With the NCAA Championships glimmering on the horizon, the Bruins are down to their final dash.
The UCLA women’s track and field team is sending a very small squad to the UW Last Chance Qualifier in Seattle, including senior co-captain Lindsay Rowe, who is competing in the 60-meter hurdles and is looking to get back into her usual form.
“I’m just hoping to have a good strong, technically sound race,” Rowe said. “Just go in there, and run the time I need to automatically qualify for nationals.”
Rowe has been just a hair shy of the automatic qualifying time thus far this season, with her best run just 0.04 seconds short ““ less time than it takes most people to force out a sigh. A time of 8.14 seconds this weekend would guarantee Rowe a spot in the NCAA Championships.
Also attending the meet will be senior sprinter Ashlea McLaughlin, who will be running alongside senior sprinter Joy Eaton, freshman sprinter Breyonna Hunter and sophomore hurdler Turquoise Thompson in the 4×400m relay. Thompson will also be competing in the 400m dash.
“We’re going to need a perfect race; it’s going to need to be where we are all on,” McLaughlin said when asked what kind of a race her team would need in order to qualify.
“We have to be smart and run the best race possible. It’s definitely not easy to run a fast time on that track, so there’s not any room for error or anything.”
For coach Jeanette Bolden, the distance team’s chances of qualifying might just increase with a tweak in the lineup.
“We’re hoping to switch some legs around, maybe run a different order, to maximize our opportunity that we’ll have at this last chance meet for our relay qualifying,” Bolden said.
Filling out the remaining roster spots for the squad attending the Last Chance meet are freshman distance runners Tamara Purpura and Paisley Pettway.
With the stakes so high, and the 4×400m relay track so arduous, McLaughlin is excited yet nervous about her first shot at the NCAA Championships.
“I know when it gets close I’m going to be nervous, because I’ve never made it to Indoor Nationals before,” she said. “To be so close and yet so far ““ it’s definitely a little nerve-racking.”