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TRACK AND FIELD

Aragon Goes Distance for UCLA

April 27, 2003|Eric Stephens

UCLA runner Ben Aragon went into Eric Peterson's office during the week and offered to run all three distance events if his coach needed him to in Saturday's track and field meet with USC. Peterson hoped the Bruins could avoid that scenario.

With the meet in the balance and the Trojans favored in the final event, the 4x400 relay, UCLA realistically needed a sweep in the 5,000 meters to clinch the victory. So Aragon attempted a rare triple after winning the 1,500 and 800 earlier.

The sophomore had enough left in him to win the race and teammates Erik Emilsson and Justin Patananan followed him to give the UCLA men nine key points and the difference in an 82-81 dual meet win before 3,087 at USC's Loker Stadium.

The trio, especially Patananan, kept Trojan senior Justin Neems from getting into third and securing a point. Had Neems done that, which he did in USC's win two years ago, the Trojans could have won the meet with its relay victory.

"That was the perfect race for us," said Aragon, who won with a time of 14 minutes 46.43 seconds. "Our plan was to hang back and let [Neems] do most of the work. He tried to come back with 400 meters left but I was finishing way too strong."

Also keying the Bruins were wins in the shot put and discus throw by Dan Ames and an upset victory by Juaune Armon in the long jump over USC's Allen Simms. USC got two wins by Wes Felix in the 100 and 200 and Ryan Wilson in the 110 and 400 hurdles, while Simms jumped a nation-leading 56 feet, 4 inches to win the triple jump.

As expected, UCLA dominated the women's meet, winning, 104-59, for its 11th consecutive in the series. Sheena Johnson won the 100 and 400 hurdles, Monique Henderson the 200 and 400 and Lena Nilsson the 800 and 1,500.

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