In a sport where responsibility for success or failure rests solely on an individual athlete’s shoulders, pressure is a powerful force. That was no different this weekend at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Five UCLA track and field athletes traveled to Nampa, Idaho, to compete in the indoor season’s final competition.
Sophomore Ida Storm took home second place in the hammer throw and earned First-Team All-American honors.
Storm’s second time competing in the NCAA Indoor Championships proved to be a much better performance than her appearance last year as a freshman. Storm’s event was the first of the weekend.
Her first two throws were disappointing, but once she reached the advancing mark for the finals, the pressure was off.
“Even though she was struggling, she kept fighting back,” coach Jeanette Bolden said.
Just two weeks ago, Storm competed at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships, where she broke her own Swedish record and the UCLA women’s weight throw record.
“I am so happy. It was great getting (a new record) in such a big meet. It was just awesome,” Storm said.
This amazing feat has now been surpassed by almost a foot. Storm holds the new UCLA women’s weight throw record at 70-5.75 and is in good position for the outdoor season.
“She’s ready to go to the outdoor season because now she has that confidence behind her,” Bolden said.
On the men’s side, sophomore weight thrower Alec Faldermeyer had only one good throw throughout his uncharacteristic performance. Out of the six rounds, he successfully completed one throw of 69-9.50, fouling the other five throws. Faldermeyer finished the competition in fifth place. Faldermeyer said he was dissatisfied with his overall performance.
“I was warming up really well, but maybe the pressure just got to me, something that usually doesn’t happen,” Faldermeyer said.
Despite his dissatisfaction, his fifth-place throw won him his third First-Team All-American honor.
Freshman runner Dustin Fay was unable to complete his event in the 5,000 meters because of a foot injury, while sophomore Marcus Nilsson finished 11th in the heptathlon and earned his first All-American honor.
Sophomore pole vaulter Mike Woepse earned Second-Team All-American honors with his 14th-place pole vault in his first NCAA Indoor Championship appearance.
Woepse was also let down by his own performance this weekend after consistently improving his technique all season, although he said he is looking forward to the outdoor season.
“I’m pretty fired up to get (the outdoor season) going and just kind of take it one meet at a time.” Woepse said.