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Bruin Bites: Conference Championship Results

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UCLA competed in two conference championships in two different conferences in two different sports. Although the team results were not satisfying (except perhaps to Doughnut, with his expectation managing style), there were several solid individual accomplishments.

Bruin star Ida Storm
Bruin star Ida Storm
Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Today we are going to focus on two under publicized sports. And I am not talking Men's Basketball, so please read on.

--- The Women's Swimming team finished in 5th place in this week's Pac 12 championship meet. The Bruins came into the competition ranked 16th in the country. The teams ahead of them in the rankings (national ranking in parentheses), Cal (1), Stanford (3), Southern Cal (12) and Arizona 11, finished ahead of UCLA in this meet. So it can be said that the Bruins did as well as expected (score one for Doughnut).

The Bruins did not win any individual or relay event. But the individuals on the team did set six school records, a noteworthy accomplishment to be sure.

In the 200 yard medley relay, sophomore backstroker Madison White, junior breastroker (and White's high school teammate at Carondelet in Concord) Allison Wine, senior butterflyer Noelle Tarazona, and sophomore freestyler Linnea Mack set a school record in the first event of the meet, while finishing 3rd. Very good opening statement.

In the 100 yard breaststroke, Wine set a school record while finishing 2nd to Stanford's Sarah Haase, an Olympic Trials semi-finalist.

In the 400 yard medley relay, the same combo of White, Wine, Tarazona and Mack set another school record, while finishing 4th.

In the 1650 yard freestyle, junior Katy Campbell set a new school record while finishing 3rd.

In platform diving, sophomore Annika Lenz fortunately chose to not do my favorite dive, a cannonball, and splash the judges. Instead she went the more artistic route, and finished 3rd with a school record score.

And finally, in the last event of the meet, the 400 yard freestyle relay team of White, Mack, freshman Katie Grover and senior Monica Domick set a new school record while finishing 5th.

This is clearly a good news/bad news story. The good news obviously is that these student-athletes swam faster and dove better than any Bruins have ever done in their events. The bad news is that this was not good enough to win their events at the conference meet, let alone at the NCAA's.

Cyndy Gallagher is in her 27th year coaching UCLA. That means that she was already on staff when Guerrero arrived. And since 2007, UCLA's best finish in the NCAA's is 17th. This should be unsatisfactory. The job of the athletic director should be to put every student-athlete in the best possible position to achieve individual and collective success. It is clear that under Guerrero's reign of malign neglect, Women's Swimming is not achieving that goal. Thanks for nothing, Dan.

----There is no Pac 12 championship meet for Indoor Track. UCLA competes in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) in this sport, as it does in Men's Water Polo and a few other sports. And this year the Bruins finished 4th in Men's Indoor Track and 4th in Women's Indoor Track. The titles were won by Oregon on the men's side, and Southern Cal (really?) on the women's side.

Two Bruins did win their individual events. On the men's side, redshirt junior Nicholas Scarvelis won his second straight conference title in the shot put, beating 2nd place by over a foot.

On the women's side, redshirt senior Ida Storm set a new meet record and a new stadium record in the weight throw. Storm finished 2nd in this event at last year's NCAA indoor championship and placed 5th in the 2013 NCAA outdoor meet in the hammer throw. She is clearly one of the elite performers in this event. Usually, throwing your weight around is a bad thing, but not for Ida.

We clearly had some excellent results at the individual level, but at the team level 4th place MPSF finishes don't seem all that impressive. So I thought I would find out more about the coaches.

It is fairly common in collegiate track and field to have coaches who specialize in certain events for both men and women, rather than having a complete duplicate set of coaches for the same events on the men's and women's teams. For example, John Frazier is the men's coach but also coaches throws, so could very well be Ida Storm's coach. Forest Braden coaches distance events for both teams.

But UCLA, under Doughnut's reign of error, does have a fairly unique setup. Mike Maynard, who was the head men's coach for three seasons without a top 10 finish, was kicked upstairs (at least that is my read) to the new position of Director of Track & Field/ Cross Country, a position which he has held for three years. Oregon, for what it is worth, does not have a Director of Track and Field with men's and women's coaches reporting to him/her.

Then again, neither does Maynard. John Frazier, a UCLA alum from the early 80's, has returned to campus to be the Men's Head Coach, and also lead the staff for the throwing events. But who is the Women's Head Coach? It was Jeannine Bolden, whose teams earned NCAA glory back in the day, but the teams had faded badly in recent years. She is no longer the coach.

Here is a list of the titles for the track and field coaching staff, per the website (link here)-

Director of Track & Field/Cross Country- throws, multi events (decathlon, heptathlon, pentathlon)

Men's Head Coach- throws

Associate Head Coach- jumps, multi

Assistant Coach- mid distance, distance, cross country

Assistant Coach- sprints, hurdles, relay

Assistant Coach- M/W sprints and hurdles

2 volunteer coaches, one for combined gender pole vault and one for multis

Director of Operations

Where is the Women's Head Coach?  Is this Doughnut's latest brain wave to help balance the books? In men's basketball, we could probably do without the current head coach. If the players could decide, with one vote each, I am pretty sure that Bryce would not be starting at point. But that doesn't mean that the team would be better with no head coach, just not the incumbent.

And the same holds true for Women's Track & Field. How can these student-athletes be in a position to maximize their individual and collective results (again, what an AD should be doing) if they don't even have a coach? Please, if there is a link which shows who the Women's Track & Field coach is, let us know.

Either this is just another example of buffoonery at Moron Center in terms of bad information (another in a seemingly endless series), or even worse, this is an example of Moron Center sending a group of dedicated female student-athletes into competition without a head coach. Unbelievable.

That is your Bruin Bites for this week. Just when you think you have seen it all, Moron Center breaks the mold.