Any athlete will say that the middle of a workout is the most difficult ““ that’s when the fatigue can be felt and the finish line seems far away.
The UCLA men and women’s track and field team find themselves right there, currently at the midpoint of their outdoor season.
The finish line, being the Pac-12 Championships, is visible, yet still a month away. Despite this, the Bruins are motivated for this weekend’s meet and are ready to improve.
Both teams head to Eugene, Ore. this weekend to compete in the 23rd annual Pepsi Team Invitational where the Bruins plan to showcase their skills against three-time reigning NCAA champions Texas A&M and Pac-12 foes Oregon and Washington.
The women’s team is sending 34 athletes to the historic Hayward Field in Eugene, which is known as Track Town, USA.
Women’s head coach Jeanette Bolden wants her team to improve upon what it did last week, referring to its win against Washington and loss to Tennessee in a double dual held at UCLA’s Drake Stadium this past Saturday.
“We are working on what we need to work on,” Bolden said. “Indoor season was all preparation for now. We haven’t peaked yet. We have been pacing ourselves for the outdoor season.”
If, as Bolden alluded, the best is yet to come, then the Bruins could have a very successful season. In the last few weeks alone, the team has seen impressive performances by the women’s team as several athletes set personal records and continue to move up in the NCAA Rankings.
Sophomore Ida Storm is currently ranked No. 4 in the NCAA this season for the hammer throw after her lifetime-best of 209-5 at the meet last Saturday. For the Pepsi Invitational, Storm looks to beat that mark .
“I don’t have high goals. I just want to compete and do my best and keep improving,” Storm said.
If Storm does continue to improve as she has been in the last several meets, setting personal records and continuing to subsequently break them, then she is on the path to be a contender for the No. 1 thrower in the nation.
“We are highly motivated.” Storm said of her team. “We are all going to do well this weekend.”
For the men, middle distance coach Johnny Gray is similarly looking for improvement.
“We are a very young team,” Gray said. “We are an up-and-coming team. The fact that we are young shows that we are just beginning, but we are UCLA Bruins, we’re not new to this, we’re true to this.”