Thursday, September 21

UCLA women's track and field continues opening season success at New Mexico Classic

At New Mexico Classic, the Bruins give strong performances through season, personal bests

The UCLA women’s track and field team followed its season-opening success at the UW Invitational with another impressive meet at the New Mexico Classic in Albuquerque, N.M., this weekend.

As they did in their last meet, the Bruins stepped up to the starting line to finish with career bests. Although only the runners, jumpers and pole vaulters went to the two-day event, all of them excelled.

“The girls came out healthy, and everybody was ready to go,” coach Jeanette Bolden said. “It was the second track meet, and track meets get tougher each time.”

On Friday, junior sprinters Yasmin Woodruff and Nijah Nelms posted season bests in the 200 meters, with times of 24.79 and 25.43 seconds, respectively. The jumpers also found their niche that day, with freshman Alexis Walker leading the way, finishing third overall with a clearance of 5 feet 8 inches in the high jump. Sophomore Mariah Gibson achieved an indoor personal-best clearance of 5-6. Freshman Kimmie Connor rounded out the placed UCLA high jumpers, finishing 19th with a clearance of 5-0.25.

An accomplished set of pole vaulters finished out Friday for the Bruins, with redshirt junior Tori Anthony and sophomore Allison Koressel tied for seventh with identical clearances of 12-9.5, while sophomore Liz Goodrich finished 11th with a clearance of 11-9.75.

UCLA continued its triumphant run in New Mexico on Saturday. Senior hurdler Lindsay Rowe had a performance to remember as she finished the 60m hurdles in 8.18 seconds, which was not only a personal best but also the seventh-best mark in the country so far. Rowe set yet another personal best in the 60m with a time of 7.59 seconds, good for fifth overall.

“To set a personal best in the hurdles and then turn around and set a personal record in the 60m, that was just fantastic,” Bolden said.

Senior sprinter Ashlea McLaughlin came in third place in the 400m with a time of 53.95 seconds, while fellow senior sprinter Joy Eaton finished just behind McLaughlin at fourth place (54.95 seconds), and freshman sprinter Breyonna Hunter placed 12th (57.15 seconds).

The triple jump and the 4×400m relay were the last of the Bruins’ events for the New Mexico Classic. Redshirt junior jumper Ke’Nyia Richardson placed first overall in the event with a UCLA season-best mark of 40-11.50. Senior jumper Dayna Hill made sure she wasn’t left out of the impressive performances with a personal-best mark of 37-3.25.

The Bruins finished out the weekend on a high note, as the relay team of Eaton, Hunter, McLaughlin and Rowe seized the top spot with a time of 3:43.21.

But even with such performances from her athletes, Bolden feels there is more success to be had in the near future.

“We’ve got to get more NCAA qualifiers,” Bolden said. “We had some great individual performances, but we still have some work to do. I’m happy but I’m not satisfied.”

Compiled by Chris Nguyen, Bruin Sports contributor.

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