Kersee Loses Sleep, but Bruins Win Title : Track and field: UCLA women’s coach didn’t need to stay up late because Bruins clinched Pac-10 meet early. Oregon takes men’s championship.
Bob Kersee, coach of the UCLA women’s track team, was up until 2 a.m. Sunday morning planning for the Pacific 10 track meet.
“I thought it was going to come down to the 1,600-meter relay,” Kersee said. “Every time I figured it out I thought there was no way we could win it before the relay.”
Kersee shouldn’t have worried, because the Bruins clinched their fourth consecutive Pac-10 title before the relay, overtaking Oregon, 116-103, Sunday at Husky Stadium.
UCLA, which trailed Oregon, 61-34, after the first day of the meet, outscored the Ducks, 82-42, on Sunday.
Tracie Millett and Janeene Vickers won two events apiece for UCLA. After setting a school record of 53 feet 9 3/4 inches on Saturday to win the shotput, Millett clinched the team championship for the Bruins by winning the discus with a toss of 190-2.
“If Tracie and Janeene do what they did here at the NCAA meet, we’ll be in the hunt for the national title,” Kersee said.
The defending NCAA champion in the 400 hurdles, Vickers won her third consecutive conference title in a time of 58.76 seconds. She also won the 100-meter hurdles in 13.73 and ran the leadoff leg on the Bruins’ 400-meter relay team, which won in 45.26, despite losing anchor runner Caryl Smith, who strained a hamstring in the 100-meter trials Saturday.
Vickers finished her day by anchoring the Bruins’ 1,600-meter relay team, which ran 3:43.13 to finish second behind Arizona State’s 3:38.13.
“This is the hardest I’ve had to work to win the Pac-10 since I’ve been here,” Vickers said.
UCLA’s injury-plagued men’s team wasn’t as fortunate as the women, finishing third with 98 points behind Oregon (141) and Washington State (102).
“Oregon did a nice job,” UCLA Coach Bob Larsen said. “I was very impressed overall with the job Oregon did.”
Oregon Coach Bill Dellinger was all wet after the Ducks won their first Pac-10 title since 1986. His team threw him into the steeplechase water pit to celebrate the win.
“I’m too old to get thrown in the water,” Dellinger said. “I would have rather taken a victory lap.”
There were some outstanding performances on a cold, windy, overcast afternoon before 3,556 fans.
--UCLA’s Steve Lewis, the 1988 Olympic gold medalist in the 400 meters, came back from a hamstring injury to win his second consecutive Pac-10 title. Lewis was clocked in 46.10, edging Travis Hannah of USC (46.23).
--UCLA’s Brian Blutreich won the discus on his last throw, overtaking Todd Wilson of Washington. Blutreich won his second consecutive Pac-10 title, throwing 188-10 to beat Wilson (187-8). Blutreich, who threw 184-4 on his first throw, improved by four feet six inches on his last throw.
“The wind was terrible,” Blutreich said. “I waited a couple of minutes on my last throw for the wind to die down and it did. I’m glad I had the experience to wait because it worked.”
--USC’s George Porter won the 400-meter hurdles in a time of 51.17. After undergoing surgery to have a planter’s wart removed from his right foot two months ago, Porter is still not in top shape, but he had enough to win his second consecutive conference title.
Porter also ran a strong third leg for the Trojans’ 1,600-meter relay team, which clocked 3:05.06 to win but was later disqualified because Hannah ran out of his lane on the opening leg. It was a costly disqualification because USC’s time met the NCAA qualifying standard, and the Trojans have just one more week in which to qualify for the NCAA meet, which will begins May 30 at Duke.
--Maicel Malone of Arizona State was voted the female athlete of the meet, winning the 200 in 23.24 seconds, the 400 in 51.93 and anchoring the Sun Devils’ winning 1,600-meter relay team.
--Michael Bates, a freshman from Arizona, was voted the male athlete of the meet, winning the 100 (10.45) and 200 (20.92) and anchoring the Wildcats to a win in the 400-meter relay (39.56).