Santa Barbara, Calif. - The annual UC Santa Barbara/Cal Poly Dual Meet ended this past Saturday with victories on both the Gaucho men's and women's sides in front of an ecstatic home crowd filled with parents and and fellow alumni crowding around the newly renovated Pauley Track facility. The warm temperatures and gusting winds seemed to only empower the Gauchos as the performances seemed to strengthen throughout the day, a parade of blue only increasing in volume with each event group performing after the next. The men's team would take their title convincingly with a score of 110 to 85, avenging their loss back from the dual back in 2017, while the women's team would squeeze by lady Mustangs 101.5 to 93.5, making this the third year in a row that they've won this meet.
"Being that this was the first home track meet at UCSB for our athletes in quite some time, along with the fact that it was against Cal Poly, I was anticipating them to perform at a high level," remarked Assistant Distance Coach Darius Terry. "There were incredible performances across the board with some athletes even securing their spots at the preliminary rounds of NCAA Regionals. Most importantly, the men and women's teams both defeated Cal Poly. And now we are headed into our championship portion of the season with a ton of confidence."
UC Santa Barbara 110
Cal Poly 85
UC Santa Barbara 101.5
Cal Poly 93.5
JR Hope Bender threw down a huge time in the women's 100m, running away with the win with a clocking of 11.89. The generous +1.6 m/s tailwind would propel her onto the UCSB all-time list all the way to No. 3 for the event. JR Brittney Johnson would set a personal best behind her in third with a time of 12.10.
JR Shamara Carney would win the women's 400m going away with a time of 56.06, beating her nearest competitor by almost half a second.
SR Jenna Hinkle would tackle the 800m solo from the gun fighting awful headwinds on the backstretch to a time of 2:09.56. She would come back later in the day to also win the 3000m in 9:54.31.
SO Katie Camarena would win the women's 1500m in a time of 4:33.47, running the last two laps completely solo up front. Teammate JR Miranda Ross would finish in third in 4:37.32, a mere .09 off her personal best. The two would also finish just behind Hinkle in the 3000m in times of 10:00.17 and 10:09.04, making it a 1-2-3 Gaucho sweep of the event.
SO Ruby Mandell had a good day in both hurdle events, taking third in the 100m hurdles in 14.73 (just .01 off her personal best), and winning the 400m hurdles in 1:03.82, gapping the field by almost two seconds.
SR Kiely Gode would lead a Gaucho sweep of the first through fifth placings in the hammer throw with a mark of 53.36m (175' 1"). Behind Gode, SO Samantha Ruggles would have one of her best performances in a Gaucho uniform, throwing personal bests in the hammer, discus, as well as the shot put all on the same day. Her hammer throw best of 48.04m (157' 7 ¼") in particular was a conference qualifier, her first one of this year.
Gode would go on later in the day to post up a huge lifetime best in the long jump with a mark of 6.34m (20' 9 ¾"), this jump coming only a week after her huge 6.16m mark just last week. Gode would lead a few more Gauchos in this event to lifetime bests with almost the entire long jump squadron following suit, starting with SO Josephine Graeber with a 5.89m (19' 4") jump, followed by SO Sabina Dayal in 5.76m (18' 10 ¾"), and JR Brittney Johnson ending the train of lifetime best marks with 5.71m (18' 9").
SR Kayla Thayer would win the shot put in a mark of 14.21m (46' 7 ¼"), leading the Gauchos to another sweep of the first through fourth placings in the event.
FR Chris Howard would take his first ever collegiate victory in the men's 200m, setting a new personal best in 22.08. He would also set a personal best in the 100m, dipping under 11 seconds for the first time along with teammate SO Ryan Morgan with respective times of 10.94 and 10.95 to take third and fourth overall.
FR Stephen Garcia set yet again another personal best in the 400m to take second with a time of 49.03. This now marks as the fifth meet this year where Garcia has set a personal best in the event.
SR Patrick Bourke won the men's 1500m in an epic clash between Cal Poly SR Peter Cotsirilos, edging out the Mustang by .12 seconds in a time of 3:48.90. Following designated rabbit FR Thomas Wilfert through the first 1000m, Bourke would shadow Cotsirilos' shoulder all the way to the final 200m before the seasoned Gaucho would take the lead for the first time. The two would electrify the crowd to an absolutely stunning final 100 meters, exchanging the lead three different times on the homestretch until Bourke would just nip him at the line.
FR Jarett Chinn would finish the best of the rest in 3rd behind Bourke in 3:56.08. Chinn would double back later on in the 800m to win with an excellent kick in the last 200m with a time of 1:52.35. Bourke would also double back but in the 3000m, going away with a time of 8:59.45.
FR Nick Randazzo would have a breakout performance in the men's steeplechase, taking the win in a time of 9:27.47, a personal best by over 11 seconds.
The men's jumpers would cover all three wins today with the likes of JR Joshua Rennick and FR Brook Surafel, Rennick covering the high and triple jump while Brook took the long jump. Brook's performance in the long jump would be his first event victory as a collegiate athlete.
SO Christopher Ruggles would have a huge day in the shot put taking the win with a throw of 16.63m (54' 7 ¼"). Not only did that throw move him onto the UCSB all-time list for the first time in his career (No. 8), it moved him up all the way to fourth on the Big West Outdoor Performance list, slotting him into contention for a podium finish at conference.
JR Kordell Hampton would take double victories in the discus and hammer throw along with a second place finish in the shot put. His throw in the hammer of 55.96 (183' 7") would just edge out fellow teammate SR Austin Sahs for the win, Sahs setting a new personal best just .01m behind in 55.95m.
FR Chase Tarr and SR Chris Ross would end up going 1-2 in the men's javelin throw, Chase taking the win over Ross in an eye popping throw of 64.29m (210' 11"), absolutely obliterating his previous best by almost 8 meters. Almost verbally commanding the javelin as it soared through the air, the excitable freshman would let out a roar of exhilaration much to the delight of all the spectators as the mark was announced right after this season changing throw, propelling him all the way up to No. 1 on the Big West Outdoor Performance List for javelin and No. 29 on the NCAA Division 1 West Regional list, all but guaranteeing a trip to regionals.
The countdown to the Big West Conference Championships starts now with the Big West Conference Multis happening next Friday on May 4th while the main program will begin the Friday after on May 11th.