Riverside, Calif- The Gauchos claimed a pair of dual meet victories against host UC Riverside this Saturday. Running up 17 individual event wins, the Gauchos took the women's title 89-85 and the men's title 91-83. Near record highs of 87 didn't slow down the track events as several UCSB athletes used the straight, down-the-pipe tailwind to notch wind aided personal bests while tuning up for a stretch of championship level meets.
UCSB Junior Jessica Johnson made her season debut after battling a spate of injuries this past Saturday in the women's 400m. Johnson threw down a 55.34 one lap time into a stiff wind on the backstretch, edging out one of the top combo sprinters in the Big West in UCR's Nicole Abboud. Johnson's time shattered her previous best of 55.94 and puts her 6th all-time in the UCSB record books.
First, some clarification on track and field wind-legal marks from the NCAA Rules Manual:
ARTICLE 1. Official acceptance of a world, American or NCAA championships record in the long jump, in the triple jump or in any race that is not run around the complete oval of the track, requires that a calibrated wind instrument shall record that any assisting wind does not exceed an average velocity of 2 meters per second. An assisting wind is one that blows at a runner's back, either directly or in a slanting direction
But in terms of running fast, there is nothing like a flag pole waving away from a runner poised to take the blocks. That was the case this weekend in the UCR Track Stadium when one would glance over to the flag pole just off the finish line straight away. Gaucho Senior Evan Walker exploded from the blocks in the men's 100m this weekend and found a 5.0w which propelled him to a new all conditions PR of 10.55. A time, if wind-legal would have eclipsed the UCSB school record of 10.56 set by Sandy Combs. Walker has a lifetime best of 10.58 set last season and is one of the top 100m runners in the Big West.
Shannon Trumbull keeps dropping time in the women's 100m hurdles, this week dipping below the 14 second mark for the first time in her career. Trumbull ran hurdle for hurdle with UCR's Tayler Fleming and got edged at the tape, 13.97 to Trumbulls' 13.99. There was a 3.9w for their race. Also hanging on for a new all conditions PR was Tori Usgaard, who clipped a 14.55, a key milestone for Usgaard who will be competing in her first multi-event competition in just over a weeks time. 14.55 in the heptathlon scoring tables breaks into 900 point territory at 902.
Senior Sean Johnson keeps his undefeated streak alive in 2014 with another 110HH victory. Johnson powered to a relaxed 14.53 with a slightly aided 2.6. Johnson will face a top field when he returns to the track for the UCR Invite on March 29th.
400m Hurdles and Open
Hallie Brauner won her third straight 400m hurdles race to start the year with a 62.56 effort. In the men's 400m, the Gauchos took the top two spots with Eric Severiano getting the win in 49.44 followed by Karlon Johnson in 49.66. Worth noting, Karlon is coming back from an ACL injury he took during a 4 x 400m race last season at UC Irvine. He is showing his 2012 form which found him in the Big West 400m final. Saturday, running into a strong headwind on the backstretch, Johnson hit the gas for the first time this year and took a giant step forward in his recovery. Keep an eye out for the Gaucho's 6'9 sprinter. He's back. Also worth noting, in 2014 it appears we have found the most difficult name to pronounce in the Big West in Severiano. SEV-er-I-ano.
Trailing for the second week in a row in the women's hammer, junior Hanna Person found a new lifetime best throw of 164'8 in the final round to edge the win for the Gauchos. Person struggled to find her technique in the early rounds but settled down and found her throw, which started the day for the Gauchos. In the men's discus, Albert Hughes traded the lead with UCR's Chima Ikeme, one of the top discus men in the Big West. In the last round of throwing Hughes hit a 155' effort which held for the win, an important event victory for the Gauchos late in the day.
Running in less than ideal conditions, the Gaucho distance squad put on a displace of stellar running tactics and pacing. With heavy winds and early season heat, the Gauchos followed Head Coach Pete Dolan's plan and swept the men's distances while picking up several key placings on the women's side.
In the men's 800m, the Gauchos took the top four spots (only two scored) with Shyan Vaziri taking the win in 1:51.37. Vaziri's time set the new dual meet record held by noneother than former Gaucho Ryan Martin. Following Vaziri were Tyler Brady (1:52.91), Bryan Guijarro (1:54.95) and Jack Morgenson (1:55.35). In the women's 800m, Rebekah Ent took second in 2:18.45, a key placing for the Gaucho women.
Moving on to 1500m action, Tyler Brady keeps rolling, this time with a 3:54.55 victory. Following closely behind was Bryan Guijarro in 3:55.43. Guijarro, a longer distance specialist, looks to parlay his new speed into a blistering finishing kick. On the women's side, Maxine Goyette recorded a 4:43.62 for the runner up 1500m spot. Goyette would go on to take second in the 3,000m with a 10:22.55. Also in the 3k, freshman Kelsey O'Connell made her track debut running a 10:41.75, adding valuable points to the scoring effort.
In the men's 3,000m veteran Bryce Rausa held off a hungry pack of young Gauchos with a 8:42.51 win. Chasing Rausa was freshman Patrick Bourke, who finished second in 8:43.55. Abel Mogesse and Andrew Verdin joined the party and finished third and fourth respectively in 8:47.88 and 8:49.60.
Decathlete Ike Okpara took the men's high jump with a new PR leap of 6'6. Jessica Emde won her third straight meet of the year in the HJ with a mark of 5'4.25. Jerrick Zhang won the men's javelin and Melissa Rake took the women's javelin win. Senior Kathleen Guzman won the women's discus and Heather Hawes took the win in the women's shot put.
The Gauchos will take the week off and focus on their studies as finals week begins on campus. They will return to action next week for the UC Riverside Spring Break Invitational. The multi-event competition begins Thursday March 27th and the Invite Track and Field Events go Friday 3/28 with the bulk of the events going on Saturday 3/29. A complete schedule can be found below.