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Word From Westwood - Apr. 23, 2013
By: UCLA Athletics

Word From Westwood

Apr. 23, 2013

Collegiate athletic departments thrive on putting on hosting championship events, and UCLA is certainly no different. Last week's NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships in Pauley began a run of four championships hosted by the Bruins in 16 days. Both golf teams will host conference championships, and the NCAA Men's Volleyball Championship also comes to Pauley in the next 12 days.

This could be potentially overwhelming in some places, but at UCLA, it's just another way for to show pride in the institution we all represent ...

Saturday Night Lights: UCLA Spring Showcase at the Rose Bowl This Saturday
All the pomp and circumstance of UCLA Football returns to the Rose Bowl Stadium this coming Saturday at 5 pm when the Spring Showcase takes place.

Even though the main event starts at 5:00, there will plenty of activities for the whole family in the Bruin Fan Zone, which opens at 1 pm along Arroyo Boulevard. Be sure to stop by and visit the food trucks, listen to live music and buy some of the latest gear at the UCLA Store. While you're there, don't forget the Bruin Kids Club Inflatable Zone for children will also be open.

After the show, come down to the field for an autograph session and a wonderful fireworks show. Admission to the game is free. Parking is $15 per car, so please plan accordingly.

UCLA-USC Track Meet on Docket for This Weekend
One of the more storied events in the UCLA-USC crosstown rivalry will be held this weekend -- the annual UCLA-USC dual track and field meet.

The annual meet will actually begin on Friday, with the hammer throw to be contested at West LA College at 2 pm. On Saturday, the action takes places moves to USC's Katherine B. Loker Stadium and begins at 11 am on the track with the women's 5000m race and on the field with the women's high jump, women's pole vault and women's javelin throw competitions. The last scheduled event of the day is the men's 4x400m relay, set to begin at 3:30 pm.

A year ago, the teams split, with UCLA winning the men's portion of the event by a 93-70 margin, while USC took the women's meet, 89-74.

Gymnastics Team Finishes 4th at NCAAs, Individuals also Reach Podium
Sixth-seeded UCLA concluded up its season with a fourth-place finish at the 2013 NCAA Super Six Team Finals in Pauley Pavilion last Saturday night. Bruin alum Rhonda Faehn (UCLA '94) coached Florida to its first-ever NCAA team title with a score of 197.575. The Bruins finished with 197.100.

On Sunday, the Bruins had four individuals finish in the Top 8 at the Event Finals, second behind only the Gators in podium finishes this year. UCLA had three of the Top 5 vault placements, with Olivia Courtney placing third, Kaelie Baer fourth and Vanessa Zamarripa fifth. Despite finishing in eighth place, freshman Danusia Francis stole the show on the balance beam, landing a sideways aerial, a daring, never-before competed maneuver.

Men's Tennis Grabs Pac-12 Regular Season Crown with Win over USC
The UCLA men's tennis team captured its second-straight Pac-12 regular-season title last Friday, downing #4 USC, 4-3 in front of several thousand fans at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.

Doubles play was extremely close, with USC taking the sole doubles point and a 1-0 lead heading into singles play. But the Bruins responded to a pep talk from coach Billy Martin during the break, and won four of the next five matches before USC pulled the last one of the day back for the final margin of victory.

With the win, the Bruins moved up to the No. 1 spot in the national rankings with a 22-1 overall and 7-0 conference record heading into this week's conference championships in Ojai.

Women's Rowing Excels on Top Stage at Clemson Invitational
Ranked No. 5 in the nation, the UCLA women's rowing program had a very successful weekend racing on Lake Hartwell at the Clemson Invitational in Clemson, S.C. Facing a field that featured six other programs ranked in the top 20, the Bruins totaled six first-place finishes and four second-place finishes in 10 races.

UCLA raced to first-place finishes in each of its four races on Saturday morning, crossing the finish line ahead of No. 13 Michigan, No. 14 Clemson, Indiana, Texas and Rhode Island. The Bruins followed that effort in Saturday's afternoon session with first-place finishes in the second varsity eight and varsity four races. In Sunday's abbreviated competition, UCLA's varsity eight crews raced to second-place finishes.

UCLA returns to action at home against crosstown rival USC on Saturday, May 4, in Marina del Rey.

13 Bruins Honored as Part of CIF Southern Section's "100 Athletes for 100 Years"
Twelve standout UCLA student-athlete alumni and a former Bruin head coach were part of the California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section "100 Athletes for 100 Years" -- unveiled at an awards show in Los Angeles earlier this month.

Among the Bruins who were inducted, nine are also in the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame - baseball's Jackie Robinson (1937 Pasadena Muir); football's Bill Kilmer (1957 Citrus); basketball's Keith Erickson (1961 El Segundo), Jamaal Wilkes (1970 Santa Barbara) and Ann Meyers-Drysdale (1975 Sonora); swimming's Brian Goodell (1977 Mission Viejo); volleyball's Karch Kiraly (1978 Santa Barbara), and softball's Lisa Fernandez (1989 St. Joseph/Lakewood) and Stacey Nuveman (1996 St. Lucy's).

Bruin greats also inducted included track & field's Mike Powell (1981 Edgewood) and Joanna Hayes (1995 J. W. North); basketball's Tracy Murray (1989 Glendora), and former UCLA women's soccer head coach Joy Fawcett (1986 Edison).

Turning Back the Clock: The Alumni 2400 a Prelude to Meet
On Saturday morning, prior to the UCLA-USC meet, members of the Bruins' 1980 and 1981 cross country teams, both of which won the Pac-10 Championship, will gather on San Vicente Boulevard for their annual, "world famous" Alumni 2400 race.

