Despite falling to rival USC last weekend at Drake Stadium, the UCLA women’s track and field team were able to take some positives from the meet before heading into the Pac-12 Championships this weekend.
“Even though we lost, this felt like a victory to me,” head coach Jeanette Bolden said. “They were supposed to destroy us, but we had chances to win the meet. I was happy at the conclusion of that meet. Not satisfied, just happy.”
At this premier level of competition, moral victories are few and far between, but the showing against USC proved to be another sign of progression for the young and talented team as it heads into the Pac-12 Championships this weekend in Eugene, Ore.
The women are coming off a rare moral victory following a loss to a bitter rival. While the majority of the women’s team is young and may be looking to make their first big impressions in the conference championships, those with experience are looking to leave lasting legacies in the competition.
Junior hurdler Turquoise Thompson is one such member of the women’s team, looking to achieve an impressive feat; a win this weekend would be her third straight Pac-12 championship win.
“It would be an awesome accomplishment,” Thompson said. “I feel like it would show a lot about my dedication to the sport and my consistency.”
While she received praise from her coach regarding her relay performance against USC, Thompson was unhappy with her performance in the hurdling event and has responded in training accordingly.
“This week I’ve gotten a lot more hurdling in than I usually do,” Thompson said. “Last meet, I was just going through a tough week, but this weekend should be a lot better. I have everything I need to be able to do fine.”
The men’s track and field team will also be taking center stage at the conference championships this weekend as they look to build upon a huge victory over USC. Many on the men’s team have seen improvement consistently as the season has gone on, but the road has not been as smooth for others.
Redshirt senior Taylor Hobson has dealt with injuries during this season and over his college career in general, at times keeping him from performing at full strength in the high jump and long jump.
“This year has really been an up-and-down one for me. It’s just been one of those years that have been really frustrating,” Hobson said.
Hobson looks set to have a memorable final stretch to his UCLA career and end the year on a high after a strong performance against USC. Despite his frustrating season, the redshirt senior put things in perspective and showed a positive attitude ahead of the Pac-12 Championships.
“I’m not putting too much pressure on myself because I know no matter what, I’m going to have a great time,” Hobson said. “My parents are going to be there, my sister is going to be there, and I know the atmosphere is going to be great.”