Redshirt freshman Jaycee Olsen stood in the middle of the throwing ring during practice, unable to figure out why her discus was curving to the right.

Throws coach Mike Maynard walked up to Olsen and reminded her of the strategy they had discussed.

“Remember what I told you? Just do it.”

Three throws to the right and two throws to the left later, Olsen watched her sixth discus throw travel in a straight line.

For the Bruins, a young team has its positives and negatives, but they have been showing the benefits of being able to improve, which the UW Invitational reflected not only in the juniors and seniors but also in strong underclassmen.

Maynard shared Olsen’s smile.

Maynard said he is looking forward to the potential of a relatively young team.

“We don’t really have upperclassmen in the 400 meters, and a dominant 4×400-meter team is one of the things we are trying to bring back to the forefront,” he said.

As for the 400-meter, sophomore Pete Lauderdale seems to have it covered. He ran a personal best, 48.23, for the indoor season, making him the fastest 400-meter runner on the team.

Other Bruins who broke personal records were redshirt sophomore Kelsey Smith in the 3000 meters at 9 minutes, 38.46, almost 10 seconds off her previous indoor time, and junior Natasha Kolbo in the pole vault at 12-10.75.

Kolbo and senior Allison Koressel tied second among seven in their event, and junior Courtney Reginato placed after them at ninth. Jumps coach Anthony Curran is determined to get the athletes into the top 16 so that they are able to get past the NCAA preliminaries.

“It’s not only about getting personal bests. I want them to have the experience competing at that level because I know they can,” Curran said.

Senior redshirt thrower Nigel Davies felt the same way, saying that he wants to build upon the performance he had at Seattle. Davies fouled for the first two attempts but pulled through with a 49-01.75.

“It wasn’t ideal, but it’s a personal record in itself,” Davies said. “It had to happen because it’s an early meet.”

Redshirt freshman distance runner Lane Werley was one of a few freshmen with a big showing at the recent University of Washington Invitational.
Courtesy of DON LIEBIG
Redshirt freshman distance runner Lane Werley was one of a few freshmen with a big showing at the recent University of Washington Invitational.

The meet also featured strong freshmen performances, including redshirt Lane Werley who ran a 4:10 in the mile, Nick Hartle and Alexander Monsivaiz in the 800m with 1:51.48 and 1:52.75.

Junior Daniel Herrera, who transferred from Cerritos College finished at 4:05 in the mile.

“He’s a good track runner as he was in cross country, where he was in the top five of the team,” long distance coach Forest Braden said.

Another Bruin newcomer is freshman Ferdinand Edman, who hails from Norway.

“It’s his first meet competing in uniform. It’s exciting to have a guy like him here, Daniel too,” Braden said.

Edman competed in the mile run, crossing the finish line right behind Herrera at 4:05.77.

“Edman is a great addition to the team, and knowing that it’s his first time running in a competition, it’s crazy,” Maynard said.

Email Quach mquach@media.ucla.edu.