March 5, 2008
The UCLA track and field teams will play host to several schools and unattached athletes this Saturday at Drake Stadium as they host the UCLA Invitational. While the Bruins play host on the track, nine men and women will travel to Seattle, WA for the NCAA Last Chance Qualifier in their hopes of solidifying a spot at the National meet in next week.
Field events begin at 9:00 am with the hammer throw, while running events get under way at noon with the steeplechase. The last running event will start at 4:00 pm. The meet will feature UCLA, Cal State Fullerton, Cal State Bakersfield, Cal State Los Angeles, Cal Poly SLO, Grand Valley State and East LA College. Admission for Saturday is free.
Several Bruins of note will be opening up on Saturday including the reigning 2007 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor champion, Rhonda Watkins. Watkins will compete in the 100m as well as the long jump on Saturday. Keneisha Creary, an NCAA competitor in 2007 in the high jump, will make her debut in several of the heptathlon events including long jump, shot put and javelin. The prep record holder in the triple jump, Ke'Nyia Richardson is slated to compete in her top event, while Joy Eaton and a multitude of sprinters will be in action. Tara Ross highlights the Bruin throwers as she will compete in the javelin.
On the men's side, several athletes will be held out of competition as they prepare for a very long season. Two-time All-American Greg Garza will not compete, opting instead to open up in late March at the Cal/Nevada Championships. Austin Ramos and Cory Primm will also not compete as they await word on acceptance into next week's NCAA Indoor meet. Kevin Craddock is also out for this week as he will open up later in the season.
The distance runners will be in full force, along with the sprint crew as Darius Walker will make his debut in a Bruin uniform. The Bruins will also have top jumpers Taylor Hobson and Daniel Kirkpatrick competing on Saturday.
Heading to Seattle are the following athletes - Dustin DeLeo (pole vault), Chris Bencomo (pole vault), Bobby Tally (pole vault), Jonathan Clark (triple jump), Darius Savage (shot put), Ingrid Kantola (pole vault), Tori Anthony (pole vault), Megan Jamerson (pole vault) and Katy Viuf (pole vault). All of the women vaulters, along with DeLeo and Savage have achieved NCAA provisional marks, but need to improve on those to be invited to the NCAA Indoor meet.
DeLeo is tied for 13th in the country with a mark of 17-6. That mark should get him into the meet, but he's been jumping well and is aiming higher this weekend. Savage ranks 18th in the country in the shot with a mark of 59-6.75 and will need to fall within the top-16 in the nation to go to the National meet. Jonathan Clark (50-6) was just a 1/2 inch shy of the NCAA provisional mark and will look to surpass that on Saturday. On the women's side, Anthony, Kantola and Jamerson have marks of 13-1 which ranks 30th in the nation. Viuf, with a top mark of 13-1.75 is in the No. 29 spot as all will look to improve upon their marks this weekend.