The race is the alums' opportunity each year to pay homage to their coach, Bob Larsen, who directed the Bruin men's track and field program for 15 seasons and the cross country team for 21 years before retiring in 2000.Under Larsen, the Bruins had a remarkable dual meet record of 118-3-1 and 12 unbeaten seasons. He led UCLA to two NCAA outdoor track and field championships (1987 and `88) and was a four-time National Coach of the Year (track and field - 1987-88-95; cross-country - 1980).

Reminder: Football Select-a Seat Returns to the Rose Bowl on May 4-5
UCLA football season ticket holders have the chance to change or improve their seat locations for the upcoming season by taking part in the annual in-stadium Select-a-Seat event the weekend of May 4-5 at the Rose Bowl. This is by invitation only.

Season ticket holders attending Select-a-Seat will also have a unique behind-the-scenes look at the Rose Bowl press box, UCLA's home locker room and will walk through the tunnel to take the field, just like the Bruins.

A map detailing the 2013 season pricing and donation levels for new purchases or seat relocations can be found here. In recognition of their loyalty to UCLA Athletics, all 2012 UCLA Football season ticket holders may renew their existing priority seat locations based upon their 2012 Wooden Athletic Fund donation level.

Any questions regarding Select-a-Seat should be directed to the Select-a-Seat Information Line (310) 206-5991 or the Wooden Athletic Fund (310) 206-3302.

Olympic Sports Report

  • The #4-ranked men's volleyball team travels to Provo, UT for the MPSF semifinals against BYU on Thursday at 8 pm MT. The match will be televised on BYU TV. Check local listings for the channel in your area. On Saturday, the Bruins beat Pepperdine for the third time this season to advance past the MPSF quarterfinals for the first time in eight years. UCLA will host the 2013 Men's Volleyball Championship in Pauley Pavilion, May 2-4. For ticket information call 310-UCLA-WIN.
  • The #4-ranked women's water polo team fell to USC, 11-6, in its regular season finale last Friday night. The Bruins are now 24-5 overall and 3-3 in the MPSF and are seeded fourth for this week's MPSF Tournament in Berkeley, CA. The Bruins will face the hosts, fifth-seeded California (16-6, 2-4 MPSF), on April 26 at 2:30 pm to open tournament play.
  • The #5-ranked men's golf team tied USC 3-3 on April 18 in a dual match at Bel Air Country Club. UCLA will host the 2013 Pac-12 Men's Golf Championship, Apr. 29-May 1 at the Los Angeles Country Club. Admission is free.
  • The #6-ranked women's golf team finished eighth at the PING/ASU Intercollegiate in Tempe, Arizona over the weekend. Sophomore Erynne Lee fired a final round 66 (-6) to lead the team and tie for second individually. The Bruins will host the Pac-12 Women's Golf Championship beginning Mon., Apr. 22 at Valencia Country Club.
  • The #6-ranked sand volleyball team finished its regular season with a 3-7 dual match record, but two pairs, the team of juniors Meg Norton and Kelly Reeves and sophomore Zoë Nightingale and freshman Becca Strehlow, will represent UCLA at the AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala. from May 3-5.
  • The #8-ranked women's tennis team will compete in singles and doubles at the Pac-12 Championships in Ojai beginning Thursday.
  • The #9-ranked baseball team went 3-1 last week, scoring a comeback victory over UC Irvine on Tuesday before taking two out of three at Oregon over the weekend. The Bruins are now 25-11 on the year and will host Long Beach State on Tuesday night before traveling to Pullman to face Washington State this weekend.
  • The #13-ranked men's and women's track and field teams competed in the 55th annual Mt. SAC Relays last weekend. The invitational-style meet was a weekend full of highlights for the Bruins, the biggest coming from junior thrower Ida Storm as she threw a personal-best and new UCLA school record 223-3 in the women's hammer throw (Elite Division). On the track, sophomore Kelsey Smith ran a personal-record 16:26.73 in the women's 5,000m run (A Division). For the men, Julian Wruck remained undefeated in 2013, as he claimed the men's discus throw title (University Open Div.) with a throw of 211-9.
  • The #18-ranked softball team had an outstanding weekend in the desert, belting 11 homers and taking 2-of-3 against #22 Arizona, including their first mercy rule win in Tucson since 1999. UCLA hosts UC Santa Barbara this Wednesday and #5 Oregon Friday through Sunday.

Thoughts from the Athletic Director

Along with several thousand others, I had the distinct pleasure of spending a good portion of the weekend in Pauley Pavilion for the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships.

As they had all year, our Bruins battled courageously through injury and finished in fourth place nationally. The team suffered three crucial injuries this year and for them to get as far as they did is a testament to head coach Valorie Kondos Field, her coaching staff and the student-athletes in that program.

While I sat in the stands and watched the competition, I was also struck by the sheer number of UCLA fans that were there to cheer on the Bruins, especially in Saturday afternoon's Super Six final round. The building was rocking from the outset of the competition that day, thanks to a great turnout by fans of each of the teams competing, but the 8-claps and the chants of "Go Bruins" dominated the day -- due to all you Bruins who came out and supported our team.

Many of you may not know just how much work goes into a NCAA Championship event. As I walked around the building and made my way down to the event level to congratulate our team on their valiant effort, I could not have been more proud of how well-run the event was. Its every detail had been months in the planning and required countless individuals to execute. We are truly blessed here at UCLA to not only have a wonderful facility to host events of this magnitude, but also a dedicated staff that can seamlessly pull it off. It truly takes a village to run a national event like this, and our staff was more than up to the challenge. However, these same staff members haven't hung up their hats just yet. We will be hosting yet another NCAA Championship in Pauley nine days from now when the Men's Volleyball Championship comes to Westwood on May 2 and 4 -- I hope to see you all there.

Go Bruins!

Dan Guerrero
UCLA Athletic Director

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