April 5, 2006
Over 600 athletes will converge on Westwood Thursday, April 6 through Saturday, April 8 for the fourth annual Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational. The three day meet will feature the hammer competition on Thursday, open/university events and a distance carnival on Friday, and invitational events on Saturday.
A ceremony honoring the namesakes of the meet, Rafer Johnson and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, will be held on Saturday at 2:00 pm.
The hammer competition will begin at 1:30 pm on Thursday with the women, while the men's hammer will follow around 3:30 pm. Field events begin on Saturday at noon with the women's shot put and men's pole vault, while running events will begin at 12:45 pm with the 100m hurdles. The distance carnival will begin at 6:00 pm on Friday with the women's steeplechase. On Saturday, invitational field events begin at 11:30 am with the women's pole vault, and invitational running events will start at 12:15 pm with the 4x100m relay.
Several Olympians and former Bruins will compete this weekend at the RJ/JJK Invite including - school record holder in the mile and 1500m, Jon Rankin, 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist and 2005 NCAA Champion Monique Henderson, 2005 NCAA Champion Candice Baucham, Belizian National Record Holder Jonathan Williams, 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Felix Sanchez, 2004 Olympian Sheena Johnson, All-Americans Jessica Cosby, Nick Thornton and Juaune Armon, Shevon Stoddart and Chinese National Team Member Liu Qing.
Along with the standout open track and field talent, several top universities will also be in attendance. Slated to compete are - Arizona, BYU, Cal Poly SLO, Fresno State, Missouri, Nevada Reno, Pt. Loma, University of San Francisco, USC, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, Utah State and Wyoming.
Freshman Rhonda Watkins, who ranks ninth in the nation in both the high jump (5-10.50) and long jump (20-4.25) will compete in both events this weekend. Senior Caroline Sommers, who also ranks ninth in the nation in the high jump (5-10.50) will also be in action. Sophomore Renee Williams, who holds the sixth-best jump in the nation in the long jump (20-5) will also compete in her signature event.
The Bruins will run both the 4x100m and 4x400m relays as teams will be comprised of four of the following five athletes - freshmen Nicole Leach and Chanelle Curry, sophomores Jolanda Diego and DeShanta Harris and senior Dawn Harper.
Senior Chelsea Johnson, the No. 1 ranked pole vaulter in the country will compete on Saturday in the invitational section.