Senior middle distance runner Danielle Low watched the meet organizers reconstruct the 160-yard track after the sprint races came to a close at the Run for the Dream Invitational in Fresno, Calif.
Low has seen this transformation before, but it still amazes her. What surprised her more though was the UCLA track team’s change throughout the meet.
“You have to adjust the way you run. It’s mental preparation like listening to music and making sure you are physically ready with proper warm ups, stretching … to get rid of the nerves,” Low said. “But the nerves are the most important part, and what I saw was (what did it).”
What Low saw was sophomore Brea Buchanan overcome the competition and set the meet record in the 55-meter hurdles, placing first with a time of 7.74. Low watched as the 55m straightaway that cut the track down the middle was removed following Buchanan’s record-shattering performance.
The senior wanted to mirror that performance in her race. She did, taking first in the women’s 600m while also setting a meet record.
“That was definitely good for mental preparation … and motivation. It’s nice to see the training pay off during meets,” Low said. “Coach (Johnny Grey) always says ‘trust your shape’ and we have been training well, so that is what I had in mind.”
The Bruins had one more record holder in the pole vault, senior Allison Koressel, who bested not only the meet record but also her personal record at 4.24m.
“(After each event), we carried each other on, and that gave me the push,” Koressel said. “During practice, we had a clear plan and were paying attention to the little things, knowing eventually that a big mark would come.”
UCLA had a productive showing at Fresno and hopes to carry over that success with the MPSF championships this week in Seattle.
“Everyone performed well and got a good meet under their belt,” said distance coach Forest Braden. “That’s what we were looking for, to get a good competition before MPSF.”