March 4, 2006
The UCLA women's track and field team had an impressive showing in just the first outdoor meet of the season as seniors Chelsea Johnson and Caroline Sommers, along with sophomore Renee Williams and freshmen Nicole Leach and Rhonda Watkins led the Bruins at the UCLA Invitational on Saturday.
Johnson, who already holds the No. 1 collegiate pole vault mark in the nation indoors (14-5.25), opened up the outdoor season with another top mark, clearing 14-3.25 (regional qualifier) to win that event. Junior Jacqueline Nguyen, who redshirted last season after having knee surgery, returned to competition with a second-place finish and regional qualifying mark of 12-9.50. Sophomore Elizabeth Woepse finished third with a jump of 12-3.50.
Leach, one of the most heralded freshman to join the UCLA track team, opened up the outdoor season with a bang, running 52.46 (regional qualifier) in the 400m to win. Freshman Chanelle Curry was second in a time of 56.40 and sophomore Shantae McKinney placed third (57.86) to round out a Bruin sweep in the 400m.
In the long jump, Williams won with a regional qualifier of 20-5, just 3.5 inches off her lifetime-best (20-8.50). She also won the triple jump with a lifetime-best and regional qualifying mark of 40-6. Watkins finished second in the long jump with a regional qualifying mark of her own, 19-11.75.
In the high jump, Watkins and Sommers both cleared 5-10.50, but Sommers won on misses, while Watkins placed second. Watkins' jump was just 1 inch shy of her lifetime-best (5-11.50), while Sommers notched a lifetime-best. Freshman Lauren Correa and sophomore Kathleen Mahony also jumped lifetime-bests, as Correa was third with a mark of 5-8.50 and Mahony was fourth with a jump of 5-6.50.
Senior Dawn Harper won the 100m with a lifetime-best of 11.83, as well as the 200m in a time of 23.97. Leach finished second in a time of 24.04, while Curry was fourth in 25.12.
Senior Leslie Barrie won the steeplechase with a lifetime-best run of 10:52.57. Freshman Ciara Viehweg was second with a time of 11:03.69. In the 1500m, sophomore Monika Rothenburger ran a lifetime-best 4:39.69 to finish second overall.
In the 800m, junior Jenna Timinsky won in a time of 2:10.63, while sophomore Alice Bohannon was second with a lifetime-best of 2:13.06. Junior Ashley Caldwell won the 2-mile in a time of 10:29.42, while sophomore Claire Rethmeier was second in 10:32.79.
Next weekend three Bruins will head to the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, AR with the hopes of bringing home All-American honors - senior Dawn Harper in the 60m hurdles, senior Chelsea Johnson in the pole vault, and junior Kamaiya Warren in the shot put. The rest of the team will have two weeks off before heading to Northridge, CA for the CSUN Invite March 16-18.