The UCLA men’s track and field team has been traveling a lot recently, just not in huge numbers. The team has sent a few people here, a couple of people there.
But those light traveling arrangements will change this weekend, when the Bruins return en masse to Washington for the biggest and last indoor competition before the start of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships, held later this month.
UCLA heads north Friday and Saturday for the Husky Classic in Seattle, familiar territory for the Bruins, who were there just two weeks ago for the University of Washington Invitational. The meet calls for the team’s entire arsenal ““ sprinters, jumpers, throwers, middle distance and distance runners ““ and the Bruins are happy to oblige.
“The indoor season is very short for us, and this weekend is our last opportunity to see where we’re at and get people going,” coach Mike Maynard said. “It’s a good opportunity for our team to come together as well.”
Maynard also noted the high level of competition that would be present, as some of the top programs in the country will be in attendance, including No. 1 Florida, No. 4 Texas Tech and No. 6 Oregon, a fellow MPSF team.
A group to watch for will be the distance medley relay team, which competed in Seattle earlier in the season and is looking to qualify for the conference championships. The team of four consists of redshirt senior distance runners Alex Crabill and Scott Crawford and seniors Cory Primm, another distance runner, and Quentin Powell, a sprinter.
“It’s really going to be an exciting weekend. The seniors have been great for us,” assistant and long distance coach Forest Braden said. “It’s an all-star cast.”
Rising star and freshman thrower Alec Faldermeyer will also compete after making his debut last week at the New Mexico Classic and aims to top his first-place showing in Albuquerque.
“Last week was a good opener, but it wasn’t a great throw for me,” Faldermeyer said. “This week I’m looking to get the (automatic) qualifier for Nationals and punch my ticket there. I’m hoping to get a big throw off and get the top spot in the country right now.”
But as impressive as Faldermeyer has been, Maynard is particularly optimistic about his 200-meter sprinters, who competed at the New Mexico Classic without the full services of standout sophomore Randall Carroll after he cramped up in a race.
“Carroll is in awesome shape,” Maynard said. “If he’s ready to roll, the (200m) guys have a great chance to do something this weekend.”
The Bruins have already started earning provisional qualifiers for the MPSFs, and that was when they sent only a fraction of the team.
With the whole group going this weekend, more qualifiers seem imminent.