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.
This weekend's meet will be the opening competition for junior All-American Brandon Johnson in the 400m hurdles and standout freshman Kevin Craddock in the 100m hurdles. Craddock, who missed most of his senior season with a leg injury, has already ran a lifetime-best in the 400m hurdles, qualifying him for the Regional meet. Johnson had an impressive indoor 400m season, running one of the top times in the nation. Senior Craig Everhart will also open up in his signature event, the 400m, after a solid indoor season that saw him ranked in the top-10 in the nation in the quarter-mile.
Sophomore John Caulfield, who threw the No. 2 mark in the nation in the shot put last weekend (63-8.25) will compete in both the shot put and discus on Saturday.
Two of UCLA's 50-foot plus triple jumpers will also be in action this weekend, senior Demetre Howard and sophomore Michael Johnson. The third member of the 50-foot club, sophomore Dominique Easterling, will compete in the high jump and long jump.
Sophomore Mike Haddan, who ran a season-best in the 800m last weekend at Cal/Nevada will compete in the 800m this weekend.