March 1, 2006
The No. 17 UCLA women and No. 20 Bruin men kickoff the outdoor season on Saturday, March 4 as they host the UCLA Invitational at Drake Stadium. Cal State Bakersfield, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State LA and Cal Poly SLO highlight teams that are slated to compete. The meet will also feature several track clubs, open athletes and throwers from Moorpark College.
Field events begin at 9:00 am with the women's hammer, while running events start at 12:00 pm with the women's steeplechase. Admission to the UCLA Invitational is free.
On the women's side, the majority of the team, with the exception of a few sprinters, will be competing. Senior Dawn Harper, who will be competing at the Indoor Nationals next week in the 60m hurdles, might compete in a relay, while freshman Nicole Leach is slated to just run a leg of the relay.
The jumpers will also compete as junior Jacqueline Nguyen makes her long awaited return to competition in the pole vault. Last season, Nguyen was forced to redshirt after suffering a knee injury which required surgery. She was held out of the indoor season, but is at full strength and will compete this weekend.
The majority of the men's team will ocmpete on Saturday, while senior Craig Everhart and junior Brandon Johnson most likely won't compete as they continue to train for the NCAA Indoor Championships which are next week in Fayetteville, AR. Heralded freshman hurdler Kevin Craddock will make his UCLA debut as he competes in the 400m hurdles. The distance runners will be in full effect, competing in the 800m, 2-mile, steeple and 1500m.
The throwers will also be in full force aside from senior Jeremy Silverman who is still recovering from a high ankle sprain. Freshman Boldizsar Kocsor, the 2005 USATF Jr. and PanAm Champion will open up in the hammer and shot put after redshirting last season. Sophomore John Caulfield, who will be competing in the shot put at NCAA Indoors next week, will open up in the discus on Saturday, along with 2005 Pac-10 finalist sophomore Greg Garza.
In the jumping events, most athletes will be competing. The Bruins did lose an intrigal member of their team early in the indoor season when senior David Murphy was injured in practice. Murphy suffered a torn biceps, which required surgery, and is out 4-6 months. Juniors David Shortenhaus and Mike Landers, both NCAA indoor provisional qualifiers with jumps of 17-1, will also compete.