The men’s track and field teams from USC and UCLA are both storied programs, combining for 36 national championships, an incredible amount of future Olympians and even more All-Americans.
When the two squads, both annually replete with talent, match up head-to-head, fierce competition is all but guaranteed.
This year’s matchup was no exception. The UCLA men’s track and field team took until the 5,000-meter race, the meet’s second-to-last event, to secure the victory at USC’s Loker Stadium, posting a final score of 89-74.
UCLA redshirt senior distance runner Alex Crabill was the man of the hour, winning the 5000m for five points and the victory.
“It’s an honor. We’re a great team, but I felt like, when we tied at Oregon, it rested on my shoulders a bit. So I’m glad I came back and got my five points here,” Crabill said amid the rowdy applause of fans and teammates in the stands.
All-American freshman Alec Faldermeyer foreshadowed things to come on Saturday during the hammer throw competition. Competing against USC senior Trey Henderson, Faldermeyer set a new personal record by more than 10 feet, scoring 218 feet, 5 inches.
Faldermeyer’s mark was good for second to Henderson, a result that was expected. However, the Bruins have not settled for meeting expectations all season, and Faldermeyer’s response was indicative of the team’s attitude in taking down the No. 8 Trojans.
“I finally started getting my technique back, and I PR’d on four out of my six throws yesterday,” said Faldermeyer, whose previous best was 207-4.
“But I would have rather had the win. … I don’t plan on losing to that guy at Pac-10′s.”
This marks coach Mike Maynard’s first win against USC in two seasons at UCLA. USC had won three of the past four meetings between the two schools.
Maynard’s first win came on USC’s home turf, a fact that he said made it all the sweeter. He pointed to the hunger of his team as the reason for his success.
“We’ve been practicing on competing, and it shows,” Maynard said.
“They’re battle tested. … We do it every day. We teach them in practice to reach for, fight for, excellence.”
UCLA’s performance was highlighted by nine event wins. Those leading men on the day were: senior Jake Matthews in the steeplechase, sophomore Maxwell Dyce in the 100 meters, senior Cory Primm in the 800 meters, and the 4×100-meter relay team.
The Bruins shotput and discus teams swept their events on Sunday. Many athletes competed in multiple events and captured valuable points, such as freshman RJ Frasier, who competed in the 400 meters and took a surprising second place.
Getting the win on Sunday provides an important springboard for a UCLA team not predicted to make much noise in preseason rankings.
“We have Pac-10′s in two weeks,” Frasier said. “This shows us that we’re a real team and that we can compete with the best of them.”