Tuesday, June 25

Track and field soars above personal bests, but fails to overtake USC

The Bruins took home wins in a majority of the distance events on both the men's and women's side against the Trojans, but both teams would eventually fall due to a lack of production from UCLA's sprinters. (Amy Dixon/Assistant Photo editor)

The Bruins took home wins in a majority of the distance events on both the men's and women's side against the Trojans, but both teams would eventually fall due to a lack of production from UCLA's sprinters. (Amy Dixon/Assistant Photo editor)

UCLA track and field entered Sunday’s annual dual meet looking up at USC in the national rankings for both men and women, similar to last year.

While the Bruins of last year took home a win on the men’s side at Loker Stadium, there was no such upset at Drake Stadium this year.

Facing the No. 2 women’s squad in the country USC, the UCLA women fell by a score of 86-77. It was a blowout on the men’s side – the No. 9 Trojans took down the Bruins 103-53.

USC feasted in the short-distance events against a depleted UCLA sprint squad, totaling 49 points on the men’s side and 54 points on the women’s side.

In comparison, the Bruins tallied just 2 points overall between both sprint teams.

Senior Jelvon Butler accounted for one of those points in the women’s 200-meter dash, where she ran 23.91 seconds to take third.

The other point came in the men’s 400-meter dash, as senior Joe Herrera took third with a new personal best of 46.64 in his final regular season meet.

Sprints coach Curtis Allen cited Herrera’s recent return as a boost for an injury-ridden sprints team.

“He just has to keep putting together his race plan,” Allen said. “I expect (Herrera) to run even better than that going into Pac-12 championships.”

While the Trojans dominated the sprint events, the Bruins stood out in the longer distances. UCLA won six out of eight events and tallied 56 points, while USC had just two victories and 16 points in the distance events.

Not many Trojans even showed up to compete in the men’s distance events – they fielded just four runners to the Bruins’ 17. In two of the four men’s distance events, UCLA ran uncontested.

According to junior George Gleason, this was not because USC had runners they were holding back.

“They don’t really have a distance team,” Gleason said. “I mean, you can’t really go on runs over there, in the area around USC’s campus.”

Running with six of his teammates against one lone Trojan runner, Gleason won the men’s 1500 meter with a new personal best of 3:43.91.

In the field, UCLA throwers continued their impressive season, winning six of eight events and outscoring USC by 21 points overall.

“USC normally is pretty good,” throws coach John Frazier said of the Trojans’ throws team. “They’re down a little bit this year. … They’re not as deep as they have been in the past.”

Freshman Alyssa Wilson continued her impressive rookie season, winning the women’s hammer throw and women’s discus while finishing second in the women’s shot put, behind redshirt junior Ashlie Blake. All three marks were collegiate personal bests for Wilson.

“We knew (Wilson) was ready to do well,” Frazier said. “There’s so much more there. She is forcing it still, because she wants to throw far so badly. It’s just a matter of maturity for this level of throwing.”

On the men’s side, junior Justin Stafford won the hammer throw for the fourth consecutive time, setting a new personal best of 64.92 meters.

Elsewhere in the field, senior Jessie Maduka made her outdoor season debut in the women’s triple jump and won the event with a mark of 13.62 meters.

Overall, despite USC’s dominance in the shorter distances, UCLA held its own against their higher-ranked rival in the rest of the events. Nonetheless, the Trojans took the honorary victory lap Sunday, with the Bruins watching from the stands.

“This meet is always such a great one, because it’s so historic,” Gleason said. “There are a lot of people that come out and cheer on the race. And you just want to put on the best performance possible.”

As for the sprints team, they are looking for revenge at next year’s dual meet, which will be hosted at USC.

“We’re going to use this to fuel the fire,” Allen said. “Know that we’ll come back next year, and we will be celebrating next year.”

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Sports reporter

Kenney is currently a Sports reporter on the baseball beat. He was previously a contributor on the men's soccer, track and field and cross country beats.

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  • Christian Jensen

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