Wednesday, October 18

Women’s track runs short of a win

Team loses second year in a row during Saturday's meet against USC

The scene at Drake Stadium Saturday was not one women’s coach Jeanette Bolden has grown accustomed to witnessing during her time at UCLA.

Heading into this year’s dual meet against rival USC, the Bruins held a 21-5 lifetime record against the Trojans in the event. But in a day full of close calls and narrow margins of victory, UCLA found itself on the losing side of the 106-57 final, coming up short in the rivalry for the second year in a row.

The home crowd had little to cheer about in the early session of the day as the Bruins quickly found themselves in a hole after the first few field events. According to coach Bolden, that was something that was out of the team’s control.

“They have more depth than we do (in the field events) and I knew it was going to be an uphill climb,” Bolden said. “They have hammer throwers and we don’t, so we started off with a deficit there. We only had one person in the discus, hammer and javelin.”

What the Bruins lacked in quantity of entrants in the field events, they made up for with quality.

The senior pole vaulting tandem of Tori Pena and Katy Viuf continued to be effective and the two finished in second and third place, respectively.

Although both athletes are capable of clearing the 14′ mark and have done so multiple times this year, Pena and Viuf each failed to do so and posted clearances of 13′ 8.25″. Their second and third place finishes almost all but cancelled out the five points earned by USC, keeping the Bruins within striking distance.

Turning in the best all around performance of the day for UCLA was sophomore Ryann Krais, who kept up her reputation as a point-earning machine. Her win in the high jump, where she cleared 5′ 7.25″, and third place javelin throw (132′ 10″) contributed to the nine total points she gathered on the day. Krais would have earned one more point in the 400-meter hurdles, where she placed third, but due to technical errors on the track the race’s results were discounted.

Krais also played a part in one of the day’s most exciting moments that finally gave the home crowd something to cheer about. The event was the 100-meter hurdles, where UCLA junior Lindsay Rowe was expected to battle against USC senior Shalina Clarke for the top spot. While Rowe did not disappoint and went on to win the event with a time of 13.25 seconds, Krais ran a season best and finished second, posting a time of 13.86. The one-two punch of Rowe and Krais ignited the crowd as well as their teammates.

“The 100-meter hurdles definitely got us started. The hometown crowd was cheering for everyone there and it got them on their feet … that was such a great race.” Bolden said.

But the momentum boost offered by the outcome of the hurdles was not enough to help UCLA mount a comeback. The Bruin relay teams went winless in a meet where only first place gets awarded points, and they failed to win a distance event.

Despite the loss, Bolden likes the way her team is shaping up for the postseason.

“The last two years I’ve left (the dual meet) feeling we beat ourselves. But this year I left feeling encouraged more than anything. I don’t like to lose, I love to win, especially against USC,” Bolden said. “But everyone’s getting themselves together and feeling confident. This was a springboard for our confidence to get ready for regionals.”

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