LOS ANGELES – The UCLA cross country team opened training camp at the Mammoth Lakes area on Thursday and immediately went into competition mode. The Bruins will race at the Nevada Twilight Classic at Shadow Mountain Park in Sparks, Nev., on Friday.
Over 800 entries that include athletes from middle schools, high schools and collegiate men and women are set to compete under the lights on the short fast course.
“We have a small but very talented team running at Reno,” coach Forest Braden said. “Although this is just a small opening meet, we always want to get in there and compete our best.”
Making her season debut for the Bruins will be senior Kelsey Smith. An All-Pac-12 performer and track All-American will lead a squad that includes Jen Owen, Sabrina Seay, Rachel Brajkovich, Kelly Brooks, Sadia Ibrahim and newcomer Roni Yamane.
On the men’s side junior Nick Hartle returns to his home state to lead a group that includes Austin O’Neil, Jonah Diaz, Nolan Dickson, Max Davis and Seam Davis.
The Bruins will be training in the mountains for three weeks before returning to campus for the start of classes.
“We are excited to get into the mountains and get ready for this season,” Braden said. “Our time in Mammoth sets the tone for the entire season. We leave all distractions behind us and bond as a team while training at a world class level. This is a time to get to know your teammates and learn more about yourself. After three weeks up here we will come down fit and ready to compete with anybody.”
UCLA will head to the BYU Autumn Classic during its time in Mammoth as well. The meet is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 13 in Provo, Utah.