The congregation of the nation’s top track and field athletes in Fayetteville, Ark. can only mean one thing; it’s time for the 2013 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.
The two-day meet will take place in the Randal Tyson Track Center at the University of Arkansas today through Saturday, and will also signal the end of the 2013 indoor track and field season.
The Bruins will send a team of five athletes, each of whom has finished in the top 16 of their respective events to claim a spot in nationals.
The UCLA men’s team will send junior pole vaulter Mike Woepse, who qualified as a third seed in the event. Joining Woepse in representing the men’s team is junior heptathlete Marcus Nilsson. Nilsson enters the meet as a 12th seed for the heptathlon.
Both Woepse and Nilsson will be competing in their second NCAA Championships, having competed last year where they finished 14th and 11th, respectively.
“The last (Indoor Championships) didn’t go too well; a couple of things didn’t go my way. I’m just mainly trying to focus on what I’ve been focusing on in practice, so I’m not trying to do anything different or crazy, but just go out there and execute and do what I can do, and hopefully things will line up for me,” Woepse said.
Senior pole vaulter Allison Koressel joins the competition as a 14th seed. Also representing the women’s team for the Bruins will be sophomore long jumper Kylie Price, an 11th seed.
Rounding off the women’s team will be sophomore hurdler Brea Buchanan. Buchanan’s inclusion in the competition was nothing short of emotional, having qualified just last week in the Iowa State Last Chance Meet after dramatically improving her 60m hurdles seeding from 27th to 12th with a time of 8.18 seconds.
“Going in I was very confident,” Buchanan said. “Me and my coach’s goal was to run 8.20 (seconds), and when I saw the time, I just got really emotional because I feel like all season I’ve been exceeding my goals by a lot and really breaking my (personal record), so I cried a little bit, and coach (Jeanette) Bolden cried a little bit too.”
The Bruins will enter the competition with a positive mindset, knowing that they have earned their right to showcase their skills as one of the nation’s top athletes one final time before the indoor season comes to a close.
“Everybody’s pretty excited because it’s a very hard level to make the cut. For indoors they only pick the top 16 in the entire country, so it’s very cut-throat, very intense, but we made it this far, so we’re just really excited,” Buchanan said.