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Bruins Return Home to Host Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational

Apr 7, 2021
Aiden Lieb (photo by James Lee)

LOS ANGELES – The Bruins return home to Drake Stadium to host the annual Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational, a two-day competition slated to begin on Thursday, April 8. Thursday's meet program will include various multi events while Friday's competition will feature a robust meet program.  
MEET INFORMATION – Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational

IN MEMORIAM – Rafer Johnson
UCLA legend Rafer Johnson passed away on Dec. 2, 2020, surrounded by his family at his home in Sherman Oaks, Calif. This week's competition marks the first Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational to be contested since Johnson's passing.
Johnson was the winner of the decathlon at the 1960 Olympic Games, narrowly defeating Bruin teammate C.K. Yang for the gold. Johnson was selected by his teammates to be Team USA's flag bearer at the 1960 Games and went on to light the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Johnson put together an incredible collegiate career at UCLA, helping to lead the Bruins to their first-ever NCAA Track & Field Championship in 1956. He also played for two seasons on the men's basketball team under Coach Wooden.
Following his retirement from athletic competition, Johnson, along with a small group of volunteers, founded Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC). In 2016, Johnson was awarded the UCLA Medal, which is the highest honor bestowed upon an individual by UCLA. It is awarded to those who have not only earned academic and professional acclaim, but whose work demonstrates the highest ideals of UCLA. Last October, UCLA renamed the track at Drake Stadium the Betsy and Rafer Johnson Track.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee is widely regarded as one of the greatest athletes of all time. A decorated Olympian, she is a two-time gold medalist in the heptathlon and own six Olympic medals across her career. She also won a pair of World Championship titles in both the long jump and heptathlon. Joyner-Kersee helped lead the Bruin women to national titles in 1982 and 1983, competing in five total events across the championship meets. She was also the individual champion in the heptathlon in 1982 and 1983. Joyner-Kersee was a two-sport athlete at UCLA, as she also competed for the Bruins' women's basketball team from 1980-83 and 1984-85. She is a member of the UCLA and USATF Halls of Fame and was named the Greatest Female Athlete of All-Time by Sports Illustrated.

  • Four Bruin women have ducked under the 24-second barrier in the 200m this year: Shae Anderson (23.32), Makenzy Pierre-Webster (23.80), Catherine Leger (23.85), Maddy Doane (23.88).
  • Shae Anderson is one of only eight collegiate athletes in the nation to have broken the 52-second barrier in the 400m this year (51.84).
  • At 7.76m (25-05.50), Harrison Schrage leads all Pac-12 performers in the long jump.
  • Peter Herold ran 8:59.05 in the 3000m Steeplechase at the Stanford Invitational (April 2), the second-fastest time in the Pac-12 this season.
  • The Bruins account for five of the Pac-12's top 25 men's 400m performers: Ismail Turner (No. 7 – 46.83), Myles Misener-Daley (No. 10 – 47.22), Cameron Reynolds (No. 14 – 47.53), Chase Wells (No. 18 – 47.94), Zaylon Thomas (No. 25, 49.14). 

NATIONAL TIMES/MARKS – UCLA on National Performance Lists
The following student-athletes have registered times/marks among the top 50 collegiate performances this year:
7. Shae Anderson – 400m (51.84) – Bob Larsen Track Meet (Mar. 27)
7. Alyssa Wilson – Hammer (66.50m, 218-2) – Bob Larsen Track Meet (Mar. 27)
15. 4x100m Relay (44.49) – Stanford Invitational (Apr. 2)
18. Ilaria Casarotto – Javelin (51.72m, 169-8) – Stanford Invitational (Apr. 2)
19. Christina Chenault – Heptathlon (5059) – Aztec Invite (Mar. 25)
26. Shae Anderson – 200m (23.32) – Bob Larsen Track Meet (Mar. 27)
30. Meleni Rodney – 400m (53.37) – Stanford Invite (Apr. 2)
40. Alyssa Wilson – Shot Put (16.00m, 52-06.00) – Bob Larsen Track Meet (Mar. 27)
41. Alyssa Wilson – Discus (52.00m, 170-7) – Bob Larsen Track Meet (Mar. 27)
47. Lauren McFall – Javelin (48.49m, 159-1) – Bob Larsen Track Meet (Mar. 27)
49. Mia Cervantes – Pole Vault (4.00m 13-01.50) – Stanford Invitational (Apr. 2)
17. Harrison Schrage – Long Jump (7.76m, 25-05.50) – Stanford Invitational (Apr. 2)
24. Ismail Turner – 200m (20.91w) – Jim Bush Legends Invite (Mar. 24)
26. Peter Herold – 3000m Steeplechase (8:59.05) – Stanford Invite (Apr. 2)
27. Jacob Wilson – Shot Put (18.45m, 60-06.50) – Bob Larsen Track Meet (Mar. 27)
35. 4x100m Relay (40.35) – Stanford Invitational – (Apr. 2)
35. 4x400m Relay (3:10.31) – Stanford Invitational (Apr. 2)
35. Tate Curran – Pole Vault (5.20m, 17-00.75) – Jim Bush Legends Invite (Mar. 24)
41. Ismail Turner – 400m (46.83) – Bob Larsen Track Meet (Mar. 27)
44. Jacob Wilson – Hammer (60.40m, 198-2) – Jim Bush Legends Invite (Mar. 24)
MEET RECAP – Stanford Invitational (April 2)
The Stanford Invite saw the Bruin sprinters show their prowess, as UCLA swept the sprint relay competitions and picked up a pair of individual sprint victories. The women's 4x100m relay saw Chinyere OkoroCatherine LegerMaddy Doane, and Makenzy Pierre-Webster combine to run 44.50 for the victory. The Bruins completed the sweep of the sprint relays with a victory on the men's side, as the quartet of Seth Holloway, Harrison Schrage, Cristian Moore, and Kenroy Higgins II crossed at 40.35 to defeat California and San José State. Higgins II went on to take the win in the men's 100m, clocking a time of 10.69. Holloway finished third at 10.86. Okoro and Doane went 2-3 in the women's competition, posting wind-assisted times of 11.63 and 11.65, respectively. Meleni Rodney made her 2021 debut in the 400m, cruising to the win with a time of 53.37
The men's shot put saw Jacob Wilson post a career-best toss for the second-straight meet, notching a throw of 18.69m (61-04.00) for third place overall. Ilaria Casarotto had a career-night in the javelin, going 51.72m (169-08) for a lifetime-best mark and the event victory. She cemented her No. 2 position on UCLA's all-time javelin list. Peter Herold made his UCLA track debut with an appearance in the steeplechase, clocking a time of 8:59 for second place overall. Mia Cervantes was the Bruins' top finisher in the women's pole vault competition, clearing a lifetime-best 4.00m (13-01.50).