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COLLEGES / ALAN OTA : Final Kick Is Difference for UCLA Runner

April 29, 1993|ALAN OTA

UCLA distance runner Beth Bartholomew won the 1,500-meter run by a hundredth of a second with a seasonal-best time at the triangular meet with USC and Arizona on Saturday.

The junior edged the Wildcats' Rachael Brennan, the Pacific 10 Conference leader, at the wire and was timed in 4 minutes, 26.85 seconds.

Brennan had a 10-meter lead when Bartholomew began her move in the final 100 meters.

"I knew from other races with her that I had a little better leg speed," Bartholomew said.

Bartholomew was out the previous week because of an ankle sprain and only recently recovered from a groin injury, said UCLA Coach Bob Larsen.

"She's tremendously strong mentally," Larsen said. "Beth is just now scrambling to catch up. For some others, those setbacks would throw them out for the entire season. This shows her toughness."

Two weeks ago at the Mt. San Antonio College Relays, the 5-foot-8 Bartholomew improved her personal best in the 3,000-meter run by over eight seconds with a 9:28.11 clocking, meeting the provisional standard for the NCAA championships.

"I told myself to run as hard as I can and if I die, I die," she said. "But that race was better than I ever expected."

Bartholomew has been exceeding expectations since her first year of running, when she ran a 5:00.35 mile as a ninth-grader at Fremont High in Sunnyvale. It was the second-fastest time for a freshman in the United States in 1987.

Having placed third in the 1,500 at the Pac-10 meet last year, Bartholomew is hoping to qualify for the NCAA meet in the 1,500 and 3,000.

"I like the speed in the 1,500 and that race feeling," she said. "The 3,000 is something I'm still learning. It's a lot tougher to stay in that race and keep your focus because of the length. You need a lot of gumption. It's a challenge and that's why I like it."

She attributes much of her success to Larsen.

"He knows exactly how I run," Bartholomew said. "And I've performed better than I ever have."

Last fall, she was the first Bruin woman to qualify for the NCAA cross-country championship in four years. Larsen saw it as a big step up for Bartholomew.

"That was a transition for Beth in that she showed she's not merely a middle-distance runner but could also go long," he said. "We're just seeing the start of what she's capable of."

Olympic champion Kevin Young, the former UCLA standout who established a world record of 46.78 seconds in winning the 400-meter hurdles at the Barcelona Olympics, will compete at a Bruin triangular meet with Brigham Young and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo on Saturday at Drake Stadium.

In addition, Olympic champion Quincy Watts will compete in the 400-meter run, his first outdoor race of the year.

Young has been troubled because of a hamstring injury, but hopes to make a strong showing.

"I tend to overstride and because it's the trail leg where I have some tightness, it helps to keep me in check when I feel that adrenaline," Young said. "Actually, it helps me be mechanically stronger. I'm known as a more technical runner and so it forces me to do what I do best."

Junior middle blocker Tim Kelly has been a big reason for the success of the top-ranked UCLA volleyball team, which played Stanford for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation championship at UC Irvine on Wednesday night.

"Tim is the most improved player from last year in both hitting and blocking," UCLA Coach Al Scates said. "And he's just working harder."

The 6-foot-9 Kelly put in time during the off-season to improve his blocking, even though he was second on the team with an average of 1.4 blocks a game in league play last year.

"I worked on getting to the ball quicker," Kelly said.

Kelly has led the Bruins in blocking with a 1.68 average and is ranked ninth in the nation.

"Basically, he dominates as a blocker," senior teammate Mike Sealy said. "He owns that aspect of the game. The net is his."

Kelly is also ranked fifth nationally in hitting. He exceeded a .400 hitting percentage in 14 of 21 matches this season and tied the UCLA individual single-match record for highest hitting percentage (.900) against UC Irvine in February.

"His best volleyball is still in the future," Irvine Coach Andy Read said. "I'd like to see him play on the national team as he develops as a player."

Kelly sees room for improvement.

"My serve is probably the worst part of my game but I'm going to keep working on it," he said. "And I still need to spend more time on my digging."

Notes

The loser of Wednesday's UCLA-Stanford Mountain Pacific Sports Federation match will play either Brigham Young or Cal State Long Beach in Friday's volleyball semifinal at 7 p.m. If No. 3 Pepperdine advanced from Wednesday's first-round match with San Diego State, the Waves were to play either Cal State Northridge or USC on Friday at 4 p.m. The winner of Saturday's final at 7 p.m. will receive a nomination for an NCAA at-large berth.

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