Watkins Wins High Jump Pac-10 Title With Season-Best Jump

May 13, 2006


Youth reigned supreme for the No. 10 UCLA track and field team as the Bruins saw their first Pac-10 title come for a first-time competitor, freshman Rhonda Watkins, on day one of the Pac-10 Track & Field Championships. The Bruins finish day one in fourth-place (38.00 pts.), while Arizona State leads with 82.50 points

Freshman Rhonda Watkins won her first Pac-10 title as a Bruin, winning the high jump on a jump-off with ASU's Jackie Johnson (the 2006 Pac-10 heptathlon/2004 high jump champion). Watkins won the title on a clearance of 5-11.25, a season-best mark for the first-time championship competitor, and she now moves into the collegiate top-15 (13th-best mark).It also moves her into a tie for 8th-place on the all-time Bruin chart.

Watkins becomes the third Bruin in conference history to win the women's high jump - joining Darnesha Griffith (2000) and U.S. great Amy Acuff, who won the event four consecutive seasons (1994-97).

'I felt comfortable coming into the meet,' said Watkins, who entered the Pac-10 Championships tied for the league's top mark at 5-10.75. 'The jump-off was intense. I knew I had to clear it. There are some anxious moments out there. It comes down to the last jump.'

The Bruins also saw more all-conference honors in the high jump as senior Caroline Sommers and freshman Lauren Correa tied for third with a mark of 5-8.75. Sophomore Allison Miller placed 13th (5-7), while sophomore Kathleen Mahony was 19th (5-3). In all, UCLA picked up 21 team points in the high jump.

Sophomore Renee Williams earned all-conference honors in the long jump, leaping to a season-best and regional qualifying mark of 20-9.25 for second-place. Watkins also earned all-conference accolades in the long jump, finishing third with a season-best and regional qualifying mark of 20-7.25, capping off an impressive first Pac-10 Championship competition for the freshman. Watkins' mark also moves her to ninth all-time at UCLA.

In the steeplechase final, freshman Ciara Viehweg finished seventh (10:43.54, two team points) in the 3000m steeplechase and senior Leslie Barrie placed ninth (10:52.64).

Freshman Nicole Leach posted the fastest 400m time of the day, running a season-best 52.22 to advance to Sunday's final. Her time was just .03 off of her lifetime-best of 52.19. Freshman Chanelle Curry finished 14th overall (7th in heat two), running 56.92. Leach also posted the second-fastest time of all three heats in the 400m hurdles, running 58.84 to automatically advance to the final on Sunday.

MacKenzie Hill also automatically qualified for Sunday's 400m hurdle final as she won heat two in a season-best time of 59.76 (3rd overall). Sophomore DeShanta Harris also will run on Sunday after running a season-best 1:01.94 for the sixth-fastest time (2nd in heat one). Curry placed 11th overall, running a lifetime-best 1:02.66 and does not advance to the finals.

Junior Ashley Caldwell had double-duty on Saturday in the 800m and 1500m, but advanced to the finals in both events. In the 800m, Caldwell ran a season-best time of 2:09.98, finishing seventh overall and fifth in heat two. In the 1500m, the junior finished third in heat two and fifth overall with a time of 4:28.18. Junior Jenna Timinsky also advanced to the 1500m final, running a season-best 4:30.48. Timinsky finished fifth in heat one and had the 10th-fastest mark on the day.

Senior Dawn Harper advanced to the final in the 100m hurdles after posting the fourth-fastest time of the day (13.38, 2nd in heat two). Sophomore Georgea Richards placed 13th in a time of 14.49 and will not advance to the finals.

Sophomore Jolanda Diego just missed a lifetime-best in the 100m, running a season-best and regional qualifying time of 11.57 to advance to Sunday's final (3rd in heat 1, 7th overall). Diego also automatically moves onto the 200m final after running 23.53 in the prelims (2nd in heat one, 4th overall). Freshman Krystin Lacy finished fifth in heat two of the 200m and 12th overall, running 24.35

Junior Kamaiya Warren had a rough day in the shot put, but still managed to score a point for UCLA as she finished eighth overall with a toss of 47-5.75. She will compete in the discus on Sunday.

In the javelin, freshman Hillary Werth finished 11th with a mark of 132-9, while junior Sarah Ingram was 14th with a mark of 123-0.

In the final event of the day, the 10,000m, sophomore Claire Rethmeier finished 15th overall, running 37:32.29.

The 4x100m relay team of Diego, Leach, Curry and Lacy also advanced to the finals on Sunday, running 45.36 for the third-fastest time on the day.

Team Standings after day one:
1. ASU 82.50; 2. Oregon, 50.00; 3. Stanford, 40.00; 4. UCLA, 38.00; 5. California, 18.50; 6. Washington State, 14.00; 7. Arizona, 10.00; 8. Washington, 8.00; 8. USC, 8.00; 10. Oregon State, 4.00.

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