Josh Priester enters his third season on the track & field coaching staff at UCSB in 2010-2011. Priester is the coach for the men's and women's sprinters, hurdlers, horizontal jumpers and heptathletes.
Priester came to Santa Barbara from George Fox University, an NCAA Div. III program in Newberg, Oregon. Priester coached at his alma mater starting in 2006. He coached the sprints, hurdles and relays and co-coached the multi-event athletes.
During his time at GFU, the sprints and hurdles group had great success in the Northwest Conference. In 2008, GFU athletes won conference crowns in both the men's and women's 400 meters, 400m hurdles, 4x100m and the men's decathlon. At the national level, GFU qualified seven sprinters and hurdlers for the 2008 NCAA Div. III Championships.
In addition to coaching at George Fox, Priester also served as the athletic departments first Strength and Conditioning Coach, working with the majority of the varsity programs. He was an Assistant Professor of Health and Human Performance at both George Fox and Chemeketa Community College.
As an athlete, Priester was an NCAA Div. III All-American in the decathlon with a personal best of 7016. Priester earned his Master's degree in Sports Science from the United States Sports Academy in Daphne, Ala., and he earned his Bachelor's in Health and Human Performance from George Fox.
UCSB 2010 Profile
The 2010 season marked Priester's second year on staff at UCSB and athletes under his leadership continued to set new standards in the sprints, hurdles and jumps in Santa Barbara. Junior Barbara Nwaba went on to capture UCSB's first Big West Championship in the Women's Heptathlon with a score of 5,552 eclipsing her own school record from 2009 by more than 500 points. Nwaba went on to place 12th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships making her the first UCSB Heptathlete in school history to earn All American Honors. In June, Nwaba became the first Gaucho to represent UCSB in the women's heptathlon at the USA Outdoor National Championships in Des Moines, Iowa. In addition to the heptathlon, Nwaba also captured the Big West Championship in the 400 meter hurdles.
The men's 4x400 relay team of Andre Pinon, Alvin Go, Jimmy Martin and Ryan Martin reached the NCAA quarterfinals in Austin, Texas and went on to break a 42 year old school record by running a 3:09.18. Freshman Jimmy Martin and Senior Drew Johnston represented UCSB at the First Round of the NCAA Championships in the 400 meter hurdles. Martin ended his freshman year with a time of 51.92. Johnston improved from 54.08 his junior year to 51.96 his senior year. The sophomore pair of Tamara Thomas and Tayler Williams made big strides in the women's triple jump in a year that saw the school record broken 6 times in that event. Williams went on to capture All Conference Honors by placing 3rd at the Big West Championships. Thomas finished the year with a new school and personal record jump of 41'03.25.
The women's 4x400 relay team broke a UCSB record at the Big West Championships by running a 3:43.59. The Gaucho relay team consisted of Barbara Nwaba (Junior), Jennifer Carey (Freshman), Cherelle McMillian (Freshman) and Sheneice Vargas (Junior). The women's heptathlon crew made big waves at the Big West Championships by amassing 17 points in the event after finishing 1st , 5th, and 6th. In all, 18 Gauchos earned spots on All Time UCSB lists in 2010.
