Feb. 10, 2002
As Art Venegas enters his third season as the head coach of the UCLA men's track and field team and his 21st year on the Bruin staff, his 2002 UCLA squad will be built around four returning athletes who qualified last season for the 2001 NCAA Outdoor.
Moser, a tri-captain for the Bruins this year, is one of the top young throwers in the U. S. In 2001, he twice earned All-American honors, at the NCAA Outdoor (discus, 3rd-place, 197-4) and Indoor (shot put, 8th-place, 61-8.25). He also won the discus title at the 2001 Pac-10 meet and his personal-best 206-8 (No. 3 in UCLA history, No. 8 in the U. S.) set last season is a UCLA junior class record, breaking John Godina's old record of 204-2 (1994). A versatile thrower, Moser at 2001 Pac-10 meet, placed second in the shot put and fifth in the hammer throw. Last spring, he set personal-bests in both the shot put (62-4.50) and hammer (198-7, No. 10 in school history).
In 2001, Erickson's personal-best 50.54 400m hurdle mark was the top time entering the Pac-10 meet. A 2001 NCAA Outdoor qualifier, Erickson at last spring's Pac-10 meet also ran the second leg on UCLA's 4 X 400m relay that placed fourth (3:09.47) and he qualified in the 110m hurdles.
As a redshirt freshman last season, Ames earned All-American honors at the NCAA Indoor, placing ninth in the shot put (top eight Americans). Like Moser, Ames is another all-around thrower. At the 2001 NCAA Outdoor, he placed 16th in the shot put and 17th in the discus and at the Pac-10, he was fourth in the shot put, second in the discus and seventh in the hammer. His personal-bests set last season were a team-leader 63-10.25 in the shot put, 200-1 (No. 6 in school history) in the discus and 192-10 in the hammer.
Kim last season nearly cracked the Bruin career Top 10 pole vault list as a true freshman. At the 2001 NCAA Outdoor, he placed 11th (17-4.50, tying personal-best) and at the Pac-10, he was fifth. "These four athletes will set the standard for the rest of our team," said Venegas, recognized as one of the world's top coaches in the throwing events. "They have all competed at the highest collegiate level and their experience will help lead our younger athletes through elite conference and national competition."
Returning Pac-10 Scorers
Joining Moser, Erickson, Ames and Kim as returning Pac-10 scorers from last season are 10 other Bruin athletes, led by senior sprinter and tri-captain Michael Lipscomb, senior distance runner and tri-captain Bryan Green, sophomore jumper Juaune Armon and in the throws, junior Scott Wiegand.
Lipscomb last season as a junior college transfer, qualified for the Pac-10 meet in the 100m (10.55), placed fifth in the 200m and ran the third leg on UCLA's 4 X 100m relay that finished seventh.
Green at the 2001 Pac-10 meet, placed third in the 10,000m and his personal-best of 29:25.20 is No. 9 on the all-time UCLA chart. For the last two cross country seasons, Green has been the Bruins' top runner and has qualified as an individual to the NCAA Championships.
Armon, last season as a true freshman, scored in two jumping events at the Pac-10, placing sixth in the long jump and third (49-8.25, his personal-best by almost a foot) in the triple jump.
Wiegand, the biggest Bruin at 6-8 and 323 pounds who started his UCLA athletic career as an offensive lineman on the Bruin football team, scored in two throwing events at last spring's conference meet, placing sixth in the shot put and fourth in the discus (184-9, personal-best).
UCLA's other returning Pac-10 scorers are - on the track, sophomore sprinters Denye Versher and Rodney Diggs, sophomore hurdler Chuckie Ryan and junior hurdler John Barbieri, and in the field, junior vaulter Jared Drake and sophomore jumper Oliver Jackson.
At the 2001 Pac-10 meet, Versher placed sixth in the 400m and Diggs was seventh. Versher also ran on both of UCLA's scoring relays (4 X 100m, opening leg, 41.14, seventh, 4 X 400m, third leg, 3:09.47, fourth) and Diggs ran the opening leg on the 4 X 400m relay.
Ryan at last season's Pac-10 meet as a redshirt freshman, placed fifth in the 110m hurdles. In the 400m hurdles, Barbieri was seventh, and in qualifying, ran a personal-best 51.53.
In the field at last spring's conference meet, Drake was UCLA's highest placement in the pole vault, finishing third (17-3, personal best). In the jumps, Jackson was fourth in the long jump and 11th in the triple jump.
"Our returning NCAA Outdoor qualifiers, combined with our returning Pac-10 scorers, provide us with a complete team effort in our quest to always be one of the top dual meet squads in the nation," said Venegas, who has coached the Bruin men's and women's throwers to 31 NCAA individual titles. "Our quality depth has historically made us a highly competitive team at both the conference and NCAA levels."
Rankin, Incoming Recruits Bolster 2002 Bruin Squad
Sophomore distance runner Jon Rankin and a solid incoming recruiting class could also help the Bruins improve on last year's third-place showing at the Pac-10 (UCLA was the team leader after the first day's competition).
As a true freshman last season, Rankin won the 1500m at the USC meet and also won the 1500m at the U. S. Junior Nationals. Last fall, Rankin joined Green as one of the top runners on the Bruin cross country team until a stress fracture sidelined him for the remainder of the season.
Leading the Bruin incoming recruiting class are freshmen - distance runner Ben Aragon, sprinter Mario Bassani, throwers Jake Knight and Jeremy Silverman and hurdler Jonathan Williams. Aragon, as a senior prepster at West Hills HS in Santee last spring, placed third in the 1600m at the CA State meet. Last fall on the Bruin cross country team as a true freshman, he was UCLA's No. 2 runner at both the Pac-10 and NCAA West Region Qualifying meets.
Bassani, from Irvine HS, had the nation's No. 11 prep mark in the 400m (47.01) and placed third in the event at the 2001 CA State meet. Knight, from Rubidoux HS in Riverside, had the nation's No. 10 high school mark in the shot put (63-11.50) and at the CA State meet, he was fourth in the event. Silverman, from Annville-Cleona HS in Annville, PA, last season had the No. 4 U. S. prep mark in the shot put (65-4.25). Williams, from Notre Dame HS in Sherman Oaks, had personal best marks of 14.05 (100m hurdles) and 37.42 (300m hurdles) and at the 2001 CA State meet, placed fourth in both hurdles.
The Bruins will host three home track and field meets this spring at Drake Stadium - March 16 vs. California and Washington State, April 13 vs. BYU and CS Northridge and May 4, hosting USC in the traditional dual meet between the Bruins and the Trojans.
The 2002 NCAA Indoor meet is March 8-9 at Fayetteville, AR and the 2002 NCAA Outdoor is May 29-June 1 at Baton Rouge, LA. The 2002 Pac-10 meet is May 18-19 at Pullman, WA.