What do blue hair, intense emotions, bragging rights over all of Los Angeles and an out-of-body experience have in common?
Three words: UCLA versus USC.
This weekend, the UCLA women’s track and field team will pay a visit to USC for this fabled showdown. This meet is one of the oldest in Los Angeles, according to coach Jeanette Bolden. And, given that it is against USC, Bolden knows what’s at stake.
“No matter what anybody says, this is an important meet. It’s a rivalry, UCLA against USC. It’s for all the marbles ““ bragging rights in Los Angeles,” Bolden said.
It’s no surprise that emotions are already bubbling for the Bruins. Senior hurdler and co-captain Lindsay Rowe remembers placing above the Women of Troy last season in the NCAA Championships and isn’t expecting her last year competing as a Bruin to be any different.
“Yeah, the emotions are completely different (from other meets). It’s an adrenaline, an intensity, it’s sometimes even a hatred, like every time you see red,” Rowe said of the upcoming meet. “It’s almost like an out-of-body experience when we are competing directly against them.”
Rowe will be doing all she can to get her teammates focused this Saturday and Sunday. She is registered to compete in both the 100-meter hurdles, in which she is ranked No. 27 in the country and also holds last season’s Pac-10 crown, and the 4×100m relays.
Joining her on the relay will be junior sprinters Yasmin Woodruff and Nijah Nelms and senior sprinter Joy Eaton, who is currently ranked No. 21 in the NCAA this season in the 400m. Eaton will also compete in both the 200m and the 400m.
Freshman thrower Ida Storm, who hails from Sweden, has been a vanguard for the Bruins, constantly placing in the NCAA top 25 in the hammer throw this season. Storm suspects her first USC meet will be different from previous competitions ““ she just doesn’t know how different.
“I do feel like this meet is different,” Storm said. “My teammates want to dye their hair blue and such. … I do think this meet is more important.”
This weekend, Storm will be competing in the hammer throw, the discus and shot put events. Junior Tori Anthony and sophomore Allison Koressel will be competing in the pole vault, and both are ranked No. 17.
Sophomore Turquoise Thompson has been storming over the 400m hurdles this season; her thunderous best this season, 56.73 seconds, places her at No. 5 in the NCAA. Thompson is registered for both the 400m hurdles and the 4×400m relay for Sunday’s anticipated showdown.
One thing is for sure: Even with emotional highs and lows, blue hair and maybe even some hatred, the Bruins will be ready.