UCLA Spotlight


UCLA Women's Track and Field

  • By Tony Duffy
  • Published Jul 1, 2004 8:00 AM

UCLA women’s track and field coach Jeanette Bolden is no stranger to pressure: as an athlete she competed (and won) in the Olympics, and as a coach she ranks among the sport’s elite. But last month’s NCAA championships were almost too much for her.

"I don't like having a dramatic finish like that,” Bolden admits. “It took all of me just to stay in the stadium . . . We've been so close and stubbed our toe at this meet so many times.”

But in the end the UCLA women emerged as 69-68 winners of the NCAA outdoor championship. The victory ended a decade of tantalizing almost-victories: Bolden’s teams had never finished out of the top 10, and 5 times finished in second place. This time they took home the outdoor trophy, to stand alongside trophies for indoor track and field won in 2000 and 2001.

“I just got off the phone with Jackie (Joyner-Kersee) and she said, ‘It's about time - it's our time!’,” Bolden said after the meet.

Now Bolden and senior hurdler Sheena Johnson have swept conference, regional and national honors as coach and athlete of the year: both were honored by the Pac-10 conference, the Mondo West region, and the U.S. Track Coaches Association.

Johnson scored a meet-high 19.5 points for the Bruins, including first place in the 400m hurdles and third in the 100m hurdles. She ran the second leg in both the 4x100 meter relay and the 4x400 meter relay. “I'm glad I did everything I could” to help UCLA win the title, Johnson said afterwards.

UCLA, already the leader with 93 national championships, now has 94. All four team championships this year belong to the UCLA women: outdoor track and field, softball, golf and gymnastics.