June 11, 2013
It is graduation week at UCLA -- excitement is in the air!
This Thursday night, 108 UCLA student-athletes will participate in the department's second annual graduation celebration. Meanwhile, one of Athletics' best-known staff members, gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, a UCLA graduate and an Athletics Hall of Famer, will serve as the Department of History Commencement Speaker. Additionally, another great Bruin, women's basketball legend and Hall of Famer Ann Meyers Drysdale, will fill the same role at both Letters and Sciences ceremonies on Friday in Pauley Pavilion.
Oh, what a week it will be in Westwood!
Baseball Punches Ticket to Omaha After Sweep at Fullerton
The UCLA baseball team swept Cal State Fullerton on the road last weekend (5-3 on Friday and 3-0 on Saturday) to take the Fullerton Super Regional and, remarkably, hand the hosts their first loss in a series since the 2012 season and avenge two regular-season losses in the process.
Saturday night's victory was the 27th postseason win of head coach John Savage's career, a new UCLA all-time high. In addition, closer David Berg added on to his UCLA single-season saves record with his 22nd save in Saturday's contest.
With the Super Regional victory, the Bruins (44-17) advance to the College World Series for the second consecutive year for the first time in school history. The Bruins have gone undefeated (5-0) in the Regional and Super Regional rounds each of the last two years. UCLA is one of just two schools to play in a bowl game, the NCAA Men's and Women's Basketball Tournaments and the College World Series during the 2012-13 school year (Louisville is the other).
The Bruins will travel to Omaha from Los Angeles on Wednesday and open play on Sunday night at 5 pm PT on ESPN2. For the latest updates on UCLA Baseball throughout the College World Series, as well as behind-the-scenes videos and photos from Omaha, please visit UCLA's Tournament Central page.
Wruck Wins NCAA Discus Championship, Leads Strong Performance in Eugene
Junior discus thrower Julian Wruck saved his best for last Friday afternoon at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, taking the lead in the fifth round and putting the finishing touches on his victory with a final throw of 213-1 to capture the title. It was the second individual NCAA championship for Wruck, who also took the crown in 2011 while attending Texas Tech.
Wruck's performance led the Bruins, who finished tied for 12th in the final men's standings. Additionally, junior Marcus Nilsson finished third in the decathlon, and junior Alec Faldermeyer was seventh in the hammer throw.
In women's competition, the Bruins were led by senior Turquoise Thompson, who registered a personal-best in the 400m hurdles and finished in third place, junior Ida Storm in the hammer throw (fifth place) and sophomore Kylie Price in the long jump (sixth place). The Bruins were 20th in the final team standings.
Congratulations to UCLA Director of Track and Field Mike Maynard and his coaching staff for a wonderful year.
Excellent Academic Progress Rates Continue for UCLA Athletic Teams
In statistics released earlier today for all Division I sports teams for the period between 2008-09 and 2011-12 academic years, 16 of the 24 (67%) UCLA teams had four-year averages of 970 or higher, and each was well above the 930 score the NCAA uses as a threshold for postseason penalties.
All 24 teams received scores of at least 950, and two teams - women's golf and men's water polo - had perfect marks of 1,000. In addition, 17 teams improved upon or equaled their APR from a year ago.
A total of 10 UCLA teams achieved a single-year APR of 1,000 for the 2011-12 school year - baseball, men's golf, men's volleyball, men's water polo, women's basketball, women's golf, women's gymnastics, softball, women's swimming & diving and women's tennis.
These scores emphasize that so many UCLA teams are thriving on and off the field. For UCLA's complete APR averages, please click here.
Fewer Than 10 Spots Remain for Bruins at the Beach
There are less than 10 spots remaining (at $500 each) for the inaugural "Bruins at the Beach" fundraiser event benefiting the Wooden Athletic Fund, to be held on Saturday, June 22 at The Strand at Headlands in Dana Point.
UCLA head coaches Jim Mora and Steve Alford will be in attendance, as will several Bruin legends, including basketball great Bill Walton and former football coach Terry Donahue.
In addition, all guests in attendance will also have the chance to bid on several one-of-a-kind auction items, including a round of golf for two at one of Los Angeles' most exclusive private golf courses, Bel-Air Country Club, joined by Tyus Edney. The golf package will also feature several unique UCLA gifts, including an official UCLA men's golf team bag. As if that that were not enough, what about a weekend for two at the historic and celebrated Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, where the glamour of Hollywood's golden age merges with the technology of the 21st century? That too will be up for bid.
To RSVP, please call the Wooden Athletic Fund Office, 310-206-3302, or visit woodenathleticfund.com/bruinsatthebeach for more information.
As an administrator, graduation week is truly one of the best weeks of the year for me. I have seen many of the young men and women who are graduating later this week progress from wide-eyed freshmen just a few short years ago into mature adults ready to take on the world.
Since I was a student-athlete here myself, I understand the rigors, sacrifice and dedication that each of them has put in to get to this point in their lives. It goes without saying that UCLA is a place that prides itself on providing a strong academic environment, one that can pose a great challenge to even the best of students. When you add the time and effort it takes to compete in each of their sports at the highest level, their efforts are remarkable. They and their families should be proud of what they have accomplished and excited about what lies ahead, whether on or off their chosen field of play.
Please join me in congratulating each of our graduating seniors.
Finally, I wanted to inform you that this is going to be last edition of Word from Westwood for the 2012-13 school year. Of course, that doesn't mean there won't be anything going on in the department over the summer, in fact, quite to the contrary. As always, for all the latest news on UCLA Athletics, including complete coverage of this week's athletics graduation ceremony, be sure to visit UCLABruins.com or follow @UCLAAthletics on Twitter.
I'll see each of you right back here the first week in August.
UCLA Athletic Director