The UCLA women’s track and field team battled tooth and nail Saturday when it launched into its first of two home meets this year. Though the Bruins eventually fell, they took their pride with them.
For the first time this season, Drake Stadium saw some action as the Bruins hosted the Tennessee Volunteers in a dual meet.
The No. 15 Lady Vols came into the meet as the obvious favorite, but the Bruins gave them all they could handle before eventually losing 82-81.
“My team wasn’t ranked at all, and to have it go down to the last two events, I’m just so proud of the young ladies. We had so many personal bests today, and so many seasonal bests. I am speechless,” coach Jeanette Bolden said.
Senior co-captain Lindsay Rowe usurped gold-medalist Joanna Hayes for the meet record in the 100-meter hurdles, easily claiming first place honors with a scorching time of 13.34.
“It’s really exciting, I’m more excited than anything. I can only go faster from here,” Rowe said.
“She’s such a great person, fantastic competitor and a great teammate,” Bolden said of Rowe. “She really gets into the team atmosphere, and that’s what I love about her, she likes being part of a team.”
Freshman Ida Storm came in where Rowe left off, setting a new personal best in the hammer throw and easily winning the event, throwing 204 feet, 2 inches, which was 30 feet farther than her competition, and good for fourth place all-time honors in UCLA history.
Storm also stepped up and competed when the Bruins needed her in the discus and shot put for the first time in her young career, and was the top finishing Bruin in both events.
“It was a really great competition ““ four girls threw over 60 meters, and I haven’t thrown over 60 meters for a long time before last week,” Storm said. “It was really nice, I beat my personal record that was a year and 10 months old.”
Bolden had nothing but good things to say about the adept Storm and Rowe.
“Both of them are fierce competitors, but more importantly they are good kids,” she said. “They like being part of the group, and doing all they can to help the team. To see them go out there and both have good performances was very special.”
Sophomore Turquoise Thompson had a great performance in the 400-meter hurdles, moving up to ninth overall in UCLA history and second in the NCAA this season with a time of 56.73.
Senior Joy Eaton claimed first place in the 400 meters with a silencing time of 53.58. The 4×400-meter relay team of Eaton, Ashlea McLaughlin, Rowe and Thompson set a new meet record with a time of 3:39.42, and the Bruins swept the Lady Vols in pole vault behind sophomore Allison Koressel.
“At the team meeting on Thursday we just talked about being competitive,” Bolden said. “We are going to be the underdogs all year, and all we have to do is compete, and that’s what I saw today ““ I saw ladies fighting and doing their best.”