Feb. 11, 2006
The No. 24 UCLA men's track and field team had an impressive showing at the Iowa State Classic in Ames, IA as senior Craig Everhart, sophomore Austin Ramos, and the 4x400m relay team led the Bruins with top performances and NCAA qualifying marks.
On Friday, Ramos started things off in the 5000m running a huge lifetime best of 13:58.66 (old indoor best-14:19.37). His time was a provisional qualifier for the NCAA Championships and was just six seconds off Meb Keflezighi's school record (13:52.72).
"I feel great about the race," said Ramos. "It was a great opener and I know where I'm at now in my training. It puts me in a great spot for Seattle. I'm just going to work on having a solid week of practices and head to MPSF with the confidence that I can run even faster."
On Saturday, Everhart and the 4x400m posted some of the top times in the nation as both can certainly punch a ticket to Arkansas for Nationals with their performances. Everhart finished third in the 400m with a season-best and provisional time of 46.65, a time that ranks in the top-five in the nation. The 4x400m team of Everhart, freshman Elijah Wells, sophomore James Rhoades and junior Brandon Johnson broke the school record (3:08.15), running a provisional time of 3:06.48 to win the event. That time also ranks in the top-five in the nation. Everhart led off the relay with a 46.5 split, followed by Wells in 47.1, Rhoades in 47.2, and Johnson anchoring the team with a 45.3 split.
"They did exceptional today," said Sprint Coach Tony Veney. "They ran the time that was representative of getting into Nationals. We knew when we came to run, we came to run fresh, and the fellas came through like champs."
"To run two 46's in one day is amazing," said Everhart. "And I'm ready to run faster. I think it's just a sign of things to come. We just beat our school record and I"m so proud of how this group ran today. They're getting faster and this has been our best race yet. The faster we run, the more excited and more committed we all of become. This is a really good experience for the freshman and they are happy they got into the history book at UCLA."
The Bruins also saw fine performances from their throwers and jumpers at the Iowa Classic. In the shot put, sophomore John Caulfield continued to post consistent marks as he placed fourth (2nd collegian) with a provisional throw of 61-4.75. Senior Jake Knight had a great meet, throwing 60-1 to equal his indoor lifetime-best, as well as achieving a provisional mark for Nationals. In the triple jump, sophomores Dominique Easterling and Michael Johnson, Jr. finished within 1.25 inches of each other as Easterling placed fourth with a jump of 50-2 and Johnson was sixth with a mark of 50-0.75.
Senior Erik Emilsson rebounded from a tough mile run (4:08.54, 9th) on Friday to finish 14th in the 800m with a new lifetime-best of 1:50.41.
The Bruins return home for two weeks as they prepare for the MPSF Indoor Championships, a meet which they have won for four consecutive years. Two weeks after MPSF, those that have qualified will head to Fayetteville, AR for the 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships.