Track and field athletes see personal bests and event victories over busy weekend
Redshirt junior Shae Anderson earned the nation’s third fastest time of the year in the women’s 400-meter race with a time of 51.84, the sixth fastest time in UCLA track and field history. She also added a personal-best win in the 200-meter race. (Courtesy of James Lee/UCLA Athletics)
By Eden Yu
March 29, 2021 6:14 p.m.
The Bruins had a jam-packed weekend.
UCLA track and field sprinters and field-event athletes competed at the Jim Bush Legends Invitational at Drake Stadium on Wednesday, the Aztec Invitational in San Diego on Thursday and Friday and the Bob Larsen Track Meet on Saturday at home, while the distance runners traveled to Irvine on Thursday for the Anteater Distance Twilight.
On Wednesday at the Jim Bush Legends Invitational, the Bruins earned 13 event victories. Both the women’s and men’s teams placed second overall at the meet. Redshirt junior Alyssa Wilson claimed victories in the discus, shot put and hammer throw, and redshirt junior Jacob Wilson notched a personal best for the UCLA victory in the shot put.
At the Anteater Distance Twilight on Thursday, redshirt sophomore Jett Charvet crossed the finish line first in the men’s 800-meter race with a time of 1:55.32. Senior Paige Carter was the team’s top finisher for the women’s 1,500-meter race and came in third with a personal record time of 4:33.96.
Junior Munir Kabbara nabbed the victory in the men’s 1,500-meter race, running a personal record time of 3:49.71, while freshman Anthony Stone earned a second-place finish at 3:50.00.
Coming fresh out of the cross country season, Kabbara said that at least half of his teammates achieved personal bests in the men’s 1500-meter race.
“It was a great performance overall, not only for me, but for all of my teammates, as well,” Kabbara said. “We had a plan going into it just to get as many PRs as we could. … It was a great way to get the season started off on the right foot.”
While the distance team was in Irvine, graduate student Christina Chenault finished second in the heptathlon at the Aztec Invitational with a final score of 5,059 points.
During Saturday’s Bob Larsen Track Meet – in which the Bruins claimed 13 different event victories – redshirt junior Shae Anderson ran the nation’s third best time of the year in the women’s 400-meter race, clocking in at 51.84. Anderson’s 400-meter time is also UCLA’s sixth fastest on the all-time outdoor list, and she added a win in the women’s 200-meter race with a personal-best time of 23.32.
Anderson has not competed in an outdoor track meet since 2018 because of an injury and later COVID-19 restrictions. She described the intense training she did prior to the race.
“Normally, if you’re trying to perform well, you’ll use the week prior as an easy week so your body is fresh. I had a pretty hard training week,” Anderson said. “I just felt pretty good with my performance knowing that my body wasn’t fresh, and that when I do compete later on, that I’ll probably perform even better.”
Three sophomore sprinters notched several personal bests, as Ismail Turner ran a career-best time of 46.83 in the men’s 400-meter race, Maddy Doane earned a personal-best time of 23.88 in the 200-meter race and Catherine Leger crossed the finish for the women’s 100-meter race with a time of 11.66.
“I think they did very well, considering that we only had three or four weeks over the fall to train,” said sprints coach Curtis Allen. “A lot of people did really great on our sprint side.”
Allen also emphasized that the team had lost important fall training time because of the pandemic and was looking to peak at the end of the year.
“We just didn’t get a chance to get our training, so now we just have to rush it a little bit, … putting it on fast track, getting them prepared mentally to understand that they might not run their best times until the end of the year,” Allen said. “We’re making sure we stay healthy. A lot of these kids haven’t been in competition in two years, so we’re coming along. I think we’ll be there at the end when it counts at the Pac-12 championships.”
The Bruins will next compete at the Stanford Invitational on Saturday.