Azusa, Calif - The UC Santa Barbara Track and Field teams made the trek again down south to face the nation's best at the annual Mt. Sac Relays and Bryan Clay Invitational. Traditionally the most action packed weekend of the collegiate season, this year's edition did not dissapoint as Gauchos once again took turns re-writing the UCSB T&F record books.
New Gaucho All-Time Marks
Tori Usgaard Heptathlon 5551(#2)
Tori Usgaard 100H 13.88 (#3)
Hope Bender Heptathlon 5212 (#3)
Maxine Goyette 3000m Steeplechase 10:27.27 (#3)
Cassidy Peng Triple Jump 38'8.75" (#7)
Aine McNulty Heptathlon 4559 (#8)
Kiely Gode Long Jump 19'1.5" (#8)
Kaitlin Large 800m 2:11.21 (#10)
Joshua Rennick Triple Jump 47'4.25" (#10)
Gaucho Multis Women Shine
The UC Santa Barbara heptathlon crew had a banner week as they attacked 7 events at the CA Invitational Heptathlon, hosted by the Mt. Sac Relays. 3 Gauchos found their way on the All-Time list, with Senior Tori Usgaard leading the way with a huge 222-point personal best, scoring a monster 5551 points. This performance placed her 3rd overall at the meet and mader her the second best Gaucho performer of all time. Her effort was highlighted by a new Long Jump PB of 19'5.25", new 100H best of 13.88, and 2:18.55 clip in the 800m. Associate Head Coach Cody Flemming gave the run down of Usgaard's exciting two days:
"Tori's performance was one of the All-Timers. This week was a result of the past five years and all the ups and downs she's had, but ultimately grew stronger from. I'm so happy for her and Annett because Tori started this quest training side by side with her. They have forged a special bond and this week it was on full display."
I don't think Coach Annett Flemming gets enough credit because I don't think people realize we have with her on our staff. Having a world class heptathlete with exceptional knowledge of biomechanics and technique is an extremely rare thing. Our athletes are very lucky to have her. Not only as a mentor but as a role model.
Right from the start, Tori was locked in. She was in a blocks next to a two time Canadian Olympian hurdler in her signature event. Then she cuts two tenths off her PB, running 13.88.
The meet went to the next level on her third jump to start the second day. In a very uncharacteristic move for Tori in hindsight, she got the whole stadium to clap for her last attempt, She captured the moment and jumped 19'5.25", a big personal best.
Tori likes the 800m so she was very calm and focused before the starting gun. Coming into the second lap an athlete passed her, spiking her thigh and throwing her off a step. She recovered nicely and finished in 2:18, with blood running down her leg."
Usgaards mark now ranks #12 in the NCAA.
Not to be overlooked, SO Hope Bender also improved upon her previous #2 all-time mark by 98 points, scoring a notable 5212. FR Aine Mcnulty found her way onto the All-Time list in #8 with a huge 273 point improvement, scoring 4559.
Distance Crew Continues To Make Strides
On the longer events on the track, Maxine Goyette set the standard for the Gauchos as she got the weekend off to a great start in the Women's Steeplechase at the Mt. Sac Relays. The Senior called upon her years of experience and lifetime of miles logged under her belt to execute a breakthrough season race. Goyette set a lifetime best of 10:27.27 as she crossed the line in 4th, good for an #3 Gaucho All-Time performance. This race beat her previous season best by 13 seconds and puts her in contention for a Regional qualifying mark.
Two Gaucho freshman also raced to personal bests later that night at the Bryan Clay Invite 5000m. Youseff Baddour kicked hard the last lap to log a 14:47.93 while Celeste Wilson continued to improve her racing ability to a new PB of 17:37.27.
The next night, the middle distance events took center stage at Bryan Clay. Senior Kaitlin Large knocked a few more tenths off her 800m PB to 2:11.21, improving upon her #10 All-Time ranking.
Senior Andrew Verdin made another step forward in the 1500m, logging a season best of 3:51.67, leading the Big West in the event. Fellow Senior Jenna Hinkle put forth another sub 4:20 showing in the 1500m, running 4:19.28.
Sophomore Miranda Ross set a new PB of 4:38.24 in the 1500m as well.
Field Events Leaping to New Heights
JR Kiely Gode exceeded 19 feet for the first time this season in the Long Jump, logging a 19'1.5" leap to improve upon her #8 All-Time spot.
SO Joshua Rennick notched a new farthest Triple Jump of 47'4.25" to inch even closer to #9 All-Time.
Sophomore Cassidy Peng also found her stride in the Triple Jump (her third event of the meet), leaping to 38'8.75". This puts her on the All-Time list for the first time at #7.
Fellow SO Gabriela Triant earned a 2-foot breakthrough, adding to the Gaucho's success in this event. She hit a mark of 37'5".
In the throws, Stephen Leach earned a bronze medal in the Discus at the Mt. Sac Relays with a throw of 171'9".
And last but not least, JR transfer Jerry Johnson enjoyed a PB in the Shot Put with a heave of 50'11" at Bryan Clay.
The Gauchos will rest a week before heading up north to the annual Cal Poly Dual on April 29 where they will take on the Mustangs in an exciting rivalry clash. Both the Gaucho Men and Women won the 2016 edition of the meet last year and hope to defend their title.