While every coach will tell you that every contest counts, it wouldn’t take too much pressing for them to say the ones at the end count more.
The end of the outdoor season is approaching for the No. 24 UCLA men’s track and field team, with a dual meet against rival USC followed by the Pac-10 Championships and the NCAA Outdoor Championships looming ahead.
But before that happens, the Bruins will take their final opportunity to rest up and fine-tune their game, sending a small contingent of throwers and vaulters to the Triton Invitational at UC San Diego this weekend while resting the majority of the squad.
“Everybody’s ready; we’re ready,” said coach Mike Maynard, explaining why many of the team’s athletes would sit out the event. “At some point, the hay’s in the barn, and you just got to go with what you got.”
For those athletes who are going, the location will provide excellent conditions to work on technique and to improve or post regional qualifying marks.
“Discus throwers and vaulters, they always love good winds … and those are some special conditions,” Maynard said. “It’s worthwhile, because if they’re in the top 48, you make the regionals.”
Among the competitors heading south for UCLA will be: discus throwers redshirt senior Bo Taylor and redshirt freshman Matthew Kosecki, pole vaulters freshman Mike Woepse and redshirt senior Greg Woepse, redshirt sophomore triple jumper Dillon Stucky, and redshirt sophomore shot putter Nigel Davies.
“I’ve been working on some things that will get me some immediate impact on distance,” Kosecki said. “I want to try and get a good throw there, set myself up for regionals, so I can stop worrying about if I’m in or not.”
Kosecki set a personal best in the javelin during the dual meet against Oregon but did not place in the discus. He will attempt to improve his discus mark this weekend.
Greg Woepse set a personal record in the pole vault against Oregon, placing him top 10 nationally in the vault.
But, as is consistently the creed of track and field, Woepse is unsatisfied and wants to keep improving.
“Definitely, the things that showed in my jump on Sunday were things that showed in practice, that I need to work on,” Woepse said. “I’m going to work those out in practice, and at the meet on Saturday, just jump higher.”