With more than half of its outdoor season complete, the UCLA track and field team put a stamp on its final home meet of the year Saturday.
The Bruins hosted some of the nation’s finest track and field athletes on their home turf, and the Jim Bush Collegiate Invitational at Drake Stadium proved to be the prime platform for numerous personal and season bests.
The day began with junior Jessie Maduka, who came in third in the long jump with a leap of 19 feet, 0.50 inches and first in the triple jump with a score of 41-10.75 inches. In the men’s long jump, freshman Isaiah Holmes scored a mark of 24-7.50 to finish second overall.
The international freshmen duo of Simon Litzell and Marian Spannowsky threw 225-7.75 and 222-11.00 to finish third and fourth, respectively, in the men’s javelin. Redshirt sophomore thrower Ashlie Blake came in second place with her mark of 53-10.25 in the shot put, and redshirt sophomore Dotun Ogundeji followed suit by placing second in the men’s division with a throw of 61-3.25.
For pole vault, redshirt sophomore Greta Wagner and junior Elleyse Garrett cleared 13-9.50 and 13-3.75 to finish second and third overall, respectively. And to finish off the field events, senior Sage Stone finished second in the high jump.
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The track events kickstarted with the women’s 4×100-meter relay. Juniors Ashley Lewis and Jelvon Butler, with the help of sophomore sprinters Schuyler Moore and Suzie Acolatse, together ran a season best of 45.00 seconds to take third. For the men’s side, sophomores Rai Benjamin and Damion Marshall, junior Leon Powell and freshman Brett Morman finished second behind No. 2 Texas A&M’s team with a mark of 40.10.
Benjamin would false start later in the men’s 400 meters, though he ran 50.12 in the 400-meter hurdles – a time that won the event and currently ranks eighth in the country.
Redshirt sophomore Pattriana Perry and junior Misana Viltz have virtually been in-sync for the better part of 2017, posting similar times for their respective events most weekends, and that didn’t change at the invitational.
Perry finished with a personal best in the women’s 100-meter hurdles, clocking a 13.96 to place third in her heat, and Viltz had a season-best time of 13.95 to clinch the victory in the men’s 110 hurdles.
“Me and Misana have been running the same time at every meet. When I run a 14.0, he runs a 14.0, when I run a 13.9, he runs a 13.9,” Perry said. “There are not a lot of hurdlers so it’s great to have him as a support system, and I’m glad to see that we’re both getting better.”
For Perry, clocking within 13 seconds was especially meaningful because it was one of her fastest times to date in her college career.
“I just knew that if I could at least touch 13 again, I could get my mind right to get me back at where I was and even faster,” Perry said. “I’m ready to keep it going and keep my time dropping for the rest of the season.”
All season, Perry has dealt with tendinitis in her Achilles. Knowing that her time continues to improve while she’s been injured has given her confidence for the potential marks to come when she’s completely healthy, she said.
Freshman sprinter Logen Casavant finished out his last home meet of the season with a series of personal bests. In the 400-meter dash, he not only took fourth overall but clocked a lifetime best of 47.25 and in the 200 meters he ran a 21.10 – another personal best.
“Coming into college, I knew it was going to be a different level,” Casavant said. “Every meet, I keep doing better and it’s just nice to see steady improvement. Coming into this track meet, I expected a PR today, so I am glad with how I did.”