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UCLA men’s track and field to compete in non-scoring meet

Men’s track will not need to travel far this time to showcase its talent, as the team will host and compete in the Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational, which starts today at Drake Stadium.

Coach Mike Maynard expects an exciting few days of competition, as Arizona is bringing a full team while six other collegiate teams will also be competing. Joining the mix will be several professional athletes, who should be able to dazzle the crowd.

Olympic gold medalist Shawn Crawford will run in the 4×100-meter relay, and UCLA alumnus Craig Everhart will compete in the 400m. Everhart’s 44.89 seconds 400m in 2004 stands as the sixth fastest time in school history.

The meet will produce a unique atmosphere, as it takes a non-scoring format. With no point totals or team titles to worry about, Maynard intends to display the team’s range, entering athletes into events that they are not accustomed to competing in.

“This meet provides the chance to move people around and create training situations,” Maynard said.

In the mid-distances, junior Cory Primm will run the 1500m despite being known for his exceptional speed in the 800m.

“Based on what I’ve seen in training and his 1200m leg in Texas, (middle distance) coach (Johnny) Gray and I feel that he is ready for a breakthrough,” Maynard said.

Senior Marco Anzures and redshirt junior Alex Crabill are entered in the elite mile race, and Maynard is interested to see what Anzures can pull off in the mile after his impressive time of 29 minutes in the 10,000m race at Stanford Invitational.

Junior Dylan Knight will rough the hurdles and water pits in the steeplechase, as it will be his first time running the event this season.

“(Distance) coach (Forest) Braden feels that Dylan is ready to do something cool in the steeplechase. It is his opener, but he is in good fitness,” Maynard said.

Knight enters the weekend with a career best time of 8:51.25 in the steeplechase.

As seen in previous weeks, redshirt juniors Casey DiCesare and Johnny Quinn are expected to have impressive performances in the pole vault. Maynard believes that both are ready to have breakthrough meets, especially after strong finishes at last week’s Texas Relays.

Maynard’s strategy is centered in trying to prepare the team for an upcoming dual-meet against Oregon at legendary Hayward Field. He always sees a meet against the Ducks as a big deal because they consistently produce a very deep and highly ranked team.

“Last year the meet came down to the 4×400-meter relay with Oregon winning the meet, but it was very close. The real goal of this week’s meet is to set up for a win at Oregon,” he said.

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