UCLA men’s track and field has a long history with the team from Tracktown, USA.
Oregon and UCLA first began competing against each other in dual meets in 1966, and it took the Ducks 12 years to first beat the Bruins one-on-one.
Over time, however, the head-to-head style was phased out in favor of bigger invitationals with more schools. In 2008, the dual meet between the two schools was revived, and Oregon wound up taking the next three contests, all of which were held in Eugene, Ore.
The No. 23 Bruins will get another shot on Sunday, which marks the return of the No. 11 Ducks to Drake Stadium after a 35-year absence.
“Historically, it’s a great duel,” assistant coach Forest Braden said. “It’s been going on for a while, and it’s exciting to get to host them. I’m sure we’ll have a great crowd out and see what we can do. It should be a great matchup.”
Freshman All-American thrower Alec Faldermeyer is excited about the opportunity to compete against Oregon.
“I don’t plan on losing any home meets, hopefully,” Faldermeyer said with a smile. “Oregon has a great hammer thrower, so hopefully, I’ll compete well against him and beat him.”
Faldermeyer has had little trouble beating the competition so far, but will face a talented thrower in Oregon’s Jordan Stray, a senior who finished third at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Indoor Championships and holds the fourth-best mark in Oregon history in the weight throw.
A select group of Bruins will also travel to Mt. San Antonio College today for the Mt. SAC Relays. The meet is an opportunity for some of the younger athletes on the team to compete and gain experience before the postseason gets going.
The competition at Drake begins at noon on Sunday, and the Bruins will take the opportunity to honor the seniors on the team, as it is the last home meet of their collegiate careers.
The Bruins have put together an impressive outdoor season so far, but have yet to test their mettle against a top-tier team such as Oregon, which UCLA will see again at the Pac-10 and NCAA championships in the coming weeks. However, Braden said he believes the team is ready for the challenge.
“We’re better this year; we had some holes in the roster that we filled with great athletes,” Braden said. “We’ve got a good steeple crew that’s fired up and ready to go, and our seniors in the 5,000K have been looking great. And you’ve seen what Faldermeyer’s been doing.
“We’ve definitely got some stars on the team.”