This past week marked the dawn of spring for the No. 24 UCLA men’s track and field team, as the indoor season ended and the outdoor season began in earnest.
The Bruins headed to Texas over the weekend to take on No. 14 Arkansas and No. 17 Texas in a scored tri-meet that provided an early-season test for UCLA.
Coach Mike Maynard’s team rose to the challenge, getting top performances across the board to come in second to Texas with a score of 149-145. Arkansas placed third with a score of 106.
Given the disappointing results from the NCAA Indoor Championships, the Bruins might have been expected to start slow heading into the outdoor season; however, with a full complement of athletes, UCLA posted several event wins and many great individual performances, including a large number of lifetime bests.
Leading the way for the Bruins was newly minted All-American freshman thrower Alec Faldermeyer, who won the hammer throw with a mark of 200 feet, 7 inches.
Not to be outdone, the 4×100-meter relay team posted a fast time of 39.78 seconds. The team, composed of sophomores Maxwell Dyce and Randall Carroll, junior Karlton Rolle and freshman R.J. Frasier, has a chance to be one of the best in the nation.
Other Bruin standouts from the tri-meet included: redshirt junior Brian Law, winner of the 400-meter hurdles; redshirt freshman Matthew Kosecki, sophomore Carlo Valdez and senior Andreas Drbal, who placed first, second and third, respectively, in the javelin throw; and senior Casey DiCesare, winner of the pole vault.
Two of UCLA’s most talented athletes did not compete, as redshirt senior vaulter Greg Woepse withdrew at the last minute with an injury, and senior distance runner Cory Primm remained in Los Angeles with an illness.
The Bruins return home next weekend to begin a series of dual meets at Drake Stadium, starting with a tilt against Tennessee on Saturday.
Compiled by Lee Witbeck, Bruin Sports contributor.