FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The UCLA track and field team concluded its opening weekend of competition with five more wins Saturday at the NAU Invitational inside the Walkup Skydome.
“We had an excellent showing with the group that we brought,” UCLA director of track and field, Mike Maynard said. “You don’t know what to expect in the first competition but the big thing is to get the cobwebs out and rolling in the right direction. We had an excellent meet overall.”
Kelsey Smith started off her track season just like she finished her cross country campaign – in impressive fashion – as she won the mile with a time of 4:52.63. The Bruins placed five in the top-10 in the first women’s race of the final day of competition.
In her UCLA debut, Sweden native Caroline Gyllenbern cleared 5-10 to tie for first in the high jump. The Bruins had three of the top-6 marks in the event.
UCLA mainly brought distance runners and field athletes to the invitational due to the impact of the new Mondo surface that was placed into Drake Stadium.
“No one on this team is complaining one bit and is very pleased with the state of the art surface but it has impacted everyone, but most notably the sprinters,” Maynard said.” Going from no track to an indoor track, the transition is pretty big but they were fantastic. To get this result in the face of some adversity was a great sign.”
Nick Hartle won his second event in as many days as the sophomore took home top honors in the 800m with a time of 1:50.26. Ferdinand Edman placed fifth (1:55.05) while Philip Kostelnik finished 12th (1:58.18).
In his first competition in a UCLA uniform, Austin Hazel won the long jump with a mark of 23-9. Zachary Thomas placed 10th with a jump of 21-4.75.
“Our newcomers showed their quality this weekend,” Maynard added. “They have shown that they can add to the team and step in and be an impact for the program.”
The high jump also featured some young Bruin talent as Cody Crampton finished second with a 7-0.25 (2.14m). Cameron Spencer followed in third with a leap of 6-11 (2.11m). Alex Maraks placed ninth with a 6-2.75 (1.90m).
The team will be split next weekend as the Bruins head to the New Mexico Team Invitational and the UW Invitational. Albuquerque will serve as the site host site for the NCAA Indoor Championships while the UW Invitational will be held in Seattle, Wash.
Pole Vault Invitational: 12. Courtney Reginato, 12-1.50 (3.70m).
60m: 9. Austin Hazel, 6.88.
60mH: Marcus Nilsson, 8.53.
Mile: 5. Austin O’Neil, 4:24.18, 6. Michael McCabe, 4:26.45.
Long Jump: 1. Austin Hazel, 23-9 (7.24m), T-10. Zachary Thomas, 21-4.75 (6.52m).
High Jump: 2. Cody Crampton, 7-0.25 (2.14m), 3. Cameron Spencer, 6-11 (2.11m), 9. Alex Maraks, 6-2.75 (1.90m).