April 5, 2005
The UCLA men's track and field team will play host to the third annual Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational beginning on Thursday, Apr. 7 and ending on Saturday, Apr. 9. The meet, which was created to honor two of the greatest athletes in UCLA and American history, Rafer Johnson and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, will feature several former Olympians and elite track and field athletes, along with several university teams.
In 2004, the meet produced 37 Olympic Trials "A" and "B" qualifying marks, over 150 NCAA Division I regional qualifying marks and 30 meet records and this year looks to be just as successful. Competition begins at 1:30 pm on Thursday with the hammer throw, followed by the university/open sections of the meet on Friday and the invitational sections on Saturday. Two ceremonies will be held on Saturday to honor the UCLA Olympians (12:55 pm) and the namesakes of the meet (2:40 pm).
This year's invitational section of the meet will be highlighted by 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist in the 400m hurdles Felix Sanchez, 2003 USA Outdoor Discus Champion Carl Brown and former world-ranked 400m runner Jerome Davis. The meet will also feature the Stanford men's team, Arizona, BYU, Utah State, CS Northridge, Cal Poly-SLO, UC San Diego and Point Loma in the university competition.
The Bruin men's team will have to do without All-American pole vaulter Yoo Kim who is out with an injury. Last week in practice, Kim's pole shattered, injuring his hand and is likely out for at least 2-3 weeks.
Although Kim is out, the Bruins have plenty of firepower for this weekend and will look to pick up regional qualifying marks and improve on those marks that have already qualified. So far this season, UCLA has picked up 20 regional qualifying marks and several of the Bruins rank in the top-10 in the country including - junior Craig Everhart, (3rd, 400m-46.38); senior Jon Rankin (4th, 1500m-3:42.82); senior Ben Aragon (10th, 1500m-3:44.87); junior Erik Emilsson (4th, Steeple-8:46.65); senior Jonathan Williams (2nd, 110mH-13.82, 7th, 400mH-51.33); Yoo Kim (9th, PV-17-2.75); junior Jeremy Silverman (3rd, SP-63-6.25); freshman John Caulfield (10th, SP-61-2.75); freshman Greg Garza (8th, DT-185-4)