UCLA's women's track and field team begins its quest for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championship today in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The NCAA meet will take place from May 29 –June 1, and the Bruins are the favorites coming into the event.
Fifteen UCLA women have qualified to participate in the meet. Last year the Bruins finished second to USC in Eugene, Oregon. The Bruins have finished second four times (1995, 1998, 1999 and 2001) under head coach Jeanette Bolden. UCLA has won two NCAA outdoor track and field championships in 1982 and 1983.
This year's squad of UCLA championship qualifiers is dominated by freshmen (4) and sophomores (6).
The UCLA women will have 15 competitors, including three event leaders (junior Tiffany Burgess, 800m; sophomore Lena Nilsson, 1500m; senior Tracy O'Hara, pole vault) and three other Bruin women who are No. 2 in their respective events (freshman Monique Henderson, 400m; 2002 NCAA Indoor champion senior Darnesha Griffith, high jump; junior Chaniqua Ross, discus).
The UCLA women competing are - freshman Monique Henderson (400m, No. 2, 51.33; 4 X 400m relay, No. 5, 3:31.97); sophomore Aida McKinnon (400m, No. 17, 52.86; 4 X 400m relay); junior Tiffany Burgess (800m, No. 1, 2:03.73); sophomore Lena Nilsson (1500m, No. 1, 4:14.11), sophomore Sheena Johnson (100m hurdles, No. 14, 13.39; 400m hurdles, No. 3, 56.56; 4 X 400m relay); senior Bunmi Ogunleye (4 X 400m relay; long jump, No. 21, 20-6 1/2); sophomore Nicole Gaskins (4 X 400m relay alternate); senior Darnesha Griffith (high jump, No. 2, 6-0 3/4); senior Tracy O'Hara (pole vault, No. 1, 14-3 1/4), freshman Candice Bauchman (triple jump, No. 16, 42-7 1/2); freshman Jessica Cosby (shot put, No. 10, 54-10; hammer throw, No. 14, 195-4); freshman Briona Reynolds (shot put, No. 13, 54-2; discus, No. 17, 174-2); junior Chaniqua Ross (discus, No. 2, 184-9); sophomore Lara Saye (discus, No. 5, 180-3) and sophomore Cari Soong (hammer throw, No. 3, 209-10).
Going into the NCAA Championship Meet, UCLA is ranked No. 1 by Trackwire. The Trackwire methodology takes into account a variety of statistical predictors and is intended to project the outcome of the 2002 NCAA Championships. Here are the top five women's teams from this season's final Trackwire poll of May 24.