For yet another year, none of the Pac-12 track and field programs could keep pace with Oregon at the conference meet.
The Ducks extended their conference reign to 10 years on the men’s side and 8 years on the women’s. The Bruin men finished third overall with 94.2 points while the women’s team finished fifth with 66.5.
Things got going quickly for the Bruins on day one. UCLA opened up with two first-place finishes from senior thrower Nicholas Scarvelis and redshirt senior long jumper Kylie Price. Scarvelis repeated as conference champ for the third season in a row and Price claimed her first Pac-12 title.
Price is poised to make a run at nationals after being named a United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-American in 2014 and redshirting last season. In the last two outdoor Pac-12 championships she competed, she finished second. After finally attaining the conference crown, the fifth-year Bruin has her sights set on bigger prizes.
“My goal was to have one of my top jumps in prelims,” Price said in an interview with the Pac-12 conference. “In regionals you only get three jumps, so I needed to work on jumping far in the beginning.”
Scarvelis also focused on the regional and national meets, knowing he was going to perform well despite experiencing what he said was a “tricky practice” just the day before due to rainy conditions.
“I just know bad days still mean 65 feet or more no matter what at this point,” Scarvelis said. “If I am on at all and am not hurt, then I am going to throw far. I am feeling good and trying to ride that all the way to nationals. I have thrown distances that would have won nationals a lot of years, so I just have to keep it up.”
The first day also saw strong performances from sophomore Braheme Days – who finished second in the shot put behind Scarvelis – as well as women’s shot putter Torie Owers, who placed third. Redshirt freshman Dotun Ogundeji achieved a lifetime best in the event after throwing 61-9.75 feet for fifth place.
Sophomore Kendall Gustafson returned to Seattle after competing in the heptathlon at the Pac-12 multi championship last week, placing third in the high jump Saturday.
The women’s 4×100-meter relay team did not score for the Bruins due to a zone violation, which resulted in disqualification. The men’s relay team advanced to the finals with freshman Rai Benjamin, who made his collegiate debut after sustaining a foot injury early in the season.
Benjamin also ran his main event – the 400-meter hurdles – and placed fourth overall to advance to the finals. However, UCLA coaches chose for him to withdraw from Sunday’s competition. The freshman is still easing his way back into competition after missing the entire outdoor season but is still expected to qualify for the regional meet.
Saturday concluded with record performances from junior Emily Scharmann and senior Lane Werley. Scharmann broke the school record in the steeplechase with a time of 10:11.30, shaving off 11 seconds from her prior personal best, but still only placed seventh. Werley managed to get second in the 10,000-meter race, posting the ninth fastest time in UCLA history.
The second day of action was slower for the Bruins, with athletes scoring a few points in different events. Sophomore hurdler Misana Viltz placed fourth in the 110-meter hurdles, while senior Trinity Wilson placed eighth in the 100-meter hurdles.
Kenny Walker – a senior wide receiver on the football team – ran the first leg of the men’s 4×100-meter relay with sophomore Leon Powell anchoring them to fourth place. Powell and Walker also finished fifth and sixth in the 100-meter dash, respectively.
Scarvelis returned to competition after winning the shot put to win first place in the discus throw with a mark of 187-10 feet. Ogundeji placed third in the event with a throw of 177-01 feet.
In the 800-meter run – his specialty event – senior All-American Nick Hartle took fifth, despite placing second and third the previous two years at Pac-12 championships.
Freshman standout Jasmine Stauffacher-Gray placed fifth in the 400-meter hurdles finals after setting a personal best of 58.38 seconds the day before in prelims.
Bruins with high enough marks and times will advance to the NCAA West Regional Championship in Lawrence, Kansas, but will have to wait until all entries around the region have been submitted to find out if their season will continue.
For results of the meet, click here.