SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The 2018 UC Santa Barbara outdoor track and field season will commence this weekend with the annual tri meet against Westmont College and Pepperdine University on Saturday February 17th. The tri meet will be hosted once again at Westmont College with the competition starting at 10:30 a.m. with the men's hammer throw as the first field event. Running events will begin at 12:00 p.m. with the women's 4x100m relay. The meet will be scored 7-5-4-3-2-1 with two per team scoring in individual events. Relays will be scored 7-5-3.
For those who can't wait until Saturday for some track and field action, UCSB Junior Hope Bender will be competing on Friday February 16th at the USA Indoor Track and Field Championships in the Pentathlon. Hope will be looking to put up a Pentathlon mark sufficient enough to garner a top-16 qualifying mark for the NCAA Indoor Championships in March.
Tri Meet Parking
On campus parking is available with the lot adjacent to track as well as at the Physical Plants and Tennis Courts lots just up the hill from the track. Bus parking will be in the rock area behind the track building. A link to the campus map can be found here.
Returning Conference Scorers
The Gauchos will be returning a grand total of 16 scorers from the Big West Conference Championships last year, including 4 top 3 podium finishes and 2 Big West Conference Individual Champions.
Senior Sike Azu-Irondi comes back after scoring 7th in both the 100m and 200m. He's the current 100m school record holder at 10.55 seconds after breaking the previous 30 year old record at the All-UC Meet, and is also No. 2 all time in the 200m at 21.31 seconds.
Junior James Douglass will be debuting this weekend after capturing 4th in the 800m in 2017 and 6th in the 800m in 2016 when he was a true freshman.
Sophomore Isaiah Lozano took 4th in the 1500m as a true freshman, the highest placing freshman overall in the final.
Sophomore Yousef Baddour placed 6th in the 10000m also as a true freshman.
Junior Joshua Rennick placed 6th in the high jump with a personal best jump of 6' 7 ½".
Junior Zach Nichols placed 6th in the pole vault with a personal best height of 15' 9 ¾".
Junior Kordell Hampton returns after placing 2nd in the discus, a mere 2 cm from a Big West Conference individual title. Kordell also wound up breaking the school record for the discus last year with a mark of 182' 1", a record even older than the 100m school record at 33 years of age.
Senior Chris Ross will hope to move up a spot this year in the javelin after taking an astounding 2nd place with a last round personal best throw of 202' 2" behind teammate and 2017 graduate Matthew Kuskey.
And to round off the men's side, senior Jeff Lam will return after taking 6th in the decathlon with a personal best score of 6630 points.
Senior Jenna Hinkle returns to the track after placing 1st in the 1500m and 2nd in the 800m at the conference meet. Jenna would have an incredible trademark year in 2017 with breaking the school record in the 1500m at 4:16.62 and qualifying for the NCAA Championships in Eugene for the first time, the first woman in UCSB history to qualify in the 1500m for nationals.
Sophomore Katie Camarena placed 7th in the 1500m as a true freshman last year in 4:40.06. She also comes off a huge cross country season after placing 3rd at the conference championships at the 6 kilometer distance in a time of 20:28.
Junior Miranda Ross placed 8th in the 1500m just behind teammate Camarena with a time of 4:40.80.
Sophomore Isa Marshall placed 7th in the 10000m last year in a personal best time of 36:42.01 as a true freshman.
Junior Hope Bender comes back this year after taking the conference title in the 400m hurdles in a personal best time of 58.87, which is currently No. 2 on the all-time list. She was also 2nd in the 100m hurdles in a time of 13.74, also No. 2 on the all-time list.
Sophomore Celeste Wilson placed 6th in the 3000m Steeplechase in a personal best time of 11:00.60 as a true freshman.
Lastly, Senior Kiely Gode captured a pair of 5th place finishes in the hammer and long jump, both being personal best marks of 181' 10" and 19' 1 ½" respectively. Kiely just recently set a new indoor personal best in the long jump with a mark of 19' 5 ½", so she'll be keen to improve that mark soon.
Hope's NCAA Bid
The indoor pentathlon will get underway at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time with the 60m hurdles and will conclude at 3:50 p.m with the 800m. As of writing this article, Hope currently stands at 27th on the NCAA Division 1 descending order list for the indoor pentathlon with 3884 points, a mark she put up at the UW Invitational back in late January. If the Gaucho Junior wishes to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships in March, she will be looking to aim for at least 4,000 plus points to slot herself into the top-16 national rankings. By no means will an extra 100 plus points be a cakewalk, but Assistant Coach Gray Horn speaks with conviction in regards to Hope's abilities to get the job done.