans to utilize his bachelor’s to rowing didn’t occur overnight. He With his swimming eligibility complete, Isaac Howell degree in political economy in his artook up rowing for his final year at Cal. entertained the idea after a number of chitectural work, having focused on friends suggested he would succeed in crew and introduced economic development in his major. the sport to him. “It is really interesting how you can use architecture to af“I was interested in rowing at the beginning of last summer, fect economic growth,” Howell said. “By designing different but I wasn’t sure if I would feel the same way at end of the sum- landscapes, you can create environments that have positive efmer,” Howell explained. fects on urban areas. I want to concentrate my work on largeWith his future plans on the water undecided at the time, scale projects in urban environments that affect the greatest Howell’s focused on learning more about the architecture number of people.” 28
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Applying his educational background and skills from political economy to architecture should come easy after completing a seamless transition from swimming to rowing at an elite level. A two-time NCAA qualifier and conference finalist in multiple events as a swimmer, Howell made one of Cal’s top three boats in less than a year rowing. “I think what helped me was the concepts of the sports are very similar,” Howell said. “You are moving something through water, either your own body or a boat. You need length, you need connection to the water, and you need to have power and drive. There is a recovery motion in both swimming and crew. While the concepts are similar, the application of those concepts is very different. Rowing is such a unique motion that is not really applicable anywhere else. I felt very humbled my first time on the water.” After beginning some light training on the erg throughout the summer to stay in shape, Howell contacted the coaches and expressed his interest in trying out for the crew program when classes resumed last fall. “I figured ‘let’s try it out.’ There is nothing to lose,” Howell said. “I was very appreciative to the coaches for letting me try out and have an opportunity.” Howell has been a member of the novice eight this season, winning all but one race entering the Pac-12 Championships. “He did a really good job and improved every week,” men’s crew coach Mike Teti said. “He is exactly what we want, a model student, a model citizen and a really good rower. We were really happy to have him on the team.” Associate head coach Luke Agnini, who oversees the novice eight boat, sees a lot of potential for Howell in the sport.
“I think it was an easy transition for him because he was welltrained,” Agnini said. “Isaac had a ton of core strength coming in which helped him on the erg. A lot of people have a hard time with the erg right away and Isaac didn’t, which helped his confidence and caught our attention. “I’m trying to convince him to keep rowing,” Agnini added. “He is strong enough physiologically and his numbers are good enough to be on the national team. It will take a couple years for him to figure it out rowing-wise, but I think someone that is as diligent and consistent as him will figure it out. I think he is limitless.” Howell’s Cal rowing career ended at the IRA national cham-
“Being an athlete has developed into a lifestyle for me. I enjoy training and enjoy competing, and I wasn’t ready to give that up. I felt I still had room to grow athletically.”
– Isaac Howell pionships on June 2, but he didn’t have much time to reflect on his latest athletic challenge with orientation at Michigan June 25 in Ann Arbor, Mich. “My experience at Cal was not how I planned it to be, but it couldn’t have been any better,” Howell said. “What learned in the pool, in the classroom, in the weight room, and in the boathouse helped me grow and had a tremendous impact on the person I am today.” His time at Cal also impacted his internal alarm clock, which is now set for sometime between 5:20 and 6 a.m. SUMMER 2013
The Base Path Less Traveled Softball’s Britt Vonk Finds Berkeley the Perfect Place to Be By Mara Rudolph
trolling across campus in a flowing tank top, high-waisted cutoff shorts and a pair of Chuck Taylors with her long, blond locks falling from a hippie headband across her forehead, Britt Vonk looks less like a softball player and more like she came straight out of a late-1960s Berkeley postcard. It’s easier to imagine her lying in the sun on Memorial Glade reading a book than picture her speeding along the base paths around a softball diamond.
