A time of 8.48 was enough for Tatum Souza to come in first place in her 60 meter hurdles event. But the junior knew that her day was not over, and that she would still have to be tested in the high jump, shot put, long jump and 800m run. At the end of Friday’s pentathlon competition, her cumulative score of 4,023 points was enough to clinch first place at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships at the University of Washington.
“It’s been a long and hard journey to learn and practice the events. It takes up a good portion of most of my days of the week,” Souza said. “I’ve had awesome coaches here in UCLA, and we have a strong training group with lots of multi-event athletes. Having such a big team really helps me, and pushes me to learn every day.”
At the end of the meet, the UCLA men’s and women’s teams finished in seventh and fifth place, respectively. Arizona State claimed the men’s team title, while Oregon came in first in the women’s team competition.
The UCLA women took the lead after Friday’s events with 45.5 points, including two first-place event finishes courtesy of Souza and senior pole vaulter Allison Koressel.
The men’s team completed the first day of competition with 16 points, landing the Bruins in sixth place in the standings. Junior Daniel Herrera, sophomore Pete Lauderdale, freshman Nick Hartle and freshman Ferdinand Edman comprised the 4000m distance medley relay team that won the event with a time of 9:40:18.
After the events of day two, the women’s team capped its performance with a fifth-place finish and a total of 67.5 points. Sophomore sprinter Brea Buchanan claimed third place in the 60m hurdles with a time of 8.30 seconds. Senior sprinter Turquoise Thompson and sophomore sprinter Ally Courtnall finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 400m dash event.
The men’s team rounded off the competition with a seventh-place finish. Key performances included redshirt freshman thrower Nicholas Scarvelis’ second place finish in the shot put event and junior heptathlete Marcus Nilsson’s 5,670-point effort. Despite Nilsson’s strong performance, however, he was unable to match his first-place result from last year’s event, instead claiming second in this year’s competition.
The MPSF championships includes nine of the 12 Pac-12 teams, and is considered by coaches and athletes alike to be a Pac-12 Conference Indoor Track and Field Championship.
With the NCAA Championships fast approaching, Souza has a plan in mind to help her get ready for the competition.
“I’m going to keep practicing and really progress in more of the events; I feel like I still have a lot more to learn,” Souza said. “I’d also like to be number one in the nation at some point.”
Compiled by Aubrey Yeo, Bruin Sports contributor.