Track and field launches into top-5 finishes at New Mexico Collegiate Classic
Freshman pole vaulter Sondre Guttormsen set a new indoor school record in the pole vault, clearing 5.71 meters in his last meet. Guttormsen fell short of that mark at the New Mexico Collegiate Classic this weekend, but still claimed first. (Courtesy of UCLA Athletics)
February 3, 2019 4:01 pm
Sondre Guttormsen refuses to look back.
The freshman pole vaulter was one of five UCLA track and field athletes to compete in the New Mexico Collegiate Classic in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Three Bruin pole vaulters had top-five finishes, including Guttormsen, sophomore Tate Curran and redshirt senior Elleyse Garrett.
Pole vaulters coach Anthony Curran said Guttormsen only envisions himself atop the competition.
“(Guttormsen is) so far ahead than he was last year at this time,” Curran said. “He now only wants to be the top in the country. He’s looking at bars way above any freshman here has ever looked at.”
Guttormsen and Curran placed first and third in the collegiate division for the second consecutive meet with marks of 5.52 meters and 5.32, respectively. The two are ranked first and second in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation men’s pole vaulting rankings.
Guttormsen’s mark was seven and a half inches shorter than his record-breaking jump a week ago at the Dr. Sander Columbia Challenge in New York.
“It wasn’t as good as I was hoping for,” Guttormsen said. “But I compete every week so I can’t be that good every time. You have to have those meets where you don’t jump as high in order to have those meets you jump really high.”
Guttormsen competed in the 60-meter hurdles – his first collegiate track event – and placed sixth with a time of 8.39 seconds.
“I haven’t ran that much hurdles over the last week so it’s always kind of a struggle going into that event,” Guttormsen said. “(In order to) find a rhythm and push the times down, you need (to compete in) many races.”
Curran set a personal record with his performance after joining the UCLA pole vault unit this winter from El Camino Junior College.
“It’s been pretty crazy. I kind of just jumped right into the mix,” Curran said.“The first week here, it was like ‘Boom, you’re going to the meet next week.’ And I was like ‘Alright, let’s do it.’”
Garrett finished fourth with a height of 4.11 meters on her pole vault attempt.
Garrett’s vault was three and a half inches shorter than her finish last week and roughly six inches short of her UCLA career goal of 14 feet.
“I didn’t jump as high as I’d like to,” Garrett said. “It’s just a matter of the more I compete, the better I’ll get. One of my biggest goals that I’m closest to is making indoor nationals and also clearing the 4.30-meter bar. I definitely want to be in Birmingham.”
Redshirt sophomore Nate Esparza – the only member of the Bruins’ throwing unit to compete – notched a second-place finish in the shot put with a throw of 18.97 meters.
UCLA will remain in Albuquerque for the Don Kirby Collegiate Elite Invitational on Friday.