The Netherlands transplant moved halfway across the world for her athletic scholarship after turning heads in Europe for her impressive performances with her club team and the 2008 Dutch Olympic squad. Instead of meeting Berkeley’s eccentricities with culture shock, she welcomed them. It was perfect fit when you consider that Vonk’s journey has been less about “finding herself,” and more about embracing it. “There are so many different types of people here,” Vonk said. “It was very different, very new, and I liked it from the beginning. I’ve always been free-spirited, but it grew more when I got here. I’ve met so many new people – so many great people – that are on the same page and feel the same way about having a free spirit and inner peace. Berkeley’s the perfect place.” Vonk loves the surrounding nature, which is perfect for 30
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meditating, and especially loves meeting new people at area food-truck gatherings. “It’s something that reminds me of home,” Vonk said. “There’s a bunch of people that I don’t even know, and we all come together and eat food. Everyone is welcome.” Now preparing for her senior year, Vonk has settled in to her American home and gets to play the sport that she describes as her life every day while getting a world-class education. But it didn’t always seem that Vonk would be able to play softball and attend a university simultaneously. It took a journey from Holland to the U.S. and China to make it happen. Vonk’s global expedition began at age 10, when she tagged along to a friend’s softball practice with the Tex Town Tigers in her hometown of Enschede, a city nearly 100 miles from Continued on page 33
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Continued from page 30
Amsterdam on the German border. Growing up, Vonk’s life was team yet. People were still getting cut, and everyone was feelsurrounded with sports. Her father, Theo, was a professional ing the pressure. I didn’t think I would even get a chance. It soccer player and is now a head coach; her mother, Tanja, was helped me play really well. I hit crazy numbers, played really a professional water polo player; and her brother, Kaj, and two well on the field.” half-brothers played soccer. Scheduled to play with the Dutch junior squad in the 2008 “My parents never pushed me into a sport, they just allowed European Championships in Germany, Vonk assumed that me to pursue whatever I wanted to do,” Vonk said. when she landed in Holland, it would be the end of her run Softball caught on, as did track & field in high school. But with the national team. unlike the American youth sport “The next day, I got the call to culture, sports weren’t included in join the Olympic team. I cried,” Vonk’s daily curriculum. she said. “Here in the U.S., you play so Vonk was one of 15 softball many different sports in school,” players named to the Dutch OlymVonk said. “Back home, the school pic delegation at the 2008 Beijing system is very different. We don’t Games. At 17, she was the younginclude sports in school, so I used est of the 240 Dutch athletes in to go to school and then play for China. my club team in my spare time. It “I wasn’t truly aware of the scale was always kind of a struggle beof what I was doing,” Vonk said. cause I was playing at a pretty high “My teammates practiced for it for level, sometimes traveling, and four years. I came in three months they didn’t have a combination of before the Olympics, and I didn’t both. They treated me the same as have that same dream. Going to every other student while I put so the Olympics was a far-off goal, much other time into sports.” but it all happened so fast that I By 2006, Vonk was playing came back and I don’t think I fully with the Dutch Junior Team. She realized the magnitude of it. You loved softball, and when she can’t compare that experience to heard about combining school anything.” and sports as student-athlete in Though she hadn’t grasped the the United States, she was excited magnitude of her accomplishbut unsure if it was an option for ment, others did. Linda Wells, one her. She only knew of a handful of of Vonk’s coaches with the nationDutch players who were recruited Britt Vonk has been a fixture in the Cal infield during her first three al team and head coach at Arizoseasons in Berkeley. by American universities. na State from 1989-2005, recom“When I look at all of my teammended Vonk to Cal head coach mates here, they had probably already committed when I was Diane Ninemire. In the fall of 2009, Ninemire sent assistant just learning about the possibility of being a collegiate athlete,” coach John Reeves to scout Vonk in Huntington Beach, Calif., Vonk said. “It wasn’t something I had dreamed about my whole where Vonk’s team traveled for a weekend showcase. life. It was something I wanted to do but didn’t know if it was “Coach John was the only coach from all the schools who possible for me.” approached me personally,” Vonk said. “I connected with him Her athletic prowess proved it was possible. Vonk was 16 right away, so that first impression of Cal was already really when coaches approached her to ask if she would be interest- good.” ed in stepping up to practice with the Dutch National Team afShe signed in the spring of 2010, hopped on a plane and arter she was awarded “Best Hitter” following the MastenBroek rived in the Bay Area a day before classes started in August. Tournament. Though initially she was homesick, once softball practice With just a week before the national team was set to leave for started she embraced her new life, finishing the season with a a month-long training session in the United States, one of the .415 batting average, which was good for fourth in the Cal seaathletes injured herself. Coaches asked Vonk if she’d like to fill son record book. Vonk was also tabbed Pac-10 All-Freshman, in for the injured player. Most of the team members had trained all-region and second-team all-conference. She has since cartogether for four years to try to make the Olympic squad, but ried that success into subsequent seasons, and along the way when Vonk stepped onto the diamond for the team’s American has found plenty of moments of “inner peace.” tour, she was the one turning heads. She made her debut in the “Part of my free spiritedness is about living in the now,” opening game against the Philadelphia Force as a pinch-hitter. Vonk said. “Experiencing everything we have at this moment As pinch-hit in the following day’s game, she collected her first and just being present in the present. One day, I walked up to base hit and scored her first run. By the third game, Vonk was the C painted on the hill overlooking the stadium. On that walk a starter in the middle infield, reaching base three times and up there, you can see everything. There’s a swing on a super scoring once. big tree, and you can swing and feel like you’re swinging into “I played in a way where I had no pressure,” Vonk said. “All Berkeley. You see the whole Bay Area. It’s beautiful. How could those girls, they were nervous. They still hadn’t finalized the I not feel blessed and happy with my life?” SUMMER 2013
ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT Sara Isakovic Takes Advantage of the ‘Privilege’ of Attending Cal By Miquel Jacobs
“Education is a privilege.”
