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Weekend in Preview: Feb. 8

Freshman Luke Powell carries his golf clubs on the course. (Courtesy of Ross Turteltaub/UCLA Athletics)

By Connor Dullinger, Sam Schuette, and Felicia Keller

Feb. 8, 2024 4:07 p.m.

Men’s golf
Connor Dullinger, Daily Bruin contributor

The Bruins will be heading across the Pacific Ocean.

UCLA men’s golf is traveling to Waimea, Hawaii for a three-day tournament, in which it will compete at the 33rd annual Amer Ari Invitational at the Mauna Lani Golf Course. The tournament will be a 54-hole stroke play event, and 19 different schools make up the playing field. The entire field features seven of the top 25 teams in the country.

Despite the tournament filled with formidable opponents, the Bruins are treating this match play just like any other.

“Whether I’m playing against the 20th ranked team or the 100th ranked team, it doesn’t really affect me,” freshman Luke Powell said. “I’m going to go in with my own mindset and my own game plan and try to stick to that.”

The Bruins will be trusting in their own brand of golf going into their third tournament of the spring season.

“Once you start playing better in golf, the next phase is how do you manage expectations,” coach Armen Kirakossian said. “I want them to stay hungry and know that it doesn’t matter what we have done in the past. Everyone starts out with the same score and we have to go out hard and stick to the game plan.”

Most recently, the Bruins tied for third at the Southwestern Invitational at North Ranch Country Club. They finished their performance at 9-under 843. This play gave the Bruins another top-three finish, which is their third time achieving this feat this season. UCLA had two Bruins finish in the top-10, including Powell, who tied for ninth at 5-under 208, and junior Omar Morales, who placed in eighth with a score of 6-under 207 .

“I was happy with the guys’ performance last tournament. We stuck to the game plan and we competed well and hard,” Kirakossian said. “I want to create a good game plan and strategy for how we are going to compete this week. We have to stick to our keys, and we will see how they fall.”

(Daily Bruin file photo)
UCLA women's water polo coach Adam Wright speaks to his team on the pool deck. (Daily Bruin file photo)

Women’s Water Polo
Felicia Keller, Assistant Sports editor

The Bruins will face competition at home in the first single-game weekend of the season.

No. 1 UCLA women’s water polo (8-0) will face No. 8 UC Irvine (4-4) in its own waters for the first time this season on Saturday afternoon. The Bruins will look to further their 32-0 all-time record over the Anteaters.

“It’s nice to be home. We’ve been traveling for the past three, four weeks,” coach Adam Wright said. “It’s against a really good Irvine team.”

The Bruins are one of only two undefeated ranked teams, along with No. 14 Indiana, which has faced no opponents ranked above it.

The scoring thus far this season has been paced by sophomore utility Anna Pearson with 17, and freshman utility Panni Szegedi with 13 – who earned MPSF/S&R Sport Newcomer of the Week honors for the second week in a row.

Szegedi scored seven goals at the Triton Invitational, including a hat trick in the Bruins’ first game against California Baptist.

The Bruins were 4-1 at home last season.

“We’ve got to get to a place where we’re comfortable whether we’re at home or on the road, but it’s always nice being home, for sure,” Wright said.

UCLA will return to the pool against UC Irvine at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

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

Track and field
Sam Schuette, Daily Bruin contributor

The Bruins are bound for three cities across the United States.

One week after earning seven podium finishes at the Texas A&M Charlie Thomas Invitational, UCLA track & field will split up once again across four meets this weekend. Groups will compete at the David Hemery Valentine Invitational hosted by Boston University, the Boston College Eagle Elite Invitational, the Husky Invitational hosted by the University of Washington and the Don Kirby Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

It marks the second time this indoor season that the team will split up, and the first time it will be done across four separate meets.

On the east coast, the Valentine Invitational will start at 9 a.m. on Friday and cap off late Saturday. Meanwhile, the Boston College Eagle Elite Invitational will start just three hours later across town, starting with the women’s 5000-meter race Friday, and ending with the men’s 4×400 meter relay Saturday.

The Bruins closer to home in Seattle and Albuquerque will also span competition across both Friday and Saturday competing in similar events, including the men’s 4×400 race.

Both the men and women’s teams put together strong third-place finishes in the 4×400 in Texas. They each ran top-five times in UCLA indoor track history, with the men running a 3:07.37 for fifth all-time, and the women running a 3:33.13 for fourth.

With the indoor national championships only a month away, these four meets give the Bruins yet another opportunity to prepare for the big stage.

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Connor Dullinger
Keller is a 2023-2024 assistant Sports editor on the men’s soccer, swim and dive, women’s water polo, and softball beats. She was previously a contributor on the swim and dive and women’s water polo beats and a contributor in the News and Photo sections. She is also a second-year sociology student.
Keller is a 2023-2024 assistant Sports editor on the men’s soccer, swim and dive, women’s water polo, and softball beats. She was previously a contributor on the swim and dive and women’s water polo beats and a contributor in the News and Photo sections. She is also a second-year sociology student.
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