The UCSB Decathletes and Heptathletes will be competing against a stellar field of top collegians, American elites and international multi-event athletes at Westmont College for the annual Sam Adams Multi this Friday and Saturday. Quickly becoming one of the premier multi-event competitions in America, this year's Sam Adams Combined Event will feature four Olympians and the world record holder and reigning Olympic Champion in the decathlon, Ashton Eaton.
Sam Adams was the long-time coach for the Gauchos and was known for his passion for the decathlon throughout his 34 years as head coach at UCSB. As an athlete, Sam competed in track and field at Cal Berkeley and finished fifth in the decathlon at the 1956 U.S. Olympic Trials. His expertise in the decathlon launched him into international prominence. He made three trips to the former Soviet Union as coach of national multi-event teams during the Cold War years.
Fast forward to the present day where the Gauchos have continued that tradition with a talented stable of multi event athletes led by senior and NCAA Qualifier, Derek Masterson. In 2012, Masterson posted a lifetime best of 7,558 in last year's edition of the Sam Adams multi. He is the reigning Big West Champion in the decathlon and so far this spring has posted new lifetime bests in the javelin- 211'4, the high jump – 6'6 3/4 and in the discus- 155'3.
Joining Masterson will be last year's Big West runner-up in the decathlon Mike Powers. Powers brings a lifetime best of 7,138 into this weekend's competition. A hurdle specialist, Powers helped propel UCSB to their first ever Men's Team Championship by taking 4th in the 400H, 8th in the 110HH and 6th in the High Jump in addition to his decathlon silver at last year's Big West meet.
UCSB will also send several newcomers into action. Tori Usgaard, a freshman heptathlete from Dana Hills High School will compete in her second heptathlon of the year. She finished second in the Northridge Multi earlier in March with a new lifetime best of 4812. It only took Usgaard one meet to find herself now third all-time on the UCSB list. She won the Arcadia High School Heptathlon one year ago.
On the men's side, Billy Britt last year's 5th place finisher in the California State Community College Championships for Riverside will try to up his best score of 6428. Ike Okpara, a Freshman from St. John Bosco in Bellflower will toe the line in his second career decathlon. He racked up 5605 in his debut at Northridge.
Competing in the heptathlon and representing her long time club in Germany LC Jena will be Gaucho Assistant Coach Annett Fleming. Last year's Mt. Sac Relays Champion with a lifetime best of 5851, Fleming capped the year with a silver medal at the German National Championships in Hannover in August. And this weekend, she will have some company. Brianne Theisen, last year's NCAA Champion, NCAA record holder and Canadian Olympian in the heptathlon will be in the field as well as two-time US Olympian Sharon Day. Former UCSB All-American and NCAA Runner-Up Barbara Nwaba will be competing under her new affiliation with the Women's Athletic Performance Foundation (WAPF) started by former Gaucho Assistant Josh Priester. The WAPF is based locally and has a young group of US hopefuls training at Westmont College.
The decathlon will feature Olympic champion and world record holder, Ashton Eaton. Eaton will compete in select events throughout the competition as he prepares for this summer's IAAF World Championship in Moscow, Russia. Damian Warner of Canada will also compete in select events. Warner finished 5th in last summer's Olympic Games after upping his personal best score 335 points in the competition. Gray Horn, a former Florida standout who finished 3rd in the 2012 Olympic Trials decathlon will also be in the field.