Bruin Jumpers Lead The Way For Women's Team At RJ/JJK Invite

April 12, 2008


The Bruin women's track and field team should get some national notice after some very strong performances at the Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner Kersee Invitational on Saturday as several athletes posted top national marks. The jumpers led the way as Tori Anthony, Rhonda Watkins and Renee Williams posted wins in their respective events with some very impressive marks.

Anthony posted the No. 1 mark in the NCAA this season with her clearance of 13-9.75 in the invite pole vault. She was the top collegiate finisher and third overall for the competition. Junior Katy Viuf finished fourth with her lifetime-best and improved regional qualifying jump of 13-1.75, while senior Ingrid Kantola was sixth with a clearance of 12-8. Sophomore Tori Pena posted a season-best and regional qualifying mark of 12-8 to tie for seventh overall. Former Bruin Chelsea Johnson won the event with a U.S. leading clearance of 14-9.

Rhonda Watkins, the reigning NCAA outdoor long jump champion, posted a wind-legal NCAA leading jump of 21-3.50 to win the invite section.

Senior Renee Williams started off her big day with a second-place showing in the long jump. Her season-best mark of 20-7.75 ranks amongst the top-15 in the nation this season. Williams had a huge day in the triple jump as she posted a monster lifetime-best jump of 44-3.25 to win the event. Her previous best was (42-10.75) and moved her to No. 2 in the U.S. this season and third all-time at UCLA. Senior Nicole Duhart who was competing in her first meet this season, achieved the regional mark in the triple jump with her third-place finish in that event (41-2.50).

Sophomore Danielle Watson also had a big day as she posted a lifetime-best in the long jump with her fourth-place mark of 20-3.50. That mark will move her into the top-15 in the country as well.

The sprinters also had some fine performances on Saturday as the 4x400m relay team of Chanelle Curry, Krystin Lacy, Ashlea McLaughlin and Nicole Leach placed third with a top-15 national time of 3:36.31. That time was also a season-best and improved regional qualifier for the Bruins.

The 4x100m relay team of Leach, Lacy, Lindsay Rowe and Jolanda Diego placed third with a season-best and regional qualifying run of 45.53.

Diego picked up two regional qualifiers on Saturday with her seventh-place run in the 100m (11.69) and 200m (23.69). Lacy also picked up a regional qualifier as she equaled her lifetime-best in the 400m (54.30) to place eighth overall in that event.

The Bruins will next head to the Mt. SAC Relays, while a few athletes will compete at the Cerritos Invitational next weekend.

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