For college coaches to be successful, they must recruit well.
The UCLA men’s track and field team seems to know this, as it recently signed another strong class, full of top high school competitors who will look to compete early.
“We are very excited about this class,” assistant coach Forest Braden said. “The goal every year is to get a top-five class, which we did last year. It’s definitely in the works to be in the top five this year.”
The recently signed class includes seven student-athletes at this point, though Braden said that the class will continue to grow going forward. The class features top athletes in many events, including two top throwers, a decathlete and several distance runners.
“This class isn’t done yet; we are still recruiting. We are still looking to sign some more guys to fill out this class and add some more talent,” Braden said.
Will Parsons and Nicholas Scarvelis are California’s top returning discus thrower and shot putter, respectively. With last year’s top recruit Alec Faldermeyer already in the fold, Parsons and Scarvelis look to give UCLA one of the strongest throwing teams in the soon-to-be Pac-12 conference.
Marcus Nilsson is a decathlete from Sweden and the 2010 World Junior Championships bronze medalist. UCLA will rely on Nilsson to make a major impact during his career and even early on, given the success he has already enjoyed internationally.
The remaining four recruits are distance runners, highlighted by top recruit Lane Werley. Werley is an All-American at the high school level in both track and field and cross country, and hopes to continue his success at the collegiate level.
Sergey Sushchikh, Nathaniel Cushing-Murray and Sean Grumney are all long distance runners with strong upside. They will look to continue their development at UCLA and add to the depth and competitiveness of the Bruins.
Outside of Nilsson, all of the signees are from Southern California.
“First we look in SoCal, then nationally, then internationally,” Braden said. “Some of the best are right in our backyard, and we want to make sure we don’t lose them to other programs.
“We want to get the best, period.”
Compiled by Lee Witbeck, Bruin Sports contributor.