On Saturday, the UCLA women’s track and field team will have additional incentive to emerge victorious against USC: Winning will also mean snapping the USC women’s team’s five-year win streak in the UCLA-USC dual meet.
The meet has been a tradition since 1934; for 78 years, it has facilitated an annual head-to-head battle between UCLA and USC’s respective track and field teams.
“Every year that we have the dual against ’SC there’s a lot of tension, obviously. There’s no other feeling like this meet of the year,” said junior pole vaulter Courtney Reginato.
“It’s not even one of our biggest meets school-wise, having a bunch of schools together, but just having that rivalry motivates us a lot more to take down the Trojans.”
UCLA will travel downtown to USC’s Loker Stadium Saturday for the 79th installment of the series.
The Bruins have seen steady progress throughout this year’s outdoor season, including an impressive showing last week at the Mt. San Antonio College Relays, which saw both the men’s and women’s teams improve their rankings to No. 13 in the nation.
The men’s team will be defending last season’s 93–70 win against the No. 9 USC men’s team, while the women will look to put last season’s 89–73 defeat behind them as they look for a win against the No. 23 Women of Troy.
“It’s definitely most important or at least second-most important in our eyes when it comes to winning,” said sophomore pole vaulter Kayla Mallett.
Though the UCLA women pole vaulters will be competing in hostile USC territory this Saturday, they will do so with optimism and confidence. Reginato said their positivity comes from knowing that the Bruins have a strong pole vault program.
“In the pole vault, we do well every year; we sweep. … It’s always exciting for us to go out there for that meet because we know that we’re going to dominate that aspect of the pole vault,” Reginato said.
“But the thing is we have to keep in mind that there’s so many of us, so we’re competing against each other, and it’s just as important to get a good mark even though there’s not as many ’SC pole vaulters out there.”
This meet will be the first time freshman pole vaulter Renee Greene will feel the intensity of competition against the Bruins’ crosstown rivals. Despite her unfamiliarity with that atmosphere, she remains assured that her hard work during practices leading up to this meet will allow her to perform well when the time comes.
“This is (my) first meet against USC. … I’m excited to dominate, and I think it’ll go well because we’ve been preparing all year,” Greene said.