UCLA Newcomers Prepare for Collegiate Careers
LOS ANGELES – Entering competition week for the first time in 2015, the UCLA track and field team will showcase plenty of new faces. Joining a roster with a plethora of returning All-Americans will be the third ranked recruiting class on the men’s side and the seventh ranked class for the women, according to the national recruiting rankings published by Track & Field News.
The men checked in at No. 3 in the country for this freshmen class. The publication mentioned five newcomers, four of which garnered All-American accolades. Highlighting the class in the T&F News article was Long Beach native, Misana Viltz. The No. 1 ranked 110m hurdler in the nation won the 2014 California state title in a time of 13.47. He later ran a personal best 13.42 at the US Junior Nationals to qualify for the World Junior Championships.
Joining Viltz is a trio of No. 4-ranked national recruits. Sprinter Curtis Godin won California state titles in both the 100m and 200m races. His ranking came in the 200m where he blistered the track in a personal best time of 20.85. He holds the Orange County record in the 100m and has posted a personal best time of 10.36, in just his first full season in the sport.
Steele Wasik earned a No. 4 ranking in the 300m hurdles where he posted a time of 36.31. The 300m hurdles are just a glimpse of his versatility though as the Ohio native has scored 7,286 points in the junior decathlon. Wasik won the decathlon at the Pan-American Cup in Ottawa and placed fourth at the Junior Nationals. The Ohio native has broken 14 in the 110m hurdles, cleared 6-8 in the high jump and soared over 23 feet in the long jump.
A pair of throwers adds to the likes of Pac-12 shot put champion Nicholas Scarvelis and IAAF World Junior bronze medalist Braheme Days. Amir Patterson checked in as the No. 4 shot putter in the class, posting a best mark of 66-2. He has also thrown 199-11 in the discus. He placed seventh at the IAAF World Junior Championships in the shot. Dotun Ogundeji won the California state title in the shot put his senior season and has recorded personal bests of 65-5.50 in the shot put and 194-5 in the discus.
Also mentioned was Idrees Bernard (48-4.75 triple jump), Zack Bornstein (7,097 points decathlon), Scott Edwards (4:14.02 1,600m), Joe Herrera (47.25 400m), Leon Powell (10.52/10.33w 100m/20.83w 200m) and Aaron Sharp (20.97 200m).
The publication ranked the women’s recruiting class No. 7 overall. The magazine highlighted a pair of throwers in Ashlie Blake and Stamatia Scarvelis. Blake, the Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the Year for the state of Nevada, holds the fourth best indoor shot put throw all-time and won a combined six state titles in the shot and discus. Blake owns marks of 53-10.25 in the shot and 166-1 in the discus.
Scarvelis, the sister of Nicholas, rated as the top prep discus thrower and was No. 2 in the shot put. She was a three-time California state champion in the shot put and was a Junior National champion and Pan-American Games gold medalist. She has thrown 172-7in the discus and 53-9.25 in the shot.
Also mentioned was Kimani Austin-Reese (13.94 100m hurdles/41.95 300m hurdles), Katelyn Jackson (11.78 100m/23.93w 200m), Jessie Maduka from Germany (11.68 100m), Olamide Olowe (24.56 200m/54.37 400m), Pattriana Perry (13.61 100m hurdles/42.01 300m hurdles), Meghan Tucker (19-8/20-1w long jump) and Greta Wagner (13-2 pole vault/11.93 100m).
UCLA will open its 2015 indoor season at the Lumberjack Team Challenge on Saturday, Jan. 24. The meet will be held in the Skydome on the Northern Arizona campus.