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UCLA track and field leaves New York invitational with multiple top-10 finishes

Sophomore Ashley Johnson, senior Gwyn George, freshman Mia Kane and sophomore Kate Jendrezak (left to right) pose for a photo at the Dr. Sander Invitational Columbia Challenge meet. The quartet finished fifth in the women’s distance medley relay Friday. (Courtesy of UCLA Athletics)

By Garrison Hallum

Feb. 7, 2022 4:54 p.m.

Multiple Bruins achieved career highs from across the country.

UCLA track and field competed in the Dr. Sander Invitational Columbia Challenge in New York City from Friday to Saturday, when Bruin athletes finished with multiple personal-best scores across a variety of events. In the distance medley, the UCLA women’s team posted a time of 11:29.37 on Friday to rank 10th in school history in the event.

The relay team consisted of senior Gwyn George, freshman Mia Kane and sophomores Kate Jendrezak and Ashley Johnson. George said she felt the performance was a reflection of the training she and her teammates have invested this season.

“It’s nice to know that all of the work I’ve put in thus far has been showcased into the races,” George said. “The biggest thing is how well the meet went considering how early it is in the season.”

Kane, who is competing in her first indoor collegiate season, said she was satisfied with her individual and team’s performance. The freshman also competed in the individual mile event Saturday.

“It was a really good experience to have going back-to-back events like that,” Kane said. “I was really happy with both races, and I think as a whole, our team performed really well.”

After competing indoors once last season because of COVID-19 restrictions, the weekend’s invitational marked the fourth indoor meet of the year for the Bruins. With roughly three months left in the season, Kane said the team’s early performance brings makes her optimistic for UCLA’s future this year.

“It was cool to be able to support everyone simultaneously, and I think everyone performed very well,” Kane said. “There is so much more to come, and it’s still early in the season.”

On day one of the invitational, the Bruins also competed in the 60-meter hurdles and the women’s long jump competition. Junior Liam Anderson was the team’s top performer in the 60-meter hurdles, finishing with a time of 8:31 to record a 17th overall finish.

The second day of the Dr. Sander Invitational Columbia Challenge brought multiple top-10 finishes in the distance events for UCLA. Sophomore Jake Parker took home third place in the men’s individual mile, and Kane earned a ninth-place finish in the women’s individual mile.

Coach Avery Anderson said he was pleased with the way his team performed and believes the Bruins’ underclassmen have shown great improvement in the early stages of the season.

“I really liked what a couple of our young athletes, freshmen particularly, were able to do,” Anderson said. “Mia Kane ran a really good mile, performed really well with running on her own.”

The Bruins will next have the opportunity to build off their performance next week at the Don Kirby Invitational, a two-day event in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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Garrison Hallum | Sports contributors
Hallum is currently a contributor on the track & field and swim & dive beats.
Hallum is currently a contributor on the track & field and swim & dive beats.
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