UCLA Athletes Shine at USA Junior T & F Meet
June 18, 2001
UCLA freshman Jessica Cosby became the first woman in U. S. Juniormeet history to win both the hammer throw and shot put, Bruinfreshman Sheena Johnson won the women's 400m hurdles for the thirdtime and UCLA freshman Jon Rankin took the men's 1500m atlast weekend's (June 16-17) 2001 USA Junior Track & Field NationalChampionships, held at Sports Backers Stadium in Richmond, VA.
Cosby, from Cleveland HS in Mission Hills, won the hammer in apersonal-best 182-10 and the shot put, with another lifetime best of 54-8 3/4. Cosby lastwinter at the 2001 NCAA Indoor earned All-American honors by placing fifthin the shot put (53-5) and helped the Bruin women win their secondconsecutive national collegiate indoor title. Cosby redshirted last springfor outdoor track. At last year's USA Junior meet, she was second in theshot put.
' Coming in, I had good practices and I was just trying to find that samegroove,' Cosby said. 'I was just trying to have fun with this. I neverexpected to win a national championship in something I just picked up thisyear (the hammer throw). I've had good practices and I've learned a lotfrom Coach (Art) Venegas.
'I started off as a shot putter and I'm always going to be a shot putter,'she said. 'This wasn't my best performance, but I'm just happy to do sowell after redshirting the outdoor season. I'm looking forward to theopportunity to compete overseas.'
Johnson, from Stafford, VA, won the women's 400m hurdles for the thirdtime, breaking her old meet record of 56.82, with a winning time of 56.24(58.39Q). As a freshman in 2001, Johnson earned two All-America honors(indoors, on the Bruin 4 X 400m relay, second leg, fifth place andoutdoors, on the Bruin 4 X 400m relay, second leg, fifth place). Johnsonwas also recently named the Pac-10 Women's T & F Newcomer of the Year (atthe 2001 Pac-10 meet, Johnson won the 400m hurdlers (personal-best 56.02),placed fourth in the 100m hurdles (13.82) and ran on both of UCLA's relays(4 X 100m, second leg, second-place and 4 X 400m relay, anchor leg, firstplace).
Rankin, from Spring Valley and Monte Vista HS, won the men's 1500m in atime of 3:51.8. As a Bruin freshman this spring, Rankin won the 1500m inthe UCLA/USC dual meet.
'This was my first big race I've run,' Rankin said. 'In the past, I'vealways fallen short in qualifying. It's nice in my first big meet to comeout with a win. I'm still shocked but very pleased.'
In all, the Bruins sent nine athletes to the 2001 USA Junior T & FChampionships. UCLA's other athletes were:
-freshman Sani Roseby: placed seventh in the 100m (11.95, 11.84Q) and100m hurdles (14.11, 13.88Q).
-freshman Nicole Gaskins: ran in the 200m (24.83w, +3.0) and 400m(57.48) but did not advance to the finals.
-freshman Denye Versher: placed seventh in the 400m (47.11, personal-best, 47.37Q).
-redshirt freshman Anthony Golston: placed seventh in the 110m hurdles(15.30, 14.40w(+2.3)Q).
-redshirt freshman Trevor Jones: placed third in the 400m hurdles(52.83, 53.77Q). Last season at this event, Jones placed fifth.
-freshman Pate Luke: no-heighted in the pole vault.
International Junior Competition
Athletes, ages, 14-19, vied for a spot on Team USA by finishing in the toptwo of each event and the top eight athletes in each event are named to theU. S. Junior All-America team.
The top two highest-placed finishers in each event will be eligible for theselection pool for competitions in Europe and Argentina. The selection ofteams will be at the sole discretion of USA T & F and its committees. Thefirst meet, a dual meet with Great Britain, is scheduled for Aug. 18 atStoke-on-Trent, England. Following that meet, the national champions inselected events will have the opportunity for an additional competition inEdinburgh, Scotland on Aug. 25. The final international competition forTeam USA junior athletes will be the 2001 Junior Pan American Games, heldthis year in Sante Fe, Argentina, Oct. 18-20. Due to the time of the yearthat this meet is being held, USA T & F will take a limited team,consisting primarily of jumpers, throwers and racewalkers.