March 13, 2013
Los Angeles, Calif. - The Bruins Track & Field team opens up their outdoor season this weekend, March 15th and 16th, at the 35th Sheraton Mission Valley Aztec Invitational in San Diego, CA.
After an extremely successful indoor season, the Bruin women are awaiting this weekend's Aztec Invitational to build upon the strides made in the winter. Last weekend at NCAA Indoor Championships, the women finished 15th in the team category (13 points) courtesy of three top five individual performances. Sophomore Kylie Price kicked off the championships for the Bruins with a fourth place finish in the women's long jump (6.35m/20-11) on Day 1, and the following day teammates Brea Buchanan and Allison Koressel both took fifth place in the 60m hurdles final (8.16) and the pole vault (4.30m/14-1.25), respectively. All three athletes earned first team All-America honors.
"We brought three girls [this past weekend] and they all had outstanding results," head women's track and field coach Jeanette Bolden said. "I kept telling them, `Don't be satisfied to just be here.' So to finish 15th out of 55 teams and only have three athletes competing, it's tremendous."
Now, the Bruins look ahead to the outdoor season, beginning this weekend at the Aztec Invite hosted by San Diego State. This transition brings in a series of new events not seen during the indoor season. Events such as the Steeplechase, 400m hurdles, javelin and the 10k are now part of the event rotation. Also, the switch to outdoors also comes with a switch in the 60m and mile races, which now become replaced with the 100m and 1,500m, respectively.
The action begins Friday morning with the women's hammer throw at 1:00pm and continues in the afternoon with the "Distance Carnival," a series of distance events in which both the open and invitational divisions run in the same race. Competition will resume Saturday at 9:00am with the discus throw and will feature the sprints/relay events as well as the remainder of the field events.
Junior hammer thrower Ida Storm will look to continue her dominance on the field with another championship-caliber season in 2013. In her first two years at UCLA, Storm finished 11th and 5th, respectively, at NCAA Outdoor Championships, and earned back-to-back All-America honors. Currently, she boasts a best mark of 218-1 in the hammer throw event. Storm will also be joined by fellow Bruin Jaycee Olsen in the hammer throw, Friday.
The Distance Carnival will feature 23 Bruins across four different events: 3,000m Steeplechase, 5,000 meters, 1,500 meters and 3,000 meters. Many of the Bruin distance runners in action, though, can be seen in the 1,500 meter race, as 22 of the 23 athletes are scheduled to compete in that event. Juniors Rachel Butler and Sarah Toberty, along with seniors Allie Lopez and Katja Goldring, are four returning Bruins who will look to get the season started on the right foot this Friday.
Senior captain Turquoise Thompson will be another Bruin to keep an eye out for this weekend. Thompson was the runner-up in the women's 400m hurdles at the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Louisville, KY. The All-American ran a lifetime-best 55.25 in the final race, and used her outstanding season results to earn a spot at the 2012 US Olympic Trials. She finished sixth (55.42). This weekend, however, Thompson will compete in the 800m. This is considered an "off-event" for Thompson, but she will use this opportunity to bring herself back to the competitive stage after missing most of the indoor season with an injury. The women's 800m begins at 3:05pm.
There also a group of new faces that will be making their outdoor debut for the Bruins this weekend. Fourteen freshmen will be competing in San Diego for the Bruins and while some have already posted marks during the indoor season, some have been waiting for the outdoor season to make their splash.
"For a few of our athletes, this will be their first time competing in a Bruin uniform," Bolden said. "They have been training for a long time, but now it's time for them to go out and compete."
For live results for this weekend's competition, please click here.