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Weekend in Preview: Feb. 1

UCLA women’s golf senior Kate Villegas watches the fairway. (Courtesy of Ross Turteltaub/UCLA Athletics)

By Sabrina Baker and Sam Schuette

Feb. 1, 2024 2:40 p.m.

This post was updated Feb. 1 at 11:35 p.m.

Women’s golf
Sabrina Baker, Daily Bruin staff

The Bruins will stay close to home for their upcoming tournament.

No. 4 UCLA women’s golf will compete in the Therese Hession Regional Challenge from Sunday through Tuesday at the Palos Verdes Golf Club, facing a 16-team field. Its competitors include Pac-12 foes No. 5 Southern California, No. 7 Oregon, No. 24 Arizona State and Arizona.

The Bruins’ lineup will consist of redshirt junior Alessia Nobilio, senior Kate Villegas and juniors Caroline Canales, Tiffany Le and Natalie Vo. Junior Zoe Antoinette Campos will compete as an individual.

Villegas said the team’s depth encourages players to perform their best to get into the lineup.

“It’s honestly making us all better,” Villegas said. “Prepping for these qualifiers is almost just as hard as the tournaments.”

Although the team played in the tournament last year, only Canales and Nobilio are in the team lineup two years in a row.

Ahead of the competition, Villegas said the team has received tips from former UCLA players.

“Our coaches reached out to previous players on the team, like Lilia Vu, who’s number one in the world,” Villegas said. “She gave us a few words of wisdom about the course, which is definitely going to be really helpful.”

Since Villegas is a transfer student from UC Riverside, this will be her first year competing in this tournament.

She said she is going into her Bruin debut at Palos Verdes with some personal goals.

“Just to stay confident and committed to every shot,” Villegas said. “And just to believe in myself throughout the whole tournament.”

The Bruins will tee off Sunday.

(Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)
Sophomore Ashley Kolessar pushes her arms forward through the air in preparation for her next butterfly stroke. (Nicolas Greamo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

Swim and dive
Sabrina Baker, Daily Bruin staff

The Bruins will look to defeat two top-five teams this weekend.

UCLA swim and dive (5-1, 3-1 Pac-12) will compete in two conference dual meets against No. 4 Stanford (5-0, 3-0) and No. 5 California (5-0, 3-0) at Spieker Aquatics Center on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Sophomore swimmer Ashley Kolessar said the team has done a lot of races in practice to emulate the meet environment and to prepare for the meet.

“That will prep us towards end-of-season competitions and races,” Kolessar said. “That’s been very helpful – just practicing how you are going to race your race.”

The Bruins have a 3-38 all-time record against the Cardinal and a 9-32 record against the Bears. Last season’s contests saw UCLA fall by 60 points to Stanford and by 38 points to Cal.

Kolessar said she wants to capitalize on the deep competition that these two teams provide.

“You try to take advantage of racing these fast people and people who had known names,” Kolessar said. “You get to learn things from it, so I feel like it’s pretty cool.”

This will be the second time this season that the Bruins have had back-to-back dual meets. Earlier in the season, they traveled to face Arizona and Arizona State. UCLA walked away from those back-to-back meets with one loss and one win.

Kolessar said she uses all the resources that UCLA athletics offers her to stay rested and recovered between meets.

“Getting soft tissue (massage), if anything is bothering me, through our personal trainers,” Kolessar said. “Either doing an ice bath that is open to us in Acosta or even doing the Normatec – just using recovery gear to reset.”

The Bruins will dive into action against the Cardinal at 2 p.m. on Friday.

Senior Antonie Nortje runs on the track.
Senior Antonie Nortje runs on the track. (Daily Bruin file photo)

Track and field
Sam Schuette, Daily Bruin contributor

The Bruins will reunite following their previous weekend over 1,000 miles apart.

After it split up last weekend to send groups to both Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Seattle, Washington, UCLA track and field will travel to College Station, Texas, to compete at the Texas A&M Invitational on Saturday.

The meet, set to take place at the Fasken Indoor Track & Field facility, marks UCLA’s fourth meet of the indoor season since the opening campaign at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Invitational on Jan. 20. It’s also the Bruins’ longest trip away from campus so far this year. The team will compete in several events, from the pole vault and the long jump on the field to the 60-meter and 3,000-meter races on the track.

The Bruins are fresh off a strong performance in their two split-squad meets last weekend. They totaled 20 top-10 finishes and nine top-three podium finishes across all competitions.

Among those podium performances, both the men’s and women’s 4×400 meter relay teams claimed victory in Seattle, earning a clean sweep in the event. The men’s team consisted of senior Antonie Nortje, freshman Gabriel Clement II and graduate students Cameron Reynolds and Ismail Turner with a time of 3:07.53. On the women’s side, junior Aly Conyers, senior Kate Jendrezak and sophomores Kaylen Fletcher and Naomi Johnson took home the top spot with a 3:36.80 clip.

Those relay squads will have a chance to earn first place for the second straight weekend, as the 4×400 meter relay is the lone relay event in College Station.

 

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Sabrina Baker | Sports contributor
Baker is currently a Sports contributor on the swim & dive beat.
Baker is currently a Sports contributor on the swim & dive beat.
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