Everyone knows the feeling.
It’s often accompanied by a smile, a sigh and a sense that all is right, at least temporarily.
The feeling of being home and competing on your own turf is one that the UCLA men’s track and field team had not yet experienced this season.
That changed Saturday as No. 24 UCLA competed against Tennessee at a spruced-up Drake Stadium in front of an enthusiastic crowd that the Bruins did not disappoint, winning the dual meet 111-50.
In addition to students and parents, a large group of elementary school students from the I’m Going to College program were in attendance, both as avid supporters of UCLA and amateur competitors in the 100 meters to determine the fastest kid in Los Angeles.
The fastest man in Westwood on Saturday was senior All-American distance runner Cory Primm. He placed first in both the 1,500 meters and the 800 meters, handily winning the latter with a commanding performance and eking out a win in the longer race by a margin of 0.23 seconds.
Time is of the essence at a track meet, and the Bruins wasted none; the team was dominant enough to clinch the victory with almost half of the events remaining, taking the pressure off of the vaulters and distance runners who competed at the tail end of the meet.
Freshman All-American thrower Alec Faldermeyer got UCLA off on the right foot, setting a new personal record and winning the hammer throw with a mark of 207 feet, 4 inches.
“I was pretty close to getting a big one off (Saturday); I (achieved a personal record), but it wasn’t really a great throw for me,” Faldermeyer said. “I want to work on some technical stuff, and next week it should come together, especially for Oregon.”
Coaches and athletes alike were inspired by the support of the fans.
“The crowd was so great,” coach Mike Maynard said, smiling. “The crowd is a big factor in a meet like this, and the energy that they give (means a lot).”
In the pole vault, redshirt senior Greg Woepse won out in a slugfest against the Volunteers’ junior vaulter Joe Berry, a three-time Southeastern Conference pole vaulting champion. Woepse cleared 17 feet, 4.5 inches to the delight of the crowd, and Berry couldn’t match him in three tries to stay alive.
“I felt great,” Woepse said. “I’m coming off of an injury, so it’s the first time I’ve jumped in a few weeks. These crowds help a whole lot, and I had a blast. I’ve got lots of things to work on but staying healthy is No. 1.”