May 14, 2013
This week has been dubbed I ♥ UCLA Week by the Student Alumni Association. In their words, it is a week full of arts, culture, philanthropy and good old Bruin spirit!
All of us in Athletics will join with our brethren across campus to celebrate the very best of UCLA, culminating with UCLA Alumni Day on Saturday, an on-campus event that will feature sessions from former softball coach Sue Enquist and former men's basketball student-athlete John Vallely.
Feel free to join us in Westwood for as many activities as you can throughout this special week. For more information, click here.
Tennis Teams Sweep First Two NCAA Matches, Punch Tickets for Round of 16
The #1-ranked men's tennis team breezed through NCAA Regional action at the Los Angeles Tennis Center over the weekend, posting a pair of 4-0 decisions over both UMKC and Drake in the NCAA First and Second Rounds, respectively.
Next up for the Bruins is a meeting with 16th-seeded Vanderbilt in the round of 16 this Thursday in Champaign, Ill. Match time is scheduled for 5 pm PT.
Like the #1-ranked men's team, the #7-seeded women's tennis team also notched a pair of 4-0 wins in NCAA Regional play at LATC over the weekend. The Bruins beat both Army and Oklahoma State to advance.
UCLA will face off against #10-seed Michigan Friday in the NCAA Round of 16. Match time is scheduled for 5 pm (PT).
Women's Golf Earns Spot in NCAAs After Strong Final Day at Regional
The #5-ranked women's golf team turned in an exceptional round at the Auburn University Golf Club Sunday to finish in seventh place in its regional, qualifying the team for next week's 2013 NCAA Championship.
Play in the NCAA Championship will begin on Tuesday, May 21 in Athens, Georgia. The Bruins, who played the course once before at the Fall Preview, will be looking to win their second title in three years.
Track & Field Teams Place in Top Third of Pac-12, Prepare for NCAA Action
The men's and women's track and field teams finished last weekend's Pac-12 Track & Field Championships in third and fourth place, respectively, last weekend at USC.
On the men's side, the Bruins captured two individual championships, with junior Julian Wruck taking the discus with a conference-record throw of 65.41 meters (214-7 feet) and Mike Woepse winning the pole vault in a season-best effort of 5.46m/17-11 ft.
With individual event victories from Woepse and Wruck, the UCLA men have earned at least one individual conference title in each of the last 49 years.
Several of the Bruin women turned in solid performances, including second-place finishes from Kylie Price in the long jump and Brea Buchanan, who ran the No. 2 time in school history in the 100m hurdles, and a third-place finish by Ida Storm in the hammer throw.
Those members of the team who have qualified for the postseason will head to Austin, Texas next week to participate in the NCAA Regionals.
Softball Opens Road to the College World Series in Louisville Regional
The #15-ranked UCLA softball team will head to Louisville this week for NCAA Regional action. UCLA's first game will be on Friday against UAB at 2 pm PT. Institutional host Louisville and Indiana University--Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) are the other two teams in the Regional.
The Bruins concluded the regular season with a 37-18 record and a 10-14 mark in the Pac-12 Conference, tying for fifth. UCLA closed the season with wins in five of its last six contests, including a series victory at Oregon State last weekend.
The winner of the Louisville Regional will advance to NCAA Super Regionals and will face the winner of the Gainesville Regional, which includes #2-seed Florida, South Florida, Georgia Southern and Hampton.
Women's Water Polo Team Finishes Third at NCAAs
Following a hard-fought 5-3 loss to Stanford in Saturday's semifinals, the women's water polo team rebounded to take home third place at the NCAA Tournament with a 13-8 win over sixth-ranked Hawai'i on Sunday at Harvard.
Freshman Rachel Fattal led the Bruins with four goals and was named to the NCAA All-Tournament first team. UCLA ended its 2013 season with an overall record of 28-7 and is now 51-8 all-time in postseason play and 28-5 in NCAA Championship competition.
Men's Basketball Team to Play in Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational in November
Though the entire season schedule is not yet set in stone, the men's basketball team has announced its participation in the 13th annual Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational at Orleans Arena on Nov. 28-29, 2013.
UCLA, Missouri, Nevada and Northwestern highlight this year's eight-team tournament field. Each team will play four games in the Las Vegas Invitational, with the first two at on-campus venues and the final two rounds at Orleans Arena.
In the event's regional round competition, UCLA will host a pair of games prior to playing in Las Vegas. The other four teams in this year's tournament include Chattanooga, IUPUI, Morehead State and Gardner-Webb. Matchups will be announced at a later date.
Tickets for the Bruins' games in Las Vegas can be purchased through UCLA's Central Ticket Office by calling 310-UCLA-WIN (310-825-2946).
The remainder of 2013-14 schedule is currently being finalized with the Pac-12 and is not expected to be announced until later this summer.
Olympic Sports Report
- The #8-ranked baseball team improved its chances of hosting a regional with its three-game sweep of defending national champion Arizona at Jackie Robinson Stadium over the weekend. The Bruins travel to Fullerton for a Tuesday night game before wrapping up the week on the road at USC against their crosstown rivals.
