March 11, 2005
The UCLA men's Distance Medley Relay team of seniors Ben Aragon and Jon Rankin and juniors Martell Munguia and Craig Everhart placed second (9:33.60) at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, AR to earn All-American honors. At first, Arkansas was deemed the winner but were eventually disqualified, giving Michigan the NCAA title, and the Bruins the runner-up position.
Last year at NCAA Indoor, the Bruin DMR team finished a disappointing 12th place and came back to Arkansas with something to prove. Going into the meet, UCLA was picked to finish fifth or sixth in the race but finished higher then anyone had expected.
"These four guys ran on the DMR team last year that underachieved and today they came back to redeem themselves and run to their potential," said Head Distance Coach Eric Peterson. "Rarely do you get a second chance at anything and tonight these four men showed how it should be done."
The Bruins went from fifth to first after a scorching 45 second 400m split by Everhart and a perfect handoff to Munguia. Rankin ran well and fought through the last leg of the race, as the Bruins went on to finish second in a season-best time of 9:33.60.
"Craig got us the lead and Munguia kept us in it," said Peterson. "Rankin ran a great leg and we are so proud of their efforts."
Rankin on the Race
"This is definitely the proudest moment of my UCLA career. I can't ask for anything more. We've been working for this moment and it just feels awesome."
Munguia on the Race
"I'm so excited. Craig and I had an amazing handoff and our training prepared us for this competition. We were ready for this and we didn't just sneak into second because we were in it from the beginning."
Aragon on the Race
"It was a physical race, but the early pace wasn't too fast. It was a great performance from everyone on this team and we are looking forward to the outdoor season. It's about time and things finally came together."
"All four of these young men showed up at the right time and had a great run," said Head Sprint Coach Tony Veney. "It was obviously a collaborative effort. Each person runs a different discipline and you win it in the middle. Everhart and Munguia set us up well and Rankin was able to bring us home This is something this quartet will remember for the rest of their lives."
Everhart on the Race
"Everyone said we would finish fifth or sixth, but things aren't always what they seem. Anything can happen and tonight it happened for the Bruins. The handoff with Martell was crazy and it was like we just passed everybody up. This just shows the progress UCLA has made."
Everhart also had an impressive individual effort in the 400m qualifyng earlier today as he advanced to tomorrow's final with the seventh fastest time of the day (46.68, 3rd in his heat). This will be Everhart's first ever NCAA Championships final.
"We are so pleased he is in the final," said Coach Veney. "We are really looking forward to an exciting day tomorrow as Craig races in his first ever NCAA final."
Everhart on the 400m Race
"I feel really confident after the DMR. Coach Veney and I have been working on my race strategy and I'm ready for a big day tomorrow. I don't know anyone that doesn't prepare to win and I"m preparing for a great race on Saturday."
Senior Yoo Kim, who was a strong contender for an NCAA title in the pole vault finished 10th with a mark of 17-4.50.
"It just wasn't his day," said Pole Vault Coach Anthony Curran.
Everhart will go for his second All-American honor on Saturday in the 400m to conclude the competition for UCLA.