June 13, 2008
The Bruin men's track and field team picked up a foursome of All-American honorees on Friday at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, IA as Greg Garza, Henry Hagenbuch, Boldizsar Kocsor and Johnny Quinn highlighted the Bruin men.
Kocsor had the competition of his life in the hammer throw as the junior launched the ball and chain to a new lifetime-best of nearly five feet on his second throw of the competition. His mark of 229-5 broke his own school and junior class record and was fourth overall during the day. Kansas' Egor Agafonov posted the same mark, but was given third-place based on his next best mark.
Kocsor opened the competition with a solid mark of 217-9 and then bombed one in the second round to move into third-place in the competition. He posted a throw of 222-5 in the third round before advancing to the finals. He opened finals with a foul and then followed that up with a throw of 220-5 in the fifth round. His final throw of the competition reached 219-3 as the junior finished fourth for the second All-American honor of his career (he finished 13th in 2006).
On the competition
"That was a tough competition," said Kocsor. "It took 65m to get to the finals today and that's a pretty high. I opened up with a 66m throw and knew I was going to get five more throws, so that took some pressure off of me and let me really get after the throws.
On his lifetime-best throw in the second round
"I just wanted to wind hard and hit my speed and it just went. I didn't know when it left my hands that it would go that far, but when it landed and I saw it was right at the 70m line, I was pretty happy."
On earning All-American honors
"This is more for the program then for me. It's my responsibility to get in the top-three and try to get some points for the team. I owe that to my coach and the school. I missed placing in the top-three, but throwing a PR at the NCAA Championships is great. The other guys were throwing really well and there were a lot of lifetime-best marks today. I'm just happy that I was able to help the team out."
Garza, a senior, earned the third All-American honor of his career with a seventh-place finish in the discus with a mark of 186-1, giving the Bruin men 25 All-American accolades during the program's history. Also, Garza is only the third man in UCLA history to achieve All-American status on three occasions during his career in the discus, joining the elite company of John Godina and Brian Blutreich. Garza ends his collegiate career ranked second all-time at UCLA with a top mark of 211-8 (Olympic "A Standard). He also tallied three Pac-10 discus crowns during his career.
On the competition
"I definitely did not do what I was supposed to do today," said Garza. "I would have liked to have done better, but getting All-American honors again is somewhat of a high point, I guess. I just didn't compete will enough in the finals.
On how today's performance will affect him heading into Trials
"It doesn't really help my confidence, but I know what I can do and I'm just going to go home, regroup and get to work. I've competed against the guys going to Trials and I know what they can do and what I'm capable of. I just need to get my head on straight and refocus."
Also in the discus, sophomore Darius Savage finished 11th overall with a mark of 176-1. His final throw of the prelims would have been far enough to advance to the finals, but ended up just outside of the sector.
In the pole vault, none of the competitors had a particularly strong competition as swirling winds wreaked havoc on all of the vaulters. Freshman Johnny Quinn was able to pick up the first All-American honor of his career as he tied for eighth with a mark of 16-8.75. Junior Dustin DeLeo placed 13th with an equal clearance of 16-8.75.
On the weather conditions
"This was just an awful wind to vault in. I've never seen it like this during a competition. Normally you can move the pit, but the wind was swirling so whichever direction you decided to vault down, the wind would be all over the place. You can't fix that."
On earning his first All-American honor
"It feels good, even if it was kind of by default. I don't like to blame the wind, but it's very frustrating to compete in wind like we had today. I'm happy to place and happy that I'm not going home empty-handed.
Senior Henry Hagenbuch earned the first and last All-American honor of his career as he placed 14th in the steeplechase (8:59.41). There were nine foreign competitors in the race, thus giving Hagenbuch All-American status. Hagenbuch, a leader and team favorite for the Bruins, ends his career at UCLA ranked fifth all-time with a top time of 8:45.91.
In the triple jump, freshman Jonathan Clark finished 19th overall in the prelims with a mark of 50-6.25.
Steeplechase - 14. Henry Hagenbuch, 8:59.41
Triple Jump - 19. Jonathan Clark, 50-6.25/15.51m
Hammer - 4. Boldizsar Kocsor, 229-5/69.92m