Nilsson Breaks School 1500m Record

July 8, 2002

Sophomore Lena Nilsson on Saturday (July 6) in Brunswick, Maine brokethe UCLA women's 1500m record, winning her race in a personal-best time of4:09.89.

Running in the New Balance Maine Distance Festival at BowdoinCollege, the third stop on the 2002 CanAm High Performance DistanceCircuit, Nilsson's winning time of 4:09.89 broke the 28-year-old school1500m mark of 4:10.3, set by the legendary Francie Larrieu (Smith) inMilan, Italy on July 1, 1974. Larrieu (Smith) was a 1998 inductee into theUSA Track & Field Hall of Fame.

Nilsson's split times were 66.5 (400m), 2:14.9 (800m) and 3:22(1200m). Her 4:09.89 also qualifies Nilsson for the upcoming EuropeanChampionships, held in Munich, Germany in August.

Nilsson, from Vallentuna, Sweden, has had an outstanding sophomorecampaign for the Bruin women. At the recently concluded 2002 NCAA Outdoor,she won the 1500m in a time of 4:12.60 (at the time, it was No. 2 in schoolhistory). At the 2002 Pac-10 meet, Nilsson became the second woman inconference meet history (USC's Grazyna Penc, 1997) to win both the 800m(2:03.88, personal-best, No. 2 in school history) and 1500m (4:20.81) andwas named the Pac-10 Women's Track & Field Athlete of the Year. At the 2002NCAA Indoor, Nilsson anchored (1600m) UCLA's winning distance medley relay(10:58.19) and earned All-America honors, placing second in the mile(4:38.88). In cross country last fall, she was a member of the UCLA women'scross country squad that qualified as a team for the NCAA Championships.

It's the second Larrieu (Smith) school record that has been brokenthis season. On May 4 at Drake Stadium, junior Tiffany Burgess set a newschool record in the 800m (2:03.73), breaking Larrieu (Smith's) mark of2:04.37 (7/18/74 in Stockholm, Sweden). Larrieu (Smith) still holds theUCLA record in the 3000m (9:03.2, 1974). Bruin distance coach Eric Petersonmentors both Burgess and Nilsson.

Jeanette Bolden's UCLA women's track and field team in 2002 set threeschool records, won the Pac-10 meet for the sixth consecutive season andplaced second at both the NCAA Outdoor and Indoor meets. The third schoolrecord was set at the NCAA Outdoor in the 4 X 400m (senior Bunmi Ogunleye,sophomore Adia McKinnon, sophomore Sheena Johnson, freshman MoniqueHenderson - in qualifying, the Bruins ran a 3:28.58, breaking the old markof 3:29.41, 1999; in the final, UCLA placed third, 3:28.79).

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