No. 18 Men's Track & Field Set to Defend MPSF Indoor Title

Feb. 22, 2006

The No. 18 UCLA men's track and field team will travel to Seattle, WA February 24-25 for the MPSF Indoor Championships as the Bruins look to win their fifth consecutive conference crown. The Bruins have several athletes ranked in the top-five in their respective events as UCLA will vie for not only the team title, but several individual crowns as well.

Leading the way in the sprints are Craig Everhart and the 4x400m relay team. Everhart holds the No. 1 400m time in the MPSF (46.65, NCAA Provisional) and is one of the top quarter-milers in the country. The 4x400m relay team of Everhart, Elijah Wells, James Rhoades and Brandon Johnson are also ranked No.1 (3:06.48, NCAA Provisional) after having broken the school record two weeks ago at the Iowa Classic. Their time also ranks amongst the best in the country. Johnson will also compete in the 60m this weekend, and currently holds the third-fastest time in the conference (6.82). Wells will also compete in the 400m, an event in which he ranks fifth in the conference, with a time of 47.68.

In the distance events, Erik Emilsson and Austin Ramos lead the way as both have qualified for the NCAA Championships. Emilsson ranks second in the MPSF in the 800m (1:50.41) and sixth in the mile (4:03.76, NCAA Provisional), while Ramos holds the second-fastest time in the 5000m (13:58.66, NCAA Provisional).

In the throwing events, John Caulfield leads the way with the No. 2 mark in the conference in the shot put (62-5, NCAA Provisional). Fellow thrower Jeremy Silverman will not make the trip to Seattle as he is still recovering from a high ankle sprain. Jake Knight, who threw a provisional qualifier two weeks ago in Iowa, will also compete in the shot put (60-1). He currently holds the fourth-farthest throw in the conference. Boldizsar Kocsor, Andrew Ninow and Knight will also compete in the weight throw for the first time this season.

In the jumping events, the Bruins are led by Demetre Howard, Dominique Easterling, Michael Johnson, Jr. and Mike Landers. Howard ranks second in the conference in the long jump (23-10.75), while Easterling (50-2) and Johnson (50-0.75) rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in the triple jump. In the pole vault, Landers (17-1) leads a trio of vaulters into competition, and is poised for a big vault in Seattle after some very impressive practices. David Murphy, a provisional qualifier (17-1) is not competing due to an arm injury.

Currently, the Bruins have qualified seven individuals and one relay for the NCAA Indoor Championships, hosted by Arkansas March 9-10. All of UCLA's marks are provisional qualifiers, but their times and marks rank high enough to almost insure a trip to the National meet. This weekend, UCLA will look to improve on those qualifiers, and hopefully, pick up some automatic marks as well.

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