As a garbage can was thrown alongside the track by strong winds rarely seen in Los Angeles, UCLA track and field athletes stood tall.
Instead of complaining, the Bruins viewed the wind as just an extra part of their training as they prepare for the Mt. San Antonio College Relays. Women’s track and field coach Jeanette Bolden even seemed to appreciate the added element to practice.
“Today was pretty windy, but the good thing about the wind out here today is that Mt. SAC tends to have some pretty good wind,” Bolden said. “So what they experienced today, they may or may not experience to this extent, but they might get a little bit of it in Mt. SAC.”
Gaining that small advantage might just be crucial for the Bruins as the season begins to come to a close.
The Bruins are all focused in on the upcoming Mt. SAC Relays, a meet that gives them the opportunity to post impressive individual marks. After team competitions the past couple of weeks, individuals can now try to earn top times to put themselves in the running for the NCAA preliminaries. With the Pac-12 Championships looming in the near distance, coach Jack Hoyt hopes that the team will hit its stride this week.
“Right now we want everybody fresh and competing really well, really sharp,” Hoyt said. “They’ll want to hit a little peak for the season this week, otherwise we’re just trying to gear up for Pac-12s.”
With the meet starting in the middle of the week, many athletes are facing a short turnaround from the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational last weekend. However, the coaching staff seems to have the situation under control, evaluating each athlete individually.
“If they are a little sore or a little tight from last weekend, then they probably won’t run this weekend,” Bolden said.
Even if some athletes do take a rest for this meet, practice remains as tough as ever. Freshman sprinter Blake Selig attributes much of his success to the practices with Bolden, practices which have become a running joke amongst the team of being ridiculously rigorous.
“We’re more than prepared, our coaches have gotten us really prepared,” Selig said. “I feel like that’s our best advantage because we know we’re in good shape and we know we’re going to run fast.”
Right after Mt. SAC, UCLA will have a big weekend against rival USC. A week after that begins four weekends of championship competition.
Yet, the team knows that it has to approach each meet with the right mindset.
“We’re focused on Mt. SAC; and after Mt. SAC is over we’ll focus on ’SC, then Pac-12s and then nationals,” said Selig. “Just like that, one week at a time.”