Bruins Head to Eugene for NCAA Championships

June 4, 2013

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UCLA Track & Field heads to Eugene, Ore. this week to compete in the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, set for June 5-8 at Historic Hayward Field. The teams' 10 total entries will compete for national titles in their respective individual (or combined) events, while also keeping the team championship hopes alive.

The ten entries were accepted into this week's national championships after qualifying at the NCAA West Preliminary Championships in Austin, Tex. The West Region's top 48 athletes for each individual event (24 for relays) were invited to the preliminary round, all competing for the top 12 qualifying spots needed to advance. Combined athletes, though, did not compete. Instead, the top 24 decathletes and heptathletes in each region automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships.

Action begins Wednesday, June 5, at 1:30 pm PT with the women's hammer throw trials and final. Day 1 will also feature several field event finals, such as the women's long jump, as well as many of the short/middle distance semifinal heats. For a full schedule of events, please refer to the link at the top of the page.

Broadcast Information:
June 6 at 3:50 pm PT: ESPN3
June 7 at 4:30 pm PT: ESPNU
June 8 at 2 pm PT: ESPNU

Double the Price
Sophomore Kylie Price hopes to realize the full potential her jump-and-run double threat has brought to competitions all throughout the 2013 season. The Chino Hills, Calif. native has already flexed her ability in the long jump during her first two years in Westwood, most notably by earning First Team All-America honors for her seventh place finish (6.43m/21-1.5) in the long jump at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships. That laid the foundation for a phenomenal 2013 season for Price that included a first place finish (6.33m/20-9.25) in a dual meet victory over crosstown rival USC, as well as runner-up performances at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays (6.52m/21-4.75; legal career-best and No. 5 all-time in UCLA history) and the 2013 Pac-12 Championships (6.55m/21-6w; wind-aided PR).

This year, though, it has been her strides made in the 100m event that have been the most impactful. Since last season, Price has become one of the conference's most elite short distance runners, as evidenced by her runner-up finish (11.48) in the 100m at the Pac-12 Championships in May (she finished 12th overall in 2012, did not make the final). In 2013, Price recorded two event victories in the 100m sprint, the first coming on Apr. 13 in the Pomona-Pitzer Invite (11.47) and the second coming in a career-best run (11.36) as part of a duo of victories in the USC dual meet. Price heads to Eugene as the fifth seed in the West in the 100m (11.65) and seventh in the LJ (6.28m/20-7.25).

Hammer it Home
Some of the Bruins' strongest athletes will be looking to compete for NCAA titles in both the men's and women's hammer throws. On the women's side, junior Ida Storm will be making her third NCAA Championship appearance in as many years. The Swede has collected All-America honors for a fifth place finish in 2012 (First Team) and an 11th place result in 2011 (Second Team). Storm became UCLA's all-time record holder in the hammer throw, courtesy of a massive throw of 68.05m/223-3 at this year's Mt. SAC Relays. This year, Storm heads North after qualifying tenth at the West Preliminary Championships (61.23m/200-11).

Junior Alec Faldermeyer will lead the way for the Bruin men at the NCAA Championships in the hammer throw, hoping to break through after two consecutive top-five finishes at the NCAA finals. In 2012, Faldermeyer won the Preliminary Championships (67.03m/219-11) and went on to finish third overall at the national championships (68.35m/224-3). Last weekend, Faldermeyer threw himself out of a 2-foul hole to qualify ninth in the West (63.92m/209-8) and punch his ticket to Eugene.

The New Hampton, N.Y. native hopes to capitalize on what has been an up-and-down season. After Faldermeyer opened the 2013 outdoor season with back-to-back wins in Texas, the first at the Texas State Elite Meet (61.06m/200-4) and the second in a huge winning performance at the Texas Relays (69.75m/228-10), he was unable to find the winner's circle despite several runner-up performances.

A Champion's Revenge
Redshirt junior Julian Wruck is on a mission this season: to reclaim the NCAA men's discus crown. Wruck, the 2011 NCAA men's discus champion (Texas Tech), competed unattached last year after coming to Westwood following two success-filled seasons in Lubbock, TX. As a freshman, Wruck finished third overall at the NCAA Championships (58.03m/190-5). Then, during his sophomore season in 2011, he exploded to claim the individual title.

