March 31, 2003
UCLA will host the first annual Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational on Friday/Saturday (April 4-5) at Drake Stadium. The meet will highlight some of the nation's top professional and collegiate athletes.
Johnson and Joyner-Kersee are two of the greatest Bruin athletes in history. Johnson won the gold medal in the decathlon at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome. As a Bruin, he was an all-around track & field athlete under Ducky Drake and a two-year (1958-59) letterman in basketball under John Wooden. Johnson is the director of the Southern California Special Olympics.
Joyner-Kersee is the world record-holder in the heptathlon (7,291), American record-holder in the long jump (24-7) and was named by Sports Illustrated for Women the Greatest Female Athlete of the 20th Century. In Olympic competition, JJK won six medals, including three gold (1992 heptathlon/1988 heptathlon-long jump). As a Bruin, JJK was a two-time 1982-83 national collegiate champion in the heptathlon and a four-year (1980-83, 1984-85) starter on the UCLA women's basketball team.
Rafer Johnson/JJK Invitational
World-class athletes competing include - Bruin great John Godina, who recently placed second in the shot put at the 2003 World Indoor meet; former USC standout Felix Sanchez, running for the Dominican Republic, who for the last two years has been ranked No. 1 in the world in the 400m hurdles; Tyree Washington, the 2003 World and USA Indoor 400m champion and Eunice Barber, competing for France, who in 1999 won the world heptathlon crown.
Bruin standouts also competing include - junior Lena Nilsson, who recently won the 800m at the 2003 NCAA Indoor; senior Chaniqua Ross, the 2002 NCAA Outdoor discus champion; sophomore Jessica Cosby, the 2002 NCAA Outdoor shot put champion, senior Scott Wiegand, the 2002 Pac-10 shot put champion and junior Dan Ames, who recently earned All-American honors in both the shot put and 35lb. weight throw at the 2003 NCAA Indoor. Last weekend (March 28-30), the Bruin men competed at the Stanford Invitational.
UCLA was led by sophomore Erik Emilsson, who placed fourth in the 3000m steeplechase, with a time of 8:50.32. It was Emilsson's second-best time in the steeplechase, the No. 8 mark in school history and a NCAA Regional qualifier. Also in the steeplechase, senior Justin Patananan placed 10th, with a season-best and NCAA Regional qualifying mark of 9:05.03.
In the 800m, sophomore Martell Mungia placed sixth, winning his heat in a time of 1:51.41 (outdoor personal-best).