Check out a breakdown of the UCLA sports stories you might have missed this week.
TuAnh Dam, Sports editor
The awards keep rolling in for Lonzo Ball.
The point guard, who declared for the NBA draft after UCLA’s Sweet 16 loss to Kentucky, earned first-team All-American honors and was named the National Association of Basketball Coaches Freshman of the Year.
In his only season in Westwood, Ball also earned U.S. Basketball Writers Assocation first-team honors as well as the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year award.
Ball, who set the school single-season assists record, is also a finalist for the John R. Wooden Award, which is awarded to the most outstanding basketball player in the country for the season.
David Gottlieb, assistant Sports editor
Lilia Vu was named Pac-12 Golfer of the Month of March after No. 5 UCLA women’s golf picked up wins over Oregon, Colorado and No. 10 USC as part of the Inaugural Gifford Great 8 in Brentwood in mid-March.
The sophomore also earned UCLA Student-Athlete of the Week honors after the Bruins took first at the Anuenue Spring Break Classic in Lahaina, Hawaii, on March 29.
Vu finished top overall at the latter meet, shooting a 12-under 204. Only four others – including fellow Bruin Mariel Galdiano – finished under par in the 90-golfer tournament.
UCLA will participate in the Silverado Showdown and the Pac-12 championship in April before NCAA regionals begin May 8.
Track and Field
Michael Hull, assistant Sports editor
Thanks to incredible performances by UCLA men’s track and field at its home opener last weekend , the Bruins have surged even more in the national rankings.
The men’s track and field team entered the season ranked 18th, but as revealed Monday, is now ranked 12th in the entire country per the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
It’s the highest ranking for the Bruins at this point in the season since 2013, where they were also ranked No. 12.
Before this past weekend, UCLA’s biggest pitch for its ranking was a top-10 time from sophomore Rai Benjamin in the 400-meter and 400 hurdles, top-30 times from the 4×100-meter relay team, sophomore Arturo Sotomayor in the 800-meter, junior Misana Viltz in the 110-meter hurdles and a top-10 clearance from senior Sage Stone in the high jump.
After this past weekend, nearly a dozen more UCLA athletes are in the top 50 now. In the 1500-meter alone, a trio of underclassmen in freshman John Carter Blunt, sophomore George Gleason and Sotomayor all made the top-50 – Blunt is ranked 16th. In the 5000-meter, junior Daniel De La Torre and freshman Garrett Reynolds both came in under 14 minutes and are 12th and 13th in the country, respectively.
Two solo performances from redshirt senior Austin O’Neil in the steeplechase from redshirt freshman Colin Burke in the 10,000-meter give them the second and 45th time in the country, respectively.
Freshman Isaiah Holmes and sophomore Michael Burke are in the top five in the high jump, and two sprinters – Benjamin and junior Leon Powell – made their way into the top 20 of the 200.
Grant Sugimura, assistant Sports editor
After a year full of the unexpected for UCLA men’s volleyball, the regular season is finally nearing an end.
The No. 6 Bruins will take on the No. 4 Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors in their final two games.
These final two games are crucial for UCLA because they will help determine where the Bruins stand in the conference rankings heading into the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation tournament.
Currently, UCLA sits in the 5-seed behind Long Beach State, Brigham Young, Hawai’i and UC Irvine.
Two wins could possibly push the Bruins to a 3-seed. However, in order to reach that mark, the Anteaters must lose at least one game. In that situation, UCLA would then hold the three-way tie over both Hawai’i and UC Irvine.
In the case of just two wins without an Anteater loss, the Bruins would remain at least a 4-seed and be in Westwood for the MPSF Quarterfinals.
At the very least, even with two losses, UCLA would still hold onto its fifth seed placement.