Photo by: Derrick Tuskan
Junior Claudia Cox has already earned four first-place finishes this season in the 400 hurdles.

Claudia Cox Leads Tritons Into Saturday's California Collegiate Open

UC San Diego

LA JOLLA, Calif. — Claudia Cox's favorite event is the 400 hurdles, but she has to thank the 100 hurdles for fueling her success.

Cox has been spectacular this season in the 400 hurdles, already earning four first-place finishes, posting five NCAA provisional-qualifying times and winning three California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Track and Field Runner of the Week awards.

However, the junior attributes her ascension in the 400 to the basic fundamentals learned competing in the 100.

“Over the summer I trained hard — and I did that the year before too — but something that’s helped me is the 100 hurdles,” Cox explained prior to Wednesday’s practice. “It helps the speed and quickness you need, and it helps me get out of the block and sprint. 

“Last year didn’t run 100 hurdles much, so I don’t think I got the quick speed motion that I needed. I think it helps my race a lot.”

The Greenville, N.C., native will attempt to record another top finish and impressive time at this weekend’s California Collegiate Open, which will be held at Triton Track and Field Stadium on Saturday, March 30.

As a sophomore in 2018, Cox had a season-best time of 1-minute, 2.77-seconds in the 400 hurdles, which ranked third on the team. This year as a junior, Cox has already posted a personal-record of 59.18 in the event, which is good for second-best all-time at UC San Diego.

Although most would believe running a shorter race would be easier to master, Cox’s background as a high school distance runner makes the longer race more appealing.

“I think the 400 hurdles is more suited for me,” Cox said. “Mentally, the 100 hurdles is such a tough race. It’s really hard not to think. The 400 gives you room to think a little, but also run fast. 

“People think I’m crazy, but I like the 400 more.”

Hurdling itself also takes a lot of practice and dedication in order to excel.

“The hardest part is dealing with the fatigue at the end of the race,” she said. “You have to really keep your knees up but can’t be too stiff and relaxed. 

“It’s a balance between practice and learning how to run the race.”

Despite only competing in track and field since high school, Cox has always had a way to measure herself athletically. Her twin sister, Chloe, is on the track and field team at UC Santa Barbara, mainly competing in the 800.

In addition to always having someone to race against — or with, as members of their high school relay team — Cox said she never had to look far to find good company.

“You always have someone to hang out with,” Cox said on having a twin. “We entertain each other and get along so well. You always have a friend, even though you don’t get personal space. 

“We have that competitive energy, but it’s never a bad thing. We’re always supportive of each other so it’s always fun sibling competition.”

The UC San Diego women’s team is ranked No. 5 in this week’s latest USTFCCA Track & Field Rating Index heading into Saturday’s meet, and Cox believes the Tritons are in the midst of a special season.

With the 2019 CCAA Championships set to take place in La Jolla on May 2-4, Cox said winning the conference title as a team would be just as exciting as achieving her own individual postseason success. 

“I think this is the year our women’s team can win conference because we’re looking good,” said Cox. “That’s been a dream of mine since coming to school here.”

About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country.  The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference.  UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent.  A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Post Graduate Scholarships.  In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.

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