June 9, 2012
The NCAA Track & Field Championships have come to a close and although UCLA has no athletes competing on the final day of the meet, both squads finished strong in the team competition. The men finished 17th overall, while the women tied for 21st.
The men's team posted their highest team finish since 2007, when the Bruins finished ninth as a team. They tied for 17th in 2004 and have equaled the second-best team finish in the last 10 years. Last year, they finished 37th overall.
The men's team picked up points from three sophomores - Mike Woepse (2nd in pole vault), Alec Faldermeyer (3rd in hammer); and Marcus Nilsson (6th in decathlon). All three earned first-team All-America honors.
The 4x100m relay squad of Jamal Alston, Maxwell Dyce, R.J. Frasier and Laijon White earned second-team All-America honors (16th) along with discus thrower Matthew Kosecki (10th). Derek Eager (javelin) and Dyce (200m) earned honorable mention All-America honors in their respective events. None of the athletes competing at NCAAs for the men's team were seniors.
"I am really happy for our team," said Head Men's Coach Mike Maynard. "We fought hard all season long to break into the top 25 and finally did heading into the NCAA Championships (24th). To come in here ranked 24th and finish in the top 20 with all of the young people we have on this team says a lot about where we are going. I couldn't be more proud of our coaches and athletes. They have done a fantastic job and it shows the growth and improvement of our program."
The women's team posted their highest finish since 2009 when they tied for 16th. They came into the meet unranked. Last year, the women tied for 34th overall.
A trio of women scored for the Bruins to earn first-team All-America honors. Turquoise Thompson was second in the 400m hurdles, Ida Storm was fifth in the hammer and Kylie Price was seventh in the long jump. The 4x400m relay team of Ally Courtnall, Breyonna Hunter, Katie Reid and Tatum Souza earned honorable mention All-America honors. Just like the men's squad, none of the NCAA competitors are seniors.
"Our women's team is making a comeback," said Women's Head Coach Jeanette Bolden. "Last year, we tied for 34th and this year we moved up to 21st with a really young team. Out future looks bright with our returning athletes and top recruits coming in. I'm very proud of our young ladies. I'm really excited for the future of this team."
Up next for the Bruins will be the USATF Jr. National Championships, followed by the U.S. Olympic Trials.