Kersee Hopes to Replace Devers With a Balanced UCLA Team

Bob Kersee, UCLA women’s track coach, reasons that it takes the equivalent of three athletes to replace Gail Devers.

Devers, an accomplished multi-event performer who led the Bruins to the Pacific 10 Conference championship the last two seasons and second place in the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. meet in 1988, has graduated.

Nonetheless, Kersee expects a balanced team to make up for her absence.

Leading the team are sprinter-hurdler Janeene Vickers and weight event star Kris Larson.


As a freshman, Vickers placed fourth in the 400-meter hurdles in the NCAA meet and then anchored the 1,600-meter relay team to victory.

Larson won the javelin, discus and shotput in the USC dual meet last year and placed fourth in the discus in the NCAA meet, one place behind teammate Tracie Millett.

Other athletes with NCAA meet experience are relay runners Tonya Sedwick and Caryl Smith, hurdler Nikki Williams and 1500-meter runner Laura Chapel.

Kersee has benefited from a good recruiting class, namely middle-distance runners Jennifer Ashe and Kristi Bache, triple jumper Brooke Bartholomew and half-miler LaMonica Smith.

Mike Bailey, first year USC coach who succeeded Fred LaPlante, now at Eastern Michigan, has lost two top athletes, Wendy Brown and Yvette Bates.

Brown and Bates, the long- and triple-jump tandem, were mainly responsible for USC’s top-10 finishes in the NCAA meet the past three years. Brown was also the 1988 NCAA heptathlon champion and a member of the U.S. Olympic team.

The Trojans, however, will be bolstered by the return of Leslie Maxie, who red-shirted last season while earning a place on the U.S. Olympic team in the 400-meter hurdles.

Among other athletes who figure to contribute are sprinters Michelle Taylor and Louan Guialdo, hurdler Karen Koellner, high jumper Yleana Carrasco and Lesley Noll, the school record-holder in the 800 at 2 minutes 3.30 seconds, and the 1,500 at 4:17.25.


Promising newcomers are hurdler Michelle DeCoux, a double winner last year at the California high school state meet, and 800-1,500 runners Amy Goodwin, Robbyn Bryant and Tracy Boudreau.