Tuesday, October 24

Despite standout performances, UCLA women’s track places 6th at Pac-10 Championships

After Saturday’s preliminary races in the Pac-10 Championships, the UCLA women’s track and field team had little to be hopeful about.

They had placed well in several events but were in no position to contend for the overall team title. But when going over the day’s efforts with her athletes on Saturday night, coach Jeanette Bolden refused to look at the negative side.

“We knew on Saturday that the team title was out of our hands,” she said. “We looked at opportunities we had (on Sunday) to score and we capitalized on it.”

The Bruins turned things around Sunday and came back from their ninth-place position Saturday to finish sixth overall. While the team may not have placed as high as they wanted to, there were some standout individual performances that Bolden saw as victories.

In Saturday’s prelims, junior Lindsay Rowe finished fifth in the 100-meter hurdles (13.45 seconds). Rowe said she felt uncomfortable Saturday and had trouble getting off the blocks. But Bolden had a few words with her after her mediocre prelim and they proved to be short, sweet and to the point.

“I told her to go out and win her first Pac-10 title,” Bolden said.

On Sunday, Rowe shifted back into top form and ran a 13.24-second time en route to winning the event. The race came down to the wire as she just narrowly edged out USC’s Shalina Clarke by .02 seconds. The hurdlers kept the momentum going in the 400-meter hurdles. Freshman Turquoise Thompson finished first in the prelims and followed up that performance with a lifetime best of 56.92 on Sunday that put her in the winners’ circle.

“As a freshman, she is right in line with the other Bruin greats,” Bolden said.

In pole vaulting, the Bruin duo of sophomore Tori Pena and senior Katy Viuf were poised to bring a Pac-10 title to Westwood. While both had strong showings ““ Pena placed second and Viuf fourth ““ they were out-jumped by Stanford sophomore Katerina Stefanidi who cleared 14 feet.

Despite the individual successes, Bolden credited the Bruins’ failure in team competition to a lack of depth. Overall, though, Bolden was pleased with where her team finished on Sunday.

“They did very well,” Bolden said. “When we talk about the individuals we have, we are talking about quality.”

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