Rather than sticking to the cliche of “taking it one meet at a time,” the UCLA women’s track and field team has had its sights on its showdown with USC for the past couple of meets, resting many of its athletes. However, that didn’t mean the Bruins would take the weekend off.
Instead, UCLA sent a small team to La Jolla for the Triton Invitational. The only athletes that competed were pole vaulters, high jumpers and a few runners.
“This weekend’s meet was just a tune-up for the USC meet,” coach Jeanette Bolden said. “A lot of kids practiced Saturday but did not compete.”
“We started off this season with four very good track meets in a row. It was time for us to rest, regroup and work on a few things for the next week.”
Despite UCLA resting many of its athletes, those who went had some successful performances.
Redshirt junior pole vaulter Tori Anthony has become a consistently high-performing competitor for the Bruins after coming off of nagging injuries. Last week at the Mt. SAC Relays, Anthony tied her season best clearance of 13 feet, 7.25 inches. She currently stands in the No. 19 spot in the nation. This weekend, she placed sixth overall with a mark of 13-1.50.
Though Anthony had a strong showing, it was another Tori who stole the spotlight in the pole vault. Bruin alumna Tori Pena finished second overall with a clearance of 13-7.25. However, sophomore pole vaulter Allison Koressel matched that mark to finish as the top collegiate finisher in that event and third place overall.
“Allison had a good performance in the pole vault as she continued to do well,” Bolden said. “We definitely want to see her continue to grow and get into the top 25 in the nation.”
The Bruins remained a dominant part of the pole vault. Sophomore Liz Goodrich added to the Bruin pole vaulting success with a ninth-place finish and a mark of 12-1.50, while freshman Courtney Reginato placed 11th with the same clearance.
In the high jump, freshman Alexis Walker led UCLA, placing sixth overall with a jump of 5-8, a season-best. Sophomore Mariah Gibson finished 10th in the invite section with a season-best clearance of 5-6, and in the open section of the event, junior Shannon Armstrong and senior Ashley Bauchman tied for fifth with marks of 5-2.50.
Only three runners competed in La Jolla, participating in two different events. In the 400 meters, freshman sprinter Breyonna Hunter placed eighth with a time of 57.20 seconds. Redshirt sophomore sprinter Briana Barlow finished not too far behind Hunter, placing 10th, clocking in at 57.51 seconds. Senior middle distance runner Lauren Hall, also a member of UCLA’s swim and dive team, placed 20th in the 1,500 meters, finishing in 4:51.02.
“She just came over and just told us, “˜I want to run track,’ and it was just a matter of what distance she wanted to run,” Bolden said of Hall. “It’s great to see someone so widely recognized in one sport to turn around and contribute to another sport.”