Jan. 26, 2006
Jeanette Bolden's No. 11 UCLA women's track team will open up the indoor season this weekend as they head to Seattle, WA and the UW Husky Indoor Invitational on Friday and Saturday.
The women, ranked 11th by Trackwire (tied with Alabama), are coming off an impressive 2005 campaign in which they finished second at the NCAA Outdoor meet. The Bruins return several All-Americans including seniors Chelsea Johnson (2004 NCAA Outdoor Pole Vault Champion) and Dawn Harper, along with juniors Ashley Caldwell and Kamaiya Warren. A strong freshmen contingent led by standout 400m runner and hurdler Nicole Leach coupled with the return of a strong core of athletes will make the 2006 campaign one to watch.
"Our goal for this meet is to go in healthy and come out healthy," said Head Coach Bolden. "We plan on competing to the best of our ability at this point of the season and represent UCLA proudly."
On Friday, Jan. 27, the women's pentathlon will get underway as sophomores Georgea Richards, Ingrid Kantola and Allison Miller are slated to compete. Senior Sarah West will also compete on Friday as she runs the 5,000m. The Distance Medley Relay team comprised of Caldwell, Leach, sophomore Shantae McKinney and junior Jenna Timinsky will also compete on day one of the meet. It will mark the first competition for Leach in a UCLA uniform, who has been mentioned as a contender for an indoor 400m title.
On Saturday, Johnson, who is ranked No. 1 in Trackwire's "Dandy Dozen", will compete in the pole vault. Last season, Johnson suffered a hamstring injury that cut her indoor season short, but looks ready to battle for her second National title this season. Harper, ranked No. 3 in Trackwire's "Dandy Dozen," will compete in the 60m hurdles, while Warren will throw the shot put, also on Saturday.
Aside from Leach, this weekend's meet will mark the first competition for several athletes in a UCLA uniform. Freshman Krystin Lacy will compete in the 60m dash, 200m dash, and a leg of the 4x400m relay, while another freshman, Chanelle Curry will run the 200m and on one of the 4x400m relay teams. Gabrielle Bournes, also a freshman, will compete in the 800m, 4x400m relay and DMR. McKinney, a sophomore, will run the 800m, 4x400m relay and DMR.
Caldwell, who redshirted last season with a stress fracture, returns to competition after a stellar cross country season in which she earned her second XC All-American honor of her career. Caldwell will compete in the one mile run, along with the DMR relay.
Jessica Cosby, who finished her eligibility last season, will also compete this weekend in the shot put. Cosby currently is a volunteer coach with the male Bruin throwers while competing professionally. Another former standout Bruin, 10-time All-American Cari Soong, will also open up the indoor season in Seattle as she competes in the weight throw.