LOS ANGELES – The UCLA track and field team will open its outdoor season in a dual meet against Pac-12 foe Washington State on Saturday, March 22, at Drake Stadium. The meet will mark the first competition on the new state-of-the-art Mondo surface.
“The coaches and team are excited to open our outdoor season on our new world class Mondo facility,” UCLA Director of Track and Field Mike Maynard said. “This will be the first competition this year for many of our student-athletes, and we are excited to gauge where we are in our fitness and technique.”
Scoring for the meet will be the traditional 5-3-1 for individual events and 5-0 for relays. There are 163 points available in a total of 19 events with 82 required to secure the win.
“I believe that the collegiate scoring dual is the purest form of the sport,” Maynard said. “The last dual with Washington State came down to the 4x400m relay, which makes for a very exciting finish. Coach Sloan, who by the way was a Bruin under Coach Jim Bush, has put together a very solid and well-rounded team.”
The dual against the Cougars will mark the eighth meeting between the two squads on the men’s side and the fourth for the women. UCLA holds a 6-1 advantage in the men’s competition while the women are 3-0 against WSU. UCLA dropped its last encounter against WSU on the men’s side, 85.50-77.50, while the women won in thrilling fashion, 82-81, on March 31, 2012, in Drake Stadium.
Washington State enters the meet coming off an eighth place finish in the women’s standings and a ninth place finish in the men’s competition in last season’s Pac-12 Championship. WSU is coached by UCLA alum Rick Sloan. He is in his 20th year in Pullman. Washington State will be the host site for the 2014 Pac-12 Track and Field Championships.
The indoor season culminated with five All-American selections for the Bruins. Ida Storm and Marcus Nilsson earned first-team honors for the Bruins while Kelsey Smith, Kylie Price and Mike Woepse were named to the second team.
The season opener will also mark the 2014 debut of collegiate record holder and NCAA champion Julian Wruck in the discus. Freshman Abraham Hall is also slated to make his UCLA debut on Saturday. All-Americans Brea Buchanan, Alec Faldermeyer, Nilsson, Price and Woepse are also scheduled to compete against the Cougars.
Drake Stadium is in the midst of a three phase upgrade. The first phase was already completed before the start of the 2014 season as a new state-of-the-art Mondo surface was installed. Phase two of the Drake Enhancement Project includes the upgrade of the upper main gate to Drake Stadium and Marshall Field entry, placement of a UCLA track and field recognition area, and the placement of a new “state of the art” video scoreboard. The third phase of the Drake Enhancement Project includes upgrading the current press box area to include a media, TV production platform, and offices.
Next week UCLA will head to the 87th Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays and also send a group to the Cal Poly Invitational. The Texas Relays are slated to begin on Wednesday, March 26 while the Cal Poly Invite is scheduled for Saturday, March 29.