Just as the men’s indoor track and field season was gaining steam, it now heads toward a close.
The Husky Classic, held over the weekend in Seattle, marked the final competition for UCLA before the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championships in two weeks.
For the first time this season, the Bruins sent a full complement of competitors to the meet, as UCLA battled top competition in every event, including No. 1 Florida and fellow MPSF member No. 6 Oregon.
“It was a good meet in terms of gauging where we are,” assistant coach Forest Braden said. “We are going to be right around the top of the conference, and certainly competitive at nationals. We are the two-time conference champions, and we’re capable of going for that third straight.”
As for the team being together finally, coach Mike Maynard said that it was important for the Bruins.
“It was good to have everyone out there this weekend,” he said. “The chemistry on this team is really great, these guys are really coming together, and that really helps us succeed.”
Senior middle distance runner Cory Primm provided the highlight of the weekend, running a 1:47.31 in the 800 meters, good for second place at the meet, and giving Primm the team’s first NCAA auto-qualifier.
“To run an auto-time is a really great thing for Cory and for our team.
He’s crucial to our success as a team, as one of our senior leaders,” Maynard said. “Going forward, we’ll have to strategize how to use him. But one thing for sure, we’re going to give him an opportunity to go after the four-minute mile mark, which no Bruin has ever done before.”
Many other Bruins enjoyed success. Senior pole vaulters Greg Woepse and Casey DiCesare tied for fifth and eighth, respectively, with jumps of 16 feet, 11 inches and 16-5.25; sophomore sprinter Damien Thigpen tied for fourth (6.89 seconds) in the 60 meters in his first collegiate competition; sophomore sprinter Maxwell Dyce placed second in the 200 meters with a time of 21.58 seconds. Junior thrower Mark Weber placed fourth overall in the shot put with a personal record of 55-10.25.
Freshman thrower Alec Faldermeyer threw a second NCAA provisional qualifying score with a 65-10.25 in the weight throw, having provisionally qualified last weekend as well. Faldermeyer, however, is setting his sights higher.
“To be honest with you, I’m really not satisfied at all. I really won’t be satisfied until I’m at least top five, top three hopefully,” Faldermeyer said.
The Bruins are off this weekend, so they will take the opportunity to rest and prepare for the MPSF Championships that will take place Feb. 25-26.
“We’re healthy now, and we want to stay healthy,” Maynard said. “We’ve got a week or two of training to prepare, but this team is ready. We’re ready.”