USC/UCLA Dual Meet Press Conference Quotes

April 26, 2005

'There is not a single event on Friday or Saturday that is not crucial to the outcome of this meet,' said USC coach Ron Allice at the USC/UCLA press conference at Heritage Hall on Tuesday (April 26). 'With scholarship limitations and trying to keep athletes healthy, it's very difficult to put together great dual meets anymore. This meet is different. One of the greatest duals in all of sports, the USC/UCLA meet's rich tradition of competition makes it one of the most special rivalries out there.'

Coaches and top athletes from both teams shared their dual meet experiences and explained to attendees what the dual meet means to them.

Jeanette Bolden, UCLA women's head coach:'This is by far the best and biggest track meet of the year. Having grown up in Compton, I was always aware of the storied rivalry. But it wasn't until I became the head coach that I realized the importance of this deep rivalry... When you wake up Saturday, it all comes down to who's going to put their shoes on and compete. I look forward to another great competition.'

Art Venegas, UCLA men's head coach:'I'm very happy with our progress this season and to watch the Trojans develop into such a solid team. This weekend, there are some events full of top athletes on both sides. Both schools have balanced teams and this is definitely going to be a good match-up. As a fan, I am excited to watch this meet!'

Jesse Williams, USC high jump:'I'm from North Carolina and I had no idea what the dual meet was all about. I didn't have any expectations going into the dual meet last year. After competing, I realized how special this meet is. This year, we've trained really hard and are excited to compete on Saturday.'

Adam Midles, USC hammer:'The dual is where spontaneous performances are brought out and that's why I'm going to run the 5000m on Saturday. Before coming to SC, I had no idea what the dual meet was all about. It's intense...we hold the hammer close to our hearts at USC.'

William Denbo, USC shot put:'The dual meet was my fondest memory of last year. It puts you in a zone and it's so special to be a part of the action.'

Anthony Heckman, USC 800m:'This year's 800m competition is one of the deepest in dual history. Last year's loss was very upsetting. I want to do something positive on Saturday.'

Martell Munguia, UCLA 800m, 1500m:'I'm excited for the dual meet. The perfect race to me is everyone going other there and giving their all. Then, we all cross the finish line, shake hands, and know we all gave it 100% and were competitive. No one remembers the records but they do remember the wins. That's what I love about the dual meet.'

Jake Knight, UCLA shot put and hammer:'As far as I'm concerned, this meet is when the season starts.'

Jon Rankin, UCLA 800m, 1500m:'It's unfortunate that track and field isn't popular in America because this meet epitomizes what is so special about track and field. The dual meet is neat because you never know what's going to happen. I can't wait for Saturday.'

John Caulfield, UCLA shot put and discus:'Being at the dual meet, there's something you feel that you don't feel anywhere else. Even though I was unable to compete last year, I felt it. I'm excited to compete on Saturday.'

Virginia Powell, USC 100m HH:'This is my third dual meet without a team victory and I'm hoping Saturday we can pull it together and win. I have faith that our ladies will come out to compete. Our team has such good chemistry this season and the dual meet is the best time to strengthen our team unity. It's really the only time we can sit back and enjoy a meet before crunch time.'

Treani Swain, USC 800m:'I have improved a lot this season not only because of Coach Walsh--who I believe is one of the greatest distance coaches in the nation--but also because the attitude on the women's side is so much better than in the past. Ginny Powell's leadership has brought the group together and motivated us to continually improve. We want to go out there and compete this weekend.'

Leslie Erickson, USC javelin:'I've experienced a lot of highs and a lot of lows over the past five dual meets. The dual meet brings out something special in all of us. And remember, the meet starts on Friday (women's and men's hammer competition at West LA College, 3:00p.m.).'

Jessica Cosby, UCLA hammer and shot put:'This is my last dual meet and I'm really looking forward to it. All this just hypes me up, I can't wait to compete.'

Monique Henderson, UCLA sprints:'I enjoy this meet every year. People on both teams always step up so it is fun to see who will step up this year. Hopefully, it's UCLA.'

Two former Trojan Olympians were also featured at the conference.

Mark Crear, 1st on USC all-time best list in 110m HH:'Things have changed - we never sat in a room with UCLA in my era...This meet is more than just a dual meet, it's the time to take off your sweats, dig deep inside yourself and give it all you've got to make yourself, your family and your school proud.'

Felix Sanchez, 1st on USC all-time best list in 400m IH:'I competed in three dual meets but this is actually my first press conference. I used to be a big talker and Coach was scared I'd say something to get everyone mad. But at the dual meet, we gave it all we had to beat the Bruins and that's the epitome of this event. Everyone gives their all. It's all about who can handle the pressure and excel. That's what makes this meet so special.'

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