The UCLA men’s track and field team got off on the right foot with Pac-10 Championships looming this weekend.
The four decathletes No. 23 UCLA sent to Arizona all finished in the top 10 and earned crucial points for their team that will carry over to Friday and Saturday’s full meet.
The Bruins are currently sitting atop the standings with 15 overall points, with No. 20 Oregon and Washington coming in second and third, respectively.
The team can thank the decathletes for posting stellar numbers and making a statement that will resonate through the Pac-10 as the week goes on.
Junior Trent Perez had the biggest performance over the weekend, as he placed third in the conference with a lifetime-best score of 7,315 points and secured two event wins in the javelin and 1,500 meters.
Perez can now count himself among the ranks of UCLA’s top decathletes; his performance was eighth best in school history, and he is the first Bruin to break into the top 10 in the program’s record book since 2004.
Freshman Marcus Nilsson was right behind Perez in the scoring, placing fourth with 7,253 points. The freshman didn’t win any events outright but was in contention to win almost all of them. He finished third in the javelin and fifth in the 1500m, and earned five of UCLA’s points.
Behind Nilsson in fifth place was sophomore Dominic Giovannoni, who barely missed setting a new personal record this weekend. Giovannoni finished second in the discus throw with a mark of 39.74 meters, and placed third in the high hurdles with a time of 15.20 seconds.
“¨Athletes compete at Oxy Invitational
Members of the long distance squad, as well as vaulters and throwers, also competed at the Oxy Invitational in Eagle Rock over the weekend, and the Bruins got another big performance from senior All-American distance runner Cory Primm, who posted the third best time in the NCAA in the 800m on his way to winning the event.
Three other athletes posted lifetime bests over the weekend: redshirt senior Alex Crabill in the 1500m, freshman Philip MacQuitty in the open 800m and sophomore Zack Torres in the steeple. Torres also grabbed a runner-up finish in the steeplechase.
This weekend’s competition marked only the second time all season the decathletes have competed in all 10 events.
The Bruins were well represented in all of the events and set a tone with an impressive all-around performance that they will look to repeat in the coming weeks. The decathletes will rejoin the rest of the team this week as they prepare to return to Tucson on Friday and Saturday.
Following the Pac-10 Championships, the Bruins will travel to Oregon for the NCAA preliminaries, where they will look to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
Compiled by Eric Peck, Bruin Sports contributor.