In 2013, he has taken the nation's discus field by storm, returning to action in a season that included a top mark in the world in 2013 (now he is third), a top mark in UCLA history, and most importantly, a throw that has become the all-time top collegiate mark in the men's discus event. He first became the school's all-time leader back on Mar. 23, thowing 65.04m/213-5 in a win at the Texas State Elite Meet. Since then, Wruck has topped his own mark several times. But his most memorable throw as of late was his performance at the Claremont Hammer and Discus Elite Invitational, where he became the all-time collegiate record holder in the men's discus throw with a mark of 68.16m/223-7.

The nation's leading thrower, Wruck went undefeated in his redshirt junior campaign this season, recording six regular season victories as well as claiming the 2013 Pac-12 discus title. So far, he has thrown six of the top ten collegiate throws all-time, and he owns all 25 of this season's top collegiate marks.

Nothing to Feel Blue About
Senior captain Turquoise Thompson returns once again to the NCAA Outdoor Championships to chase the elusive 400m hurdles championship she has been searching for during her UCLA career. Thompson has been the NCAA runner-up the last two years, and she managed to place ninth overall at NCAA's in 2010 while just a freshman.

The All-American Thompson's four year career, though, has been nothing short of brilliant. She won back-to-back Pac-12 Championships in the 400mH event in 2010 and 2011, and has top-three finishes in each of the last two seasons. On May 12, Thompson claimed third overall at the conference championships with a lifetime best 55.18 (No. 6 all-time in UCLA history). Thompson began her 2013 season on the recovery trail, but she quickly gained momentum. On Apr. 6 in the Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invite vs. LSU & TCU, Thompson earned her first event victory of the season, running 56.16 in the 400mH. She added two more victories in the dual meet victory over rival USC, first running a lifetime-best in the 400m (52.31, No. 10 all-time in UCLA history). Then, the senior captain cruised to a victory in the 400mH (57.58) later in the afternoon. Last weekend in Austin, Thompson secured the second seed in the West (55.97), improving one spot in the semi-final race after sitting third through the preliminary heats.

Hurdling onto the Scene
Sophomore sprinter/hurdler Brea Buchanan will head to Eugene with the confidence and credentials to fuel her run for an NCAA individual title. She has risen as one of the most elite members of UCLA Track & Field in 2013, first showing signs of greatness at the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships where she finished fifth overall in the 60m hurdles (8.16). Since then, the Chino Hills, Calif. native has accounted for two event victories and two runner-up finishes in the 100mH alone during this outdoor season. Buchanan posted a lifetime-best 12.77 in a second place finish in the 100mH at the 2013 Pac-12 Championships, a mark that is No. 2 all-time in UCLA history. At the Preliminary Championships, Buchanan finished atop the qualifying field in the West Region, running a 13.054 in the semifinal heat.

Bruins Can Do It All
UCLA Track & Field sends three combined event athletes to the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Championships: senior Dominic Giovannoni, and juniors Tatum Souza and Marcus Nilsson. The Bruin men are one of only four schools bringing to Eugene a duo of decathletes to the national championship. Both Giovannoni and Nilsson are both ranked inside the top-15 nationally, courtesy of some huge performances during the season. The Swede Nilsson is making his second NCAA appearance, hoping to receive All-America honors for the second consecutive season. In the 2012 Championships, he finished fifth overall (7,823 pts.). He has made strides in a number of events in 2013, the biggest in the javelin, where he improved his PR almost four full meters (47.48m/155-9).

Senior captain Giovannoni, who will be making his first NCAA appearance in the decathlon for the Bruins, put himself into national contention early in the 2013 season with a lifetime-best 7,558 point performance at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. At the Pac-12 Championships, the Napa, Calif. native improved his PR to 7,634 points, finishing third overall with a result that ranks No. 7 all-time in UCLA history. Known for his sprint and vault abilities, Giovannoni has set personal-bests in six individual events across the board in 2013, making him a serious contender for the individual crown.

Fellow Napa native Tatum Souza has also had a 2013 outdoor season full of improvements. Souza set personal bests in six of the seven heptathlon events this season, which culminated in a 274 point increase for her heptathlon lifetime-best. As with Giovannoni, her personal-best (5,624 pts.) came at the 2013 Pac-12 Championships (No. 7 all-time in UCLA history). Souza was the Pac-12 runner-up in the combined event as she improved her PR in the 200m (25.20), 800m (2:16.87) as well as the high jump (1.69m/5-6.5) at the conference meet. The junior Souza will be making her second NCAA appearance, but her first in the heptathlon. In 2012, she received an All-America honorable mention for her 21st place finish in the women's 4x400m relay.

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