Feb. 28, 2007
The No. 12/19 UCLA women and No. 14 men's track and field teams will open up the outdoor season on Saturday as they host the UCLA Invitational in Drake Stadium. The meet is scheduled to begin at 9:00 am with the hammer throw, while running events start at noon with the steeplechase. Admission is free.
Several local teams are set to compete against the Bruins including Long Beach State, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Bakersfield and Cal State Los Angeles. The meet is an open invitational, meaning post-collegiate athletes and unattached athletes can compete. UCLA will also have several redshirt athletes participating in the meet.
This weekend's meet is the first opportunity for athletes to qualify for the NCAA West Regional Championships, which are held in late May in Eugene, OR.
The men's track and field team fell from 12th to 14th in this week's Trackwire rankings, but did pick up two improved NCAA indoor qualifying marks last weekend at the MPSF Championships - Mike Landers in the pole vault (17-5.50) and Darius Reed in the 60m hurdles (7.83), bringing UCLA's total number of NCAA qualifiers to eight.
Head Coach Art Venegas is not sending any athletes to the Iowa State Last Chance qualifier meet in Ames, IA this weekend, so the Bruins will most likely send four to six athletes to the NCAA Championships - Landers, Reed, Kevin Craddock (60mH), John Caulfield (SP),and possibily Michael Johnson (TJ) and David Murphy (PV).
UCLA now turns its eyes to the outdoor season as an incredibly talented crop of athletes will represent the Bruin blue and gold this season. A mix of young and old talent, this year's team will definitely make an impact on the national scene.
The UCLA women's team is ranked 12th in Trackwire's rankings and 19th in the USTFCCCA's weekly rankings (first time on that poll this season), and is also ready to jump into the outdoor season after a successful indoor campaign that will conclude next weekend in Arkansas at the National meet.
The women have picked up nine NCAA Indoor qualifiers this season, highlighted by Keneisha Creary and Ingrid Kantola's automatic marks. Kantola is the fourth-best vaulter in the country (13-10), while Creary currently ranks sixth in the nation in the high jump (6-0.50).
The Bruins will most likely send four athletes to the National Championships in Arkansas next weekend - Creary, Kantola, Bohannon and Watkins.
With the indoor season nearly over and just a few athletes still competing inside, the Bruins will turn their focus to the outdoor meet where they will again shine as they return multiple All-Americans and boast some of the top young talent in the country.