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            Thursday, February 27

            Track and field teams claim top-five places in MPSF Indoor Championships


            Sophomore distance runner Riley Kelly was a part of the men's distance medley relay team that won its event at the MPSF Indoor Championships this weekend. (Daily Bruin file photo)


            The Bruins entered the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Indoor Championships in Seattle this weekend with a number of athletes poised to individually qualify for nationals.

            While the results are still out on whose indoor season will continue, the Bruins posted standout performances across the board, including four first-place finishes. UCLA placed fourth among men’s teams and fifth among women’s teams at the meet.

            Most prominently, senior pentathlete Kendall Gustafson improved her school-record mark in the women’s pentathlon, totaling 4,084 points to secure the victory for the Bruins. The new mark beat her previous record by 19 points.

            Sophomore jumper Isaiah Holmes had his most successful meet of the season, winning the men’s long jump Friday and placing second in the men’s high jump on Saturday to grab 17 total points for UCLA. His high jump mark of 7 feet 1 inch was a personal indoor best, and earned him third in school indoor history.

            However, according to Holmes, neither mark will be enough to place him in the national meet.

            “It wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I was really looking to qualify for nationals,” Holmes said. “Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. But I was still able to come out with the win, which is awesome for the team.”

            The Bruins saw another victory in the women’s triple jump, where senior Jessie Maduka jumped 43 feet 6 inches to win the competition.

            In the women’s pole vault, senior Elleyse Garrett cleared 13 feet 1.5 inches, finishing fourth overall.

            For throwers, junior Justin Stafford took second place with a personal best mark of 65 feet 7.75 inches in the men’s weight throw, while freshman Alyssa Wilson’s mark of 62 feet 2.25 inches was a personal best and good for seventh overall in the women’s competition.

            Wilson also finished fourth in the women’s shot put with a throw of 55 feet 1 inches, tying senior thrower Ashlie Blake, who took third.

            On the track, the men’s distance medley relay team of senior Scott Snow, redshirt senior Darnell Roberson, sophomore Riley Kelly and sophomore Carter Blunt put together its fastest time of the season, winning the competition in 9:46.57.

            According to Blunt, the team wanted to win for Roberson, given that it was potentially his last collegiate indoor race.

            “Everyone ran perfectly,” Blunt said. “It was just a great race. I’ve got nothing to complain about.”

            Blunt also ran the men’s mile, where he placed seventh with a time of 4:05.83.

            After running the 800-meter leg for the distance medley rally the day before, Kelly competed in the men’s 800-meter Saturday. He had one of the most impressive performances of the weekend, finishing second overall with a personal best time of 1:50.69.

            “He’s a very determined kid. Honestly, I’m surprised he didn’t win it,” Blunt said of Kelly.

            Meanwhile, junior sprinter Meleni Rodney had an historic day on the track. She moved to third all-time in school history in the 400-meter, finishing fourth overall with a time of 53.80 seconds.

            In total, UCLA tallied 62 points on the men’s side and 55 points on the women’s side. In comparison, USC took home both titles with more than 100 points in each.

            Although the Bruins are still far from reaching the same level as their crosstown rival, Blunt looks back on the indoor season as a big stepping stone.

            “When outdoor track begins, I think we’re going to go a lot farther than we did last year,” Blunt said.

            Sports staff

            Kenney is currently a Sports staff writer on the softball beat. He was previously a contributor on the baseball, men's soccer, women's soccer, track and field and cross country beats.


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