Jan. 2, 2007
The UCLA women's track and field team is just a few weeks away from the 2007 season and the team is excited and ready to compete. The Bruins will open up the indoor season on January 19th-20th at the New Mexico Lobo (Modrall Sperling) Invitational in Albuquerque, NM.
Last season a young Bruin women's team fi nished a disappointing 14th-place at the NCAA Outdoor meet. This season, with more experience under their belt, they will look to return to the top-10 in the nation, while producing some of the top marks in the country. With few seniors, this team will rely on its youth and super-sophomores Nicole Leach and Rhonda Watkins to lead the Bruins in 2007.
In 2006, a senior and a freshman led the Bruin sprint squad. In 2007, the former freshman, Nicole Leach, will be the figure head for a young, but talented team.
Leach came to UCLA as one of the most heralded intermediate hurdlers in prep history, and her fi rst season at UCLA backed up all the hype as she earned All-American honors in just her fi rst year as a Bruin. Leach also won the West Region and Pac-10 400m hurdles crowns, and was named Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year. She has already cemented herself into the record books at both UCLA and in the Pac- 10 Conference, as she ran the No. 5 time in school and conference history last season (55.35). During the summer, Leach won her third consecutive 400m hurdle USATF Junior title and represented the U.S. at the World Championships in Beijing, China, where she earned a gold medal on the 4x400m relay team. Leach's experience and talent will lead the way for the Bruin sprinters in 2007 as she will compete in the hurdles, quarter-mile (52.27) and relays.
Senior MacKenzie Hill returns for her fi nal year at UCLA as the No. 2 400m hurdler from 2006 with a best of 58.39. Hill has NCAA experience in both the hurdles and relays, and will add depth throughout the season in those events. Sophomore Chanelle Curry will also add depth in the 400m hurdles after a solid first year in the event last season (1:02.96). Curry will also play a pivotal role in the 400m (55.43) and relay events after having gained NCAA Championship experience last season in the 4x400m relay.
Sophomore Krystin Lacy will also be looked at for a spot on the relays after having ran at the NCAA meet last June. With bests of 24.35 (200m) and 56.69 (400m), Lacy is ready for a breakout year.
Junior Jolanda Diego will lead the way in the shorter sprints after having gained valuable experience last season at the NCAA Championships. Diego had a strong sophomore campaign as she ran the No. 9 200m time in school history (23.28). She also has a top 100m time of 11.54.
The Bruins lost All-American Dawn Harper to graduation, so a young group of hurdlers will have to step in and make an impact right away. Junior heptathlete Georgea Richards returns to lead a very young squad with a best of 13.98. She will be joined by one of the top prep hurlders in CA last season, Tierra Ward. Ward was a state fi nalist in both the 100m (14.12) and 300m hurdles (41.98) and should make an immediate impact for the team.
Southwestern Christian College transfer Maris Wisdom brings a 400m best of 53.3 and could see time in the relay, along with freshman Danielle Watson (55.66). Fifth-year law student Johanna Monthe will also add depth in the 400m and relays as she comes to Westwood with a top quarter-mile time of 53.5.
Watkins, in just her fi rst year competing collegiately, saw incredible success as she won the West Region long (21-6, Meet Record) and high jump (5-9.25) titles, earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships (fi nished 11th in LJ and 12th in HJ at NCAA's). Watkins also won the Pac-10 high jump title (5-11.25), and in the Summer of 2006, won the World Junior long jump title with a jump of 21-2.50. Her international experience and incredible talent will again make her one of the top jumpers in the country this season.
Williams, a two-time All-American, also had a great 2006 season, highlighted by her ninth-place fi nish at the NCAA Outdoor meet in the triple jump (42-11.50). She showed great improvement throughout the year in the triple jump, improving nearly three feet on her previous lifetimebest. With her NCAA experience and talent, this junior will help lead the Bruin jumpers in 2007.
Lauren Correa (5-8.75), Allie Miller (5-9.25) and Kathleen Mahony (5-7) add depth to the high jump squad, while junior Nicole Duhart will add depth to the triple jump. Last season, Duhart missed a spot at the NCAA meet by four, but moved into the UCLA all-time top-10 with a best of 42.6.25 (No. 8), and will undoubtedly vie for a spot at the NCAA meet this season.
Returning jumper Leslie Rychel and newcomer Julia Co will add depth in both the long and triple jump this season. Southwestern Christian College transfer, Keneisha Creary will also add depth in the jumps with best marks of 5-8 in the high and 39-9 in the triple.
UCLA pole vaulting has held a spot in the national limelight for numerous years, and with the addition of two of the top prep vaulters in the country and the return of All-American Jacqueline Nguyen, this year looks to be no different.
Nguyen returns after a solid junior season in which she jumped the No. 12 mark in the country, 13-7.25, a vault which ranks fourth all-time at UCLA. She brings experience and leadership to a solid squad, and will look to lead the Bruins this season while making her mark on the national scene.
