Tavella, Bruins Shine at Drake Stadium
LOS ANGELES – Emma Tavella made the most of her first-ever appearance in the steeplechase, as the Bruins shined across the board in the Bob Larsen Distance Invitational and Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invite, both contested at Drake Stadium on Friday. UCLA picked up seven event victories and a pair of program top-10 performances on the day.
Friday's distance events filled the meet program for the Bob Larsen Distance Invite. The field events contested were the opening events for the Rafer/JJK Invite; the full meet will be completed on Saturday.
Tavella led the Bruin charge in the grueling steeplechase event with a win and time of 10:12.65, the second-fastest performance in program history. She was just over a second away from Emily Scharmann's school-record mark of 10:11.30, set back in 2016.
The men's steeple saw Munir Kabbara put together an excellent race, taking the win with a lifetime-best time of 8:46.67, the 10th-fastest time in program history.
Peter Herold picked up the win in the men's mile, crossing with a time of 4:02.13, the fastest time at Drake Stadium since Arturo Sotomayor went 4:03.07 in 2019. Freshman Ajani Salcido was close behind in third at 4:03.51 while Jake Parker notched a fifth-place finish (4:05.33).
Gwyn George earned a convincing win in the women's 1500m, clocking a lifetime-best time of 4:23.12. Ashley Johnson took fifth and unleashed a massive PR of 4:30.73, an improvement of almost 21 seconds from her previous lifetime-best.
William Frankenfeld and Darius Riley went 1-2 in the men's 5000m, with the pair going 14:15.19 and 14:17.01, respectively. Patrick Curulla made his outdoor debut for the Bruins and finished sixth overall, clocking a time of 14:29.34.
Freshman Jillian Stafford continued her strong start to the season with a victory in the women's hammer, going 58.63m (192-4) for the win. Fellow first-year Lyvante Su'emai took second with a toss of 58.05m (190-5). The men's competition saw Jacob Wilson (63.02m, 206-90 and Kris Emig (62.06m, 203-7) finish second and third, respectively.
Lauren McFall picked up her second-straight javelin victory of the season, posting a throw of 46.96m (154-1) for the win. Anoop Khatra was second overall in the men's field, throwing 61.93m (203-2).
UC Riverside Multis
The Bruins' heptathletes were also in action on Friday. Freshman Sydney Johnson earned a win in the event in Riverside, finishing with 4747 points. Her day was highlighted by a second-place finish in the long jump, going 5.70m (18-08.50) for 759 points. Fellow first-year Amber Jackson followed with 3981 points, capping her day with a third-place finish in the 800m (2:38.37, 592 pts). Senior Isa Videler was fifth overall with 3809 points despite not contesting the long jump and 800m.
Day Two – Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee
The Bruins are back on Saturday for the second day of competition at the Rafer/JJK Invite. The open sections of the men's and women's discus competitions will open the day at 10 a.m. PT.