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UCLA track and field claims 3rd place in final Pac-12 championships

Junior Mia Kane holds up her award. Kane had a first-place finish in the women’s 3000-meter steeplechase. (Courtesy of Audrey Allen/UCLA Athletics)

By Rahaf Abumansour

May 16, 2024 1:31 p.m.

More than half of the Bruins’ roster competed at the Pac-12 championships over the weekend.

Two of them stood above their competitors.

Led by junior Mia Kane’s first-place finish in the women’s 3000-meter steeplechase, UCLA track and field finished in third place on the women’s side and fifth place on the men’s at its final Pac-12 championships, hosted by Colorado.

Kane – who had never run the steeplechase before this year – recorded the first-ever win for UCLA in the event. She said the podium seemed like a distant dream for a newcomer to the obstacle-course-like event.

“I’ve been thinking about it for a while,” Kane said. “I’ve spent countless miles and hours running, thinking about it. So that was really special that it could play out in such a successful way.”

Kane crossed the finish line at 10:19.81, leaving her nearest competitor trailing by a margin of seven seconds. Reflecting on her victory, Kane said her triumph took her by surprise, adding that running in Colorado posed an additional hurdle.

“I didn’t have the fastest time going in,” Kane said. “So in no way did I think that it was going – like it was a given. I knew that if I wanted it, I would have to work for it, but racing at altitude is especially challenging. I knew I could do it. I believed in myself. I trusted training and trusted my coaches.”

In addition to Kane’s triumph, another Bruin made her mark as graduate student Federica Botter soared to gold on the first day, dominating the women’s javelin throw with a distance of 58.72 meters. Her performance left her closest competitor trailing behind at 51.65 meters, a gap wider than the differential between the second and 12th place finishers. Botter also claimed first place in last year’s Pac-12 championships.

Complementing these victories, the Bruins secured podium finishes in 18 events over the three-day competition.

Overall, the women came in third place with a total of 99 points and the men finished in fifth with 67 points.

As for podium finishes, both the men’s and women’s 4×400 meter relays came in second place, with both falling short by one second.

With the NCAA preliminary round looming, Kane said she’s ready for the next meet.

“The training I’ve been doing up until now has been working,” Kane said. “So it shouldn’t be too hard to lose momentum, or it shouldn’t be too hard to keep momentum.”

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