Weekend in Preview: Track and field record-breaker prepares for next meet, swim and dive heads north
(Andy Bao/Daily Bruin)
Dylan D’Souza, Daily Bruin reporter
The Bruins will face their first ranked opponent this weekend.
No. 13 UCLA women’s tennis (2-0, 0-0 Pac-12) will travel to Oklahoma this weekend to face No. 7 Oklahoma State (4-1, 0-0 Big 12) and No. 24 Tulsa (5-3, 0-1 AAC) on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
“I’m excited to see our team get tested at every spot,” said coach Stella Sampras Webster. “It’s a great opportunity for us to play teams outside our conference.”
The Bruins fell 2-4 to the Cowgirls last season at home. UCLA dropped four straight points in singles, after winning the doubles point and first singles point.
“At this point, we just have to figure out which doubles pairings are the best for our team,” Sampras Webster said. “Right now, our one and two doubles teams have really proven themselves. It’s really about figuring out our third doubles team and which combination works best.”
Freshman Taylor Johnson paired with senior Alaina Miller and won on court three 6-3 against Minnesota on Jan. 26. The following day, Johnson played with sophomore Abi Altick on third court for a 6-2 win against Loyola Marymount.
The Bruins are the only team in the nation to have two doubles teams ranked in the top 12. No. 6 senior duo of Gabby Andrews and Ayan Broomfield are 11-3 on the season, while No. 12 combo of freshman Elysia Bolton and redshirt junior Jada Hart are 12-3 so far this year.
“We have some of the best doubles teams in the country,” Sampras Webster said. “I think our singles players from No.1 to No.7 can play anywhere in the lineup. We have a lot of depth and we’ll find out a lot about our team over the next couple of weeks.”
Michelle Murakami, Daily Bruin contributor
The Bruins will be starting their spring season one player short.
Lilia Vu recently earned her LPGA Tour card and will not be playing with the team for the upcoming spring season.
Sophomore Patty Tavatanakit said Vu being gone would not affect the Bruins’ individual performances but that the team will miss her leadership.
“Individually, I don’t think there will be an impact, but for the team, definitely,” Tavatanakit said. “If the four of us can pull through with good numbers, we should be fine, but there’s a lot of pressure to do well. With (Vu) gone, it won’t be who is replacing who (as a leader), but (more so) we have to believe in each other’s abilities.”
UCLA women’s golf starts out its spring season at Palos Verdes Golf Club for the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge on Sunday. In 2018, the Bruins took first place at the tournament, finishing with a 15-over 867 to beat No.15 Alabama by four strokes. Vu earned first place, shooting a 1-under 212, and then-junior Beth Wu came in fifth place with a 2-over 215.
Tavatanakit said she expects the course at the Palos Verdes Golf Club to be difficult.
“The greens are definitely a challenge,” Tavatanakit said. “It’s a beautiful course, but the slopes are high and I know it’s going to be tough. But it will contest where our game is at. Wind can also be a challenge (in terms of our performance).”
The Bruins will be playing in the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge at the Palos Verdes Golf Club from Sunday to Tuesday.
Track and field
Peter Frederick, Daily Bruin contributor
The Bruins are at the halfway point of their indoor season.
UCLA track and field will send five athletes: redshirt sophomore thrower Nate Esparza and the pole vaulting team of freshman Sondre Guttormsen, sophomore Tate Curran, senior Melissa Maneatis and redshirt senior Elleyse Garrett to compete in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Friday and Saturday.
“I’m really excited to see how the pole vaulters do this weekend,” said senior thrower Justin Stafford. “(Guttormsen’s) performance was crazy; it was a lot of fun to watch.”
Guttormsen established a UCLA school record, a Dr. Sander Columbia Challenge meet record and a Norwegian national record in his Bruin debut with a 5.71-meter mark. Sophomore thrower Alyssa Wilson also said she was looking forward to Guttormsen following up his debut performance.
Curran finished third in the men’s pole vault with a jump of 5.10 meters, while Garrett finished second in the women’s pole vault with a jump of 4.20 meters and Maneatis finished 20th with a mark of 3.15 meters.
Esparza is returning to competition after sitting out last week’s Columbia Challenge. In Esparza’s last appearance at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Collegiate Invitational, also in Albuquerque, he finished third in the men’s shot put.
Swim and dive
Claire Britton, Daily Bruin contributor
Rain or shine, the undefeated Bruins will race.
No. 20 UCLA swim and dive (8-0, 4-0 Pac-12) will travel up north Friday to face No. 3 Stanford (4-0, 4-0), followed by No. 4 California (5-1, 4-0) on Saturday.
Before Stanford’s meet against Arizona (3-4, 2-4) and Arizona State (2-5, 2-4) , the Cardinal had not raced since November because of wildfires.
“There’s no weakness with Stanford, they’re so deep,” said coach Cyndi Gallagher. “We’re racing against the best, but we just have to stay in our own lane.”
Stanford beat Arizona 195-99 and Arizona State by a score of 198-96. Cal also beat both teams over the weekend.
“We’re preparing for the end of the season,” Gallagher said. “Not really Stanford or Cal, we have less than 30 days left in the season.”
Gallagher said the team has been working hard these past couple of weeks, as it has been the entirety of the season.
“This team works very intentionally,” Gallagher said. “They are really into making changes as a team and individually.”
Going into these meets, Gallagher noted everyone has been performing well and they have been focusing a lot on their relays.
“It’s all about earning our point in the meet,” Gallagher said.
The Bruins will face the Cardinal and Golden Bears on Friday at the Avery Aquatic Center and Saturday at the Spieker Aquatics Complex, respectively.