Nico Edgar, Daily Bruin contributor
The Bruins will look to secure a chance to play against the nations’ elite.
No. 10 UCLA men’s tennis will welcome San Diego State to the Los Angeles Tennis Center on Saturday for the ITA Kick-Off weekend. With a victory on Saturday, UCLA will face the winner of the match between Central Florida and No. 24 San Diego on Sunday.
With two consecutive wins this weekend, the Bruins will qualify for a spot in the ITA Division I National Men’s Team Indoor Championship held in February in Madison, Wisconsin. Last year, the Indoors featured 16 teams all ranked in the top 25 – with then-No. 3 Wake Forest and then-No. 2 Mississippi State in UCLA’s half of the draw.
Coach Billy Martin said claiming a spot in this tournament would allow for the team to measure itself against the other top teams in the nation.
“A lot of these teams, like Virginia, Florida and Texas we won’t get to see for the whole year until the NCAA championships in May,” Martin said. “So competing against them early in the season is very important to us.”
Martin said the lineup tasked with achieving this goal won’t feature any changes from the home-opener against Brigham Young University.
Junior Keegan Smith will hold down the No. 1 singles and doubles spot, coming off a finals appearance in doubles at the Sherwood Collegiate Cup over the weekend. He will likely face off against SDSU’s Fabian Roensdorf.
His doubles partner, sophomore Govind Nanda, will play No. 2 singles and will likely be pitted against the Aztecs’ Jan Kirchhoff, who tallied a 5-9 dual match record in singles last year.
Despite having won 13 straight matches against the Aztecs, Martin said he doesn’t want to overlook the Bruins’ first opponent of the weekend.
“We definitely need to focus on SDSU,” Martin said. “We have to keep our composure in the SDSU match before we start thinking about Sunday.”
Matches will begin at the LATC on Jan. 25 at 12 p.m.
Daniel Lieber, Daily Bruin contributor
The winter hiatus for women’s golf is over, and with the new year come a few new faces to the starting lineup.
No. 19 UCLA women’s golf will travel to Gold Canyon, Arizona, this weekend to participate in the Tri-Match in the desert against Arizona State and Denver.
The Bruins will enter this weekend with two changes in the starting lineup since their second-place finish at the Nanea Pac-12 Preview on Nov., 6 2019.
Coach Carrie Forsyth said the match will be a warmup to get players back in the mindset of competing coming off the break.
“This event is really about feedback,” Forsyth said. “We are going to see what things we need to work on and build on before we get ready for our first actual big event which is going to be the Regional Challenge.”
Freshmen Annabel Wilson and Emma Spitz, along with senior Clare Legaspi, will remain in the lineup looking to build off their respective performances back in November. New additions to the starting lineup are freshmen Emilie Paltrinieri and Yuki Yoshihara, both of whom have not been featured in the lineup since the Stanford Intercollegiate on Oct. 13, 2019. They will have a chance to represent the Bruins and showcase their ability in the first event of 2020.
Senior Mariel Galdiano and sophomore Phoebe Yue will also take to the green this weekend, competing as individuals.
UCLA will begin play at the Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club on Sunday.
Track and field
Joe Ceccarelli, Daily Bruin contributor
The Bruins are headed to the Big Apple.
UCLA track and field will travel to New York City to compete at the Dr. Sander Invitational Columbia Challenge on Friday and Saturday.
Aside from one 800-meter runner from the University of Washington, UCLA will not face any of its Pac-12 or NCAA West Region rivals. Instead, the Bruins will have the opportunity to compete against Ivy League schools.
The Bruins have added depth to their women’s sprint squad this season. Last week, UCLA took first and third in the women’s 4x400m relay.
Sophomore sprinter Kyrah Johnson said the sprint team’s depth will be an advantage heading into outdoor season.
“I definitely think it was nice seeing how great the team has become within the last year,” said Johnson. “We’re expecting to run some great times to set us up for outdoors.”
Junior thrower Alyssa Wilson will be UCLA’s only women’s thrower in this weekend’s competition. She currently holds the second-best shot put mark in the nation and is 14th in the weight throw.
Senior sprinter/jumper Harrison Schrage finished second in the long jump at last week’s UW Preview. He will compete alongside two teammates – junior Matthew DeRoos and sophomore Alex Enos— in New York this weekend.
After the men’s cross country team missed out on advancing to the national meet in November 2019, senior distance runner Arturo Sotomayor said he and his teammates would like to prove that their finish at the West Regional meet is not representative of the team’s ability.
“It’d be nice to make a national championship,” Sotomayor said. “I just want to do my part and help the team out. Stay healthy and score some points at the national championships if possible.”
Friday’s competition will commence at 7:30 a.m. and Saturday’s events will begin at 6:30 a.m.
Donovon Barnes, Daily Bruin contributor
A trip to one of the biggest tournaments of the season is on the line for the Bruins this weekend.
No. 4 UCLA women’s tennis has a chance to continue its winning ways as it plays host in a dual-match against Minnesota on Friday before playing either Gonzaga or Loyola Marymount the following day in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. Winners will see action Saturday, when a champion will be crowned and awarded a spot to go to the ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championship in Chicago starting Feb. 7.
The Bruins will resume play after a successful trip in Nassau, Bahamas, in which they walked away winners of the Pink Flamingo Cup. While at the invitational tournament, UCLA won 21 of its 28 total matches on the weekend.
Coach Stella Sampras Webster said she is excited for this upcoming weekend, but that some of the younger players may get the jitters due to high stakes.
“I’m sure there are going to be some nerves, especially with some of our freshmen,” Sampras Webster said. “Many of our freshmen are used to playing in big stages and games before, so I’m sure there will be some nerves, but I know they have been waiting for this opportunity for about two years now … so they’re just looking forward to just enjoy this process.”