With the Jim Bush So Cal Championships wrapped up, the Bruins will be able to focus on the upcoming NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore. which starts Wednesday.
The Jim Bush So Cal Championships took place at UCLA’s Drake Stadium Saturday and saw several strong performances from Bruin athletes. Redshirt junior discus thrower Matthew Kosecki and junior pole vaulter Mike Woepse both ended their seasons on high notes, with both Bruins claiming the top spot in their respective events.
Also in the competition was junior thrower Alec Faldermeyer, who said he saw the meet as a practice trial for NCAAs.
“I only took one throw and then I fouled it, and then passed on the rest of my throws. … It was just kind of a practice with some other people there, so I didn’t really have any plans on competing in it. It was basically just a warm-up for NCAAs,” Faldermeyer said.
“I’m expecting to go (to NCAAs) and fight for the win. I mean I’m ranked third; I’m not too far off from first position, so as long as I can go and throw well, then I think I can come away with a win.”
Joining Faldermeyer on the men’s team at NCAAs will be senior decathlete Dominic Giovannoni, junior decathlete Marcus Nilsson and redshirt junior discus thrower Julian Wruck.
Wruck will enter the championships ranked No. 1 overall in his event and with momentum on his side, and he is the current all-time NCAA record holder after setting the record on Saturday at the Claremont Hammer and Discus Elite Invitational.
“About a week ago, I felt a little bit sick at the regional championships, but after getting a few good nights’ sleep, all of a sudden yesterday I started to feel really good. … I wasn’t expecting to throw quite that far, but I felt great that day and I guess everything was just right to throw a big throw,” Wruck said.
Despite having already been crowned NCAA discus champion in 2011, Wruck recognizes that the level of competition has elevated over the past two years, and repeating as champion this year will not be easy.
“It was a weakened year in the discus (when I won). It’s picked up a little bit, so there are a couple of competitors who have thrown further than when I won it, so it’ll be a little more difficult than the last time, but of course it gives me a lot of confidence knowing I’ve won it before,” Wruck said.
The women’s team will be represented by five athletes, including junior heptathlete Tatum Souza, who sees the Championships as a stage for this strong Bruins team to shine.
“Surreal. I can’t even explain to you, to be ranked in the nation. I mean all our women are ranked top 10, which is insane, and it’s awesome going in with such strong teammates as well,” Souza said.
“Everyone’s competing to be the next big thing in each of their events, and I think that it’s exciting, more than anything. All the hard work is finally paying off.”
Also competing for the Bruin women’s team are sophomore hurdler Brea Buchanan, who will compete in the 100-meter hurdles, sophomore sprinter and jumper Kylie Price, whose consistency qualified her for the 100 meters and long jump, junior hammer thrower Ida Storm, who broke the all-time UCLA women’s hammer throw record earlier this season, and senior hurdler Turquoise Thompson, who will be competing in the 400 hurdles event.
“I think that we are really ready, honestly. Everyone’s peaking at the right time and my teammates have all been working so hard that I can’t imagine that there’s anything but positive results from the meet,” Souza said.