Newcomers Tori Pena and Lindsay Regan come to UCLA after impressive prep careers. Peña, the No. 4 ranked vaulter in the nation (No. 2 in CA), brings a prep best of 13-2, while Regan comes to Westwood with a best of 13-6. Both will make an immediate impact for the Bruins in 2007.
Junior Elizabeth Woepse returns after a strong sophomore year in which she improved to 12-11.50, a mark which tied for seventh all-time at UCLA. Along with Ingrid Kantola (12-7.25) and Megan Jamerson (12-5.50), this vault group is poised to be one of the strongest in the country.
This large squad is keyed by three senior leaders and a wealth of depth and talent.
Leading the way is All-American Ashley Caldwell, who had a strong junior season, culminating in her ninth-place fi nish at the NCAA Outdoor meet in the 1500m. She ran a lifetime-best 4:19.73 last season, and is primed and ready to make her fi nal year at UCLA a successful one.
Also adding senior leadership are Allison Hall and Jenna Timinsky. Hall adds depth in all of the distance events, ranging from the 800m (2:10.55) to 5000m (17:45.78), while Timinsky adds depth in the 800m (2:06.26) and 1500m (4:23.88). Last season, Timinsky competed in the steeplechase for the fi rst time, and moved into UCLA's all-time top-10 (No. 7 mark) with her 10:49.59 performance.
Also in the steeple, sophomore Ciara Viehweg returns to lead this group after an impressive frosh campaign in which she ran the No. 5 mark all-time at UCLA (10:43.29, No. 7 on the 2006 U.S. Junior list). With one year under her belt and more experience running the steeplechase, this sophomore could make some noise at the national level.
Sophomores Allie Bohannon and Olga Aulet-Leon will add depth in the 800m and 1500m races. Bohannon had a breakout season during the 2006 cross country campaign and is training at a level that spells success for the coming year. Primarily an 800m runner, Bohannon brings a top time of 2:13.01 to the team. Aulet-Leon sat out cross country, and both indoor and outdoor track last year due to injury, but is back and ready to compete. As a freshman, she ran bests of 2:14.19 and 4:26.20, and is ready to surpass those times in 2007.
Junior Shantae McKinney (2:10.50) and sophomore Gabrielle Bournes (2:12.62) also add depth in the 800m races.
Juniors Claire Rethmeier and Monika Rothenburger return to lead the Bruins in the longer distance races - 5000m and 10,000m. Like Aulet- Leon, Rothenburger was injured last season, but is healthy and ready to assist the Bruins in the 5000m (17:38.02). Rethmeier also is ready to help the Bruins in the long distance events with bests of 36:23.67 in the 10,000m and 16:56.31 in the 5000m.
Newcomers Krishna Curry, Cobbie Jones, Nicole Pennes, Hannah Roeder and Bailey Schutte should make an immediate impact in their fi rst year at UCLA. Curry brings a top prep time of 2:10.6 in the 800m, while Roeder has a top 800m time of 2:14.94. Jones had prep bests of 2:09 in the 800m and 5:02 in the mile. Schutte will see time in the 1500m event after having ran 4:39 in the 1600m in high school. Pennes will run the longer distance events as she comes to UCLA with top times of 10:36.7 in the 3200m and 4:54 in the 1500m. Freshman Rosa Magana should also add depth in the 800m as she has a top time of 2:13.21 in the 800m.
Usually one of the deepest squads on the team, the throws group is small, but talented. Led by All-American Kamaiya Warren, this group will look to remain dominant in the Pac-10 Conference.
Warren returns to lead the team as one of two seniors this season. She had a slightly off year in 2006 after a breakout sophomore year in which she won the Pac-10 discus title and fi nished third at the NCAA Outdoor meet. Last season, Warren competed at both the indoor and outdoor NCAA Championships and brings experience to the team with top marks of 183-3 in the discus and 55-11 in the shot put.
Javelin thrower Sarah Ingram returns to join Warren in the senior class. Last season, Ingram had a strong year after transferring to UCLA from Santa Barbara City College and posted a UCLA-best of 133-6. Heptathlete Hillary Werth will also add depth to the javelin after having thrown 141-1 last season.
Freshman Tara Ross looks to make an immediate impact in the javelin after ending her prep career with a top mark of 137-8. She also has a discus best of 137-0.
Transfers Mary Hanley (HT-152, DT-146-5, SP-40-5) and Kirsti Stanich (DT-140) will add depth to the squad, while former sprinter Kiyoko Guillory will compete in the hammer after converting to a thrower during the fall of 2006.
This season, two competitors will represent the Bruins in the heptathlon - junior Georgea Richards and sophomore Hillary Werth. Richards competed in the heptathlon last season, fi nishing ninth at the Pac-10 Championships with a score of 4,838 points. Werth only competed in the javelin last season due to injury, but is recovered and ready to compete in the seven event competition this season.