Santa Barbara, Calif- The UC Santa Barbara Track and Field teams will head to UC San Diego Friday April 4 and Saturday April 5 for the Cal Nevada Championships. Last season the Gauchos took third and fourth respectively in the men's and women's team scoring. The Gaucho men won the meet in 2012. The multi-team competition consists of collegiate teams in the state of California and Nevada. There will be a variety of conferences and divisions in attendance ranging from the Pac-12, Big West, NCAA D2 & 3 to the NAIA. Entry into the meet is based on qualification marks set so far this indoor and outdoor season.
Gaucho Men on A Roll
The UCSB men's track and field team has compiled a dual meet record of 15-0 to start the 2014 outdoor season. They took top honors in each competition this spring including the Gaucho Round Up (vs. Pepperdine and Westmont), the All-UC Championship (vs. UC Irvine, UC San Diego & UC Riverside), UC Riverside Dual Meet and the UC Riverside Spring Break Invitational (vs. Southern Utah, Cal State Northridge, Cal State Fullerton, Cornell, UC Riverside, UC Riverside, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado and Wyoming).
The UCSB women's track and field team has compiled a record of 9-6 to start the year in dual meet scoring. The women's record includes a narrow win against UC Riverside in their annual dual meet.
Shyan Vaziri leads a talented group of mid-distance runners for the Gauchos. Vaziri was named the Big West Track Athlete of The Week after his 1500m win at the UC Riverside Spring Break Invitational. Vaziri dropped a time of 3:44.62 which currently leads the Big West and sits #6 Nationally. Seven Gaucho men have hit 1:55 or faster so far this spring in the 800m, showing the depth Head Coach Pete Dolan has assembled in his storied distance squad. Vaziri will head to the Stanford Invitational this weekend along with Tyler Brady to toe the line with the best runners in the country in what has become the premier distance showcase of the regular season.
Keeping up With Walker
Senior Evan Walker is currently sittign in fourth on the Big West Conference list at the mid way point in the year with a 10.55w in the 100m. Walker's time if wind legal would eclipse the UCSB school record of 10.56 set in 1987 by Sandy Combs. Sprint Coach Travis Anderson looks for a big weekend from Walker, "I think Evan is ready to roll. We are at the stage of the season where he is locked and ready to roll. He is excited about the two day competition and thrives on prelims and finals. The past several weeks, I've primed him to run fast down in San Diego. He is focused on his senior season and has done all the little things right."
At the UC Riverside Spring Break Invitational several Gaucho throwers made an impression. Sophomore Melissa Rake unleashed a 144'3 toss in the women's javelin, a mark which currently leads the Big West. Junior Albert Hughes continued to show his consistency in the men's hammer with another PR toss of 184'6, a marck which sits in fourth in the Big West. Junior Hanna Person continues to up her PR in the women's hammer, last weekend hitting 167'11 for her third consecutive PR weekend in a row. Junior Heather Hawes broke into the UCSB All-Time lists last week with her 148'1 PR in the womens discus. In the men's javelin three Gauchos are in the Big West top 8 led by freshman Jerrick Zhang's mark of 183'2 putting him in second. Freshman Matthew Kuskey is in fifth with a 176'11 and Junior Spencer Neste in sixth with 174'4.
Associate Head Coach and Throws Coach Cody Fleming on his throws squad:
"We've seen some nice marks so far this season and we have to remember to stay with the process. To keep training hard each day, doing the little things that add up when the big meets come around. We have a large group that feeds off each other so igniting momentum is only one throw away."
Trumbull and SeanJohn
Short hurdlers Shannon Trumbull and Sean Johnson have continued to impress. Both will be in action this weekend running in the 100m and 110HH respectively. Trumbull will start in the fourth heat of four in the women's hurdles and Sean Johnson will be in the second heat of four in the men's prelims which go off on Friday afternoon.
Breaking Through the Wall
The Gauchos have continued their success in the 400m into this spring. Jessica Johnson broke out in her first race of the year, hitting a 55.34 time which puts her in fourth on the Big West list. On the men's side the power trio of Eric Severiano, Winton Ngyuen and Karlon Johnson are all poised to break into PR territory coming off another solid Coach Travis Anderson training block. Anderson, a former Oregon 400m specialist (Coach Fleming was also an Oregon Duck), has rewritten the UCSB record books since his arrival in Santa Barbara. Last season Jennifer Carey shattered the UCSB school record with a 52.29 400m time and Jordan Scott captured the men's 400m title with a 46.44 effort- both in the final of the Big West Championships. Anderson's 4 x 400m relays last season both qualified for the NCAA Preliminary Round where the women went on to record a time of 3:38.86, the current school record.
Tori Usgaard completed her first heptathlon of the season last week at the UC Riverside Spring Break Invitational and compiled a score of 4773. Sophomore Ike Okpara also competed in the mens decathlon and hit a new best mark of 6254 to lead a young group of Gauchos.
Coach Dolan's Take
"The middle of the season is rich with tradition; many big marks get set this time of year. I am always excited to watch these mysteries unfold."