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Track and field notches top-5 finishes in men’s and women’s MPSF championships

Junior thrower Alyssa Wilson won both the women’s weight throw and shot put at the MPSF Championships for UCLA track and field. Wilson’s victories were her ninth and tenth event wins in 2020. (Lauren Man/Daily Bruin)

By David Deng

March 1, 2020 5:57 p.m.

In their first championship meet of the season, the Bruins set multiple program records.

UCLA track and field finished in the top five for both the men’s and women’s competitions at the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships over the weekend. Competing in Seattle for the fourth time this season, the Bruins saw three records fall and three event victories.

The Bruins took an early lead in the meet Friday after junior thrower Alyssa Wilson won the weight throw, earning UCLA’s first 10 points. Wilson proceeded to also win the MPSF title in shot put Saturday.

“This was the meet I actually had fun competing (in),” Wilson said. “I felt like there was a lot of pressure on me in the other meets. This meet, I felt more relaxed knowing that I already qualified for NCAAs for both events, so I kind of just went out there and had fun.”

In the women’s 4×400 relay, a quartet of sprinters – freshman Makenzy Pierre-Webster, freshman Catherine Leger, junior Shae Anderson and senior Meleni Rodney – crossed the finish line at 3:30.28, breaking both the UCLA indoor and Dempsey Indoor facility records for that event.

The other first-place finisher for the Bruins was junior distance runner Christina Rice, who set a program record in the 5000 meters with a time of 16:12.16, besting her previous indoor record by more than four seconds.

Other top performances on the women’s team include a third-place pentathlon finish from junior multievent athlete Isa Videler and fifth and sixth place from freshman sprinter Chinyere Okoro in the 200-meter and 60-meter races, respectively.

Overall, the women’s team finished tied for fifth place, an eight-spot improvement from last year’s 13th-place finish.

The men’s side saw a pair of second-place finishes from sophomore sprinter Kenroy Higgins II in the 60-meter dash and senior distance runner Riley Kelly in the 800-meter race. Higgins’ time of 6.59 seconds not only set a personal record but also took down an all-time UCLA indoor record in the event.

“Anyone who doubted me really missed out on a lot,” Higgins said. “Any coach who really has an eye for talent would’ve seen the talent that I had from the jump – like coach (Avery) Anderson did when he brought me back into the program.”

Kelly, competing in his fourth MPSF championships, matched his best finish of second place from two years ago and earned eight points for the Bruins.

The Bruins also had top-four finishes from senior jumper Harrison Schrage in the long jump, sophomore jumper Sean Lee in the high jump, senior multievent athlete Isaiah Holmes in the heptathlon, senior pole vaulter Michael Fancey in the pole vault and sophomore thrower Jacob Wilson in the shot put.

“Overall our team did pretty well – happy that (Higgins) got the school record, happy for (Rice),” Wilson said. “We’ve got a great group going for NCAAs, so it should be fun.”

The Bruins’ next meet will be the NCAA Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in two weeks.

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David Deng | Sports contributor
Deng is currently a Sports contributor on the track & field beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's volleyball beat.
Deng is currently a Sports contributor on the track & field beat. He was previously a contributor on the women's volleyball beat.
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