- After taking last week off, the #3-ranked men's golf team competes in NCAA Regional action as the top seed in Tempe this Thursday-Saturday. The top eight finishers in the region will advance to the national championships, to be hosted by Georgia Tech, May 28-30.
- The #7-ranked women's rowing team will compete at the Pacific Coast Rowing Championships on Saturday before racing at Pac-12 Championships on Sunday in Rancho Cordova, Calif. A strong finish at Sunday's Pac-12 Championships can propel the Bruins to their third NCAA Championships appearance in four seasons.
Olympic Sports Scholarship Dinner Held In Pauley Pavilion
The Olympic Sports Scholarship Donor Dinner was held Monday evening on the Pauley Pavilion concourse, featuring 25 student-athletes and several head coaches from 10 UCLA Olympic sports dining with donors who have endowed scholarships for various Olympic sports.
This annual event serves as a wonderful opportunity for the student-athletes to meet those who have endowed scholarships for their sport, and who help make it possible for them to compete for UCLA. Conversely, it is a great opportunity for the scholarship donors to meet face-to-face with, and get to know, the student-athletes who are benefiting from their generosity.
The Athletic Department and the Wooden Athletic Fund/Development Office would like to thank all those donors who attended, as well as those student-athletes and coaches who made the evening a very special one.
UCLA Alums Nick Ekbatani, Dr. Foster Mobley Speak at Wooden Academy Event
Also earlier this week, UCLA student-athletes gathered in Pauley Pavilion for the Wooden Academy's annual Spring meeting, which featured two Bruin alums as guest speakers, Nick Ekbatani and Dr. Foster Mobley.
The evening started off with a visit from Ekbatani, a former offensive lineman, who played football for UCLA from 2006-2009. Less than a year ago, he was involved in a serious motorcycle accident that resulted in the loss of his left leg below the knee.
Ekbatani, who attended the first-ever Wooden Academy meeting more than six years ago as a student-athlete, spoke about the life-altering accident event and his determination to deal with the adversity by following Coach Wooden's set of threes, "Don't whine, don't complain, don't make excuses."
Later in the meeting, Dr. Mobley, the founder and chief executive officer of The Foster Mobley Group and author of "Leadersh*t: Rethinking the Path to Great Leading," addressed the student-athletes gathered. His presentation, "Full Stream, Full Performance", focused on defining success and identifying the boulders that limit full performance.
In addition, Dr. Mobley, who works closely with the softball and gymnastics teams on leadership and teamwork, shared practical tips that student-athletes can utilize to improve their performance.
Development Corner: UCLA Athletics Partners to take Coaches On the Road
Several UCLA head coaches will be featured in three UCLA On the Road events entitled "How Champions Are Made" throughout the Southland, presented by a partnership of the UCLA Foundation, UCLA Athletics Department and the Wooden Athletic Fund, in the coming weeks.
The event schedule is as follows:
- Wednesday, May 29 at the Hyatt Westlake Plaza -- featuring Jim Mora and Adam Wright.
- Wednesday, June 5 at the Westin South Coast Plaza -- featuring Jim Mora.
- Tuesday June 11 on the field at the Rose Bowl Stadium -- featuring Jim Mora.
Each of the sessions costs $20 to attend and will begin with a reception at 6:30 pm, followed by a 7:15 pm speaking program.
For more information, or to register for any of these events, please visit ontheroad.ucla.edu. Note that, per the UCLA Foundation, these events are only open to UCLA Alumni or donors who have given to any area of the university, including the Wooden Athletic Fund, over the span of the previous five years.
As the end of the school year quickly approaches in the next three weeks, I must say that I am certainly very proud of the high level of performance of the teams that have represented UCLA all year long, but specifically this spring.
Just another example of a terrific performance by a team this season is the women's water polo squad, comprised primarily of freshmen and sophomores, who just finished in third place nationally on Sunday. Several other teams are in the throes of competition for NCAA Championships, and many are in good position to make a serious run at the title -- among them: men's tennis (ranked #1 nationally), women's tennis (#7), softball (#15) and both men's (#3) and women's golf (ranked #6). In addition, both the men's (#15) and women's track teams (#12) have experienced a resurgence in recent years, and will make some noise on the national stage in the coming weeks.
Others, such as the baseball team (ranked #8) and rowing team (ranked #7), have yet to finish their regular seasons, but are poised to enter NCAA competition soon, and will also be contenders for the top prize in their respective sports.
I have personally enjoyed watching these teams compete this year. Just last week, I had a chance to catch both tennis teams at the LATC and the baseball team over at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The week prior to that, I spent the morning with several other staff members and fans at the UCLA Boathouse at Marina Del Rey to watch our team row in a dual meet. Amy Fuller Kearney's crew has made huge strides over the past few years and is now recognized as one of the top programs in the country, a tremendous accomplishment for the team and coaching staff.
That on-field success this spring, when coupled with the academic success by all of our student-athletes in the winter quarter as discussed recently in the blog, gives all of us in Athletics great pleasure and should do the same for you as members of the Bruin Family. No other school in the country is experiencing this kind of across-the-board excellence in its athletics program this spring.
Congrats to those coaches and student-athletes who have finished their seasons for a job well done ... and best wishes to those who still have work to do.
UCLA Athletic Director