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UCLA track and field concludes regular season with loss at USC dual meet

Graduate student thrower Natalie Ramirez prepares to throw the disc. Ramirez earned first place in the women’s discus with 56.73 meters. (Courtesy of Audrey Allen/UCLA Athletics)

By Rahaf Abumansour

April 30, 2024 11:56 a.m.

The post was updated April 30 at 9:38 p.m.

A kaleidoscope of blue and red hues filled the Colich Throws Center and Loker Stadium as the rivals competed.

Yet instead of seizing the title of “We Run LA,” the Bruins were swept by their opponents.

UCLA track and field traveled across town to compete in the annual UCLA vs. USC dual meet Saturday and Sunday, where it fell short in both the men’s and women’s sides with scores of 99-60 and 85-74, respectively.

On the field side, the Bruins garnered 32 top-five finishes while setting a number of records.

Junior Jillian Stafford threw 61.47 meters in the women’s hammer to claim the ninth spot on UCLA’s Outdoor All-Time Top 10 list, place second in the event and achieve a new personal best.

In the same event on the men’s side, junior Kris Emig finished second with a 68.46-meter throw and surpassed his personal best mark set just last week at the Mt. SAC Relays, sitting in fifth on the Outdoor All-Time list.

One Bruin is slowly climbing the ranks and preparing for the Pac-12 championships. Graduate student thrower Natalie Ramirez came in first place in the women’s discus with 56.73 meters.

“I have been in this situation before where I had this pressure on me, and it was necessary to pull something big to get the points,” Ramirez said. “When the competitor before me PR’d, she was pretty close to my last PR, so I wasn’t thinking. I just wanted to execute it, and I did.”

Ramirez secured one of 14 first-place finishes attained by the Bruins over the weekend across various events. Additionally, she claimed first in the women’s shot put, repeating her victory from last year’s same meet.

Despite the win in the event, Ramirez said her discus season hasn’t been what she anticipated so far.

“If I’m being honest, my season in discus hasn’t been what I wanted it to be,” Ramirez said. “This meet gave me a lot of hope. I know it was in there – I was just struggling to find the throw itself.”

The top-five tradition also carried over to the track, where at least one Bruin secured a top-five finish in each of the 20 events.

Redshirt junior sprinter Yanla Ndjip-Nyemeck achieved first place in the women’s 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.06 seconds.

Ndjip-Nyemeck said she came into the meet with a vengeance, ready to settle the score.

“One of the girls in the race beat me last year in UCLA, so my new focus was to be in the moment and execute, and I ended up winning.” Ndjip-Nyemeck said.

The dual meet marked the final regular-season competition before UCLA returns to the Pac-12 championships in two weeks.

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