Those aren’t exactly the words you expect to hear from a 24-year-old NCAA champion who also happens to be the first person from Slovenia to win a medal in swimming at the Olympic Games. More likely, you might expect something along the lines of “competing is a privilege” or “representing your country is a privilege.” Yet those first four words are something that Sara Isakovic has lived by her entire life. Isakovic grew up as a world traveler, learning four languages while living in Indonesia, Malaysia, Dubai and Slovenia. As a child, she didn’t fully comprehend that the reason her family moved around so much was a result of the Yugoslav wars that prevented her Serbian father from entering her mother’s home country of SloSara Isakovic venia due to the lack of a passport. All that mattered to the young girl was swimming in the hotel pools and the vast seas that make up the Indian Ocean while her pilot father shuttled her brother, mother and herself across Europe and Asia. Traveling the world also had other effects, as she saw and learned things that would alter her outlook on life. “As a little kid, it struck me to see the poverty in some countries and how the children were in the streets,” Isakovic said. “It was always built in me to not take school for granted and that you get to learn (compared to what others had the opportunity to do). It was also an influence from my parents, but to be in those environments and able to see it for myself as a little girl, I always thought that I am so lucky that I get to go to school to learn.” The family eventually left Dubai after five years and returned to Slovenia where Isakovic could have an actual swimming coach and team after learning under her mother. Despite her great successes in the pool, she knew from the start that her endgame was to use the sport as an opportunity to come to the United States and continue her education. A pair of friends on the California swim team made Berkeley the runaway choice and sole option as a place of higher learning. “I decided to come to the U.S. because this is the only place 34
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in the world where you can combine athletics and academics,” said Isakovic, who won an Olympic silver medal in the 200-meter freestyle in 2008 and an NCAA title in the 100-yard butterfly in 2012. “It doesn’t exist in Europe. It doesn’t exist anywhere else with a campus environment where you swim here, live here and go to school here. In Slovenia, you either decide to be a professional athlete or a student. A lot of very good athletes across this globe never finish school. It breaks my heart because I feel like as an athlete, we’re capable people in all fields. “That whole concept just shaped me into really believing that education is the biggest privilege,” Isakovic continued. “No one can take your education away from you. I know no one can ever take my swimming successes away from me, but it’s not ever-lasting. It’s ‘I’ve done what I’ve done,’ but the other 60 or 70 years in my life I want to do something that I’m also really passionate about.” Isakovic credits the U.S. system not only for giving athletes the opportunity to study and compete concurrently, but also for the passion that professors display to students that encourages the learning process and makes it “easier” than the
Sara Isakovic is leaving Cal as an Olympic medalist, NCAA champion and recipient of an Oscar Geballe Postgraduate Scholarship.
authoritarian type of learning that exists in Europe. “The European stereotype is that school in the States is ‘easier,’” Isakovic said, “but it’s ‘easier’ because we are the luckiest students in the world to have such awesome relationships with professors who are approachable and willing to help. In Europe, students don’t enjoy the process of learning as much or engage in the material because there is no relationship between professors and students.” That relationship factor, as well as the ability to take classes and learn what it is that interests you – as opposed to the European method of declaring an area of study right out of high school – is something that has allowed Isakovic to discover her thirst for psychology. As a freshman at Cal, Isakovic took the breadth of her core requirements while also signing up for and falling in love with psychology. She credits professor Kaiping Peng with jumpstarting her interest in the field, and further work in Dr. Silvia Bunge’s neuropsychology class, “The Developing Brain,” in the fall 2012 semester solidified her career
goal of discovering more about the intricate workings of the human brain as it relates to successful athletes. Isakovic regularly attended Bunge’s office hours and spoke of obtaining research experience before going to graduate school, a conversation that led to joining Bunge’s research lab beginning with the January 2013 semester. Another stroke of luck came during a holiday break when she got in contact with accomplished neuroscientist Justin Feinstein, who loved Isakovic’s idea of finding out what makes some athletes resilient while others crash in the face of adversity. Feinstein put her in touch with Dr. Martin Paulus at UC San Diego, whose “Opti-Brain” research is in the process of conducting studies on elite performances in stressful situations with an emphasis on Olympic athletes, U.S. Navy SEALS and U.S. Marines. The goal is to discover whether there is something in the brain that allows some people to push to extreme limits, a subject that hit close to home with Isakovic, who herself has competed at the highest levels. “It always fascinated me that no matter what rank you are in the world, there is always a point where some people just drop off and they aren’t able to cope with the stress and pressure at all,” Isakovic said. “It’s all mental, and I’m fascinated about this connection of mind and body. A single thought of doubt could choke up and freeze your body. Some athletes dedicate their whole life to their sport, but one tiny mental breakdown or doubt, even something subconsciously from previous experiences, doesn’t allow you to perform. I want to solve that. It is my dream of trying.” Isakovic’s primary goal is to find out whether there is an area of the brain that helps define this resilience so that it can be trained, much like the resilience training that Cal swimmers endure under head coach Teri McKeever. Isakovic credits the success of the program on this brand of training at the outdoor Spieker Aquatics Complex compared to the controlled, indoor pools that most athletes in the country use. Isakovic’s dedication to athletic and academic excellence has led to her being honored with an Oscar Geballe Postgraduate Scholarship, an award given to three seniors at Cal each year that recognizes devotion to Cal and the belief in the value of combining scholarship and intercollegiate athletic competition. After studying under Dr. Paulus in La Jolla and hopefully helping to uncover how the brain works in elite performers, Isakovic will use the Geballe Scholarship to pursue clinical psychology with a focus on neuropsychology. And as she’s done her entire life, she will take every advantage of the privilege that is education. “I’m beyond grateful for my scholarship at Cal,” Isakovic said. “For me, that is the biggest reward through swimming that I could have possibly imagined. I wouldn’t change my scholarship education at Cal for 50 gold medals. I tell that to everybody. Without coming to Berkeley, none of this would have happened.” SUMMER 2013
Hard Work Pays Off in the End
By Scott Ball
or senior water polo player Marin Balarin, the old adage “hard work plays off” certainly rings true in the summation of his career at Cal. Considered the heart and soul of the 2012 squad by head coach Kirk Everist, Balarin earned the 2013 Jake Gimbel Prize as the best example of the true Golden Bear spirit among this year’s class.
High, Balarin had to work his way up the ranks on the Bears’ water polo team to see any playing time. After scoring two goals as a redshirt freshman and competing in 11 matches as a sophomore, he had a breakout year as a junior, totaling 19 goals with Perhaps making the award more special 28 ejections earned and was the recipient of the Peter J. Cutino is the fact that Balarin’s nomination came Award as the team’s most improved player. from freshman teammate Colin MulcaThen as a senior captain, Balarin became one of the top playhy, a rare instance when the vast majori- ers in the MPSF and a third-team All-American. He was selectty of recommendations are submitted by ed to the MPSF All-Tournament Team after helping Cal win sevcoaches or academic advisors. The Gimbel en of its last eight matches, including upending No. 2-ranked Prize, which has been presented since the UCLA, 12-9, in the conference tournament semifinal. Balarin 1930s, recognizes a graduating male stu- finished the 2012 campaign leading the team with 51 ejecMarin Balarin dent-athlete for successful integration of tions earned and third in goals with 41. He concluded his Cal academic and athletic pursuits. career with 68 goals, and was selected national and conference “The Jake Gimbel Award is just a fantastic honor for Marin,” All-Academic three straight years. Everist said. “He tried every position except goalie and was “It was wonderful to be recognized by my team,” said Balarin. always been willing to battle for a spot and learn. For him to “I knew coming to Cal that I didn’t have as much experience as become a starting player and the other guys who had played team captain as a senior was for the U.S. National Team or in so great to watch. He is a leader Europe, but I knew that Cal had and someone whom I am very a great combination of athletic proud to have coached.” and academic excellence that Born in Zagreb, Croatia, Balarwould help me grow. There in moved to Berkeley as a onewere moments when I felt like year-old when his father, Felice, giving up because water polo is was earning his doctorate at an ultra-competitive sport, but Cal. After attending Berkeley I kept on pushing and working High School, where he was one on making sure the coaches of the Yellow Jackets all-time knew that I wanted this more top water polo players with a than anything. And the coaches school-record 210 goals, Balarkept their promise that if I kept in chose to attend Cal and major on working hard I would get an in applied mathematics. opportunity. It all worked out The Balarin family on Senior Day (from left): father, Felice; Marin; Despite being a star at Berkeley sister, Zanna; and mother, Vera well for me.” 36
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Published on Jul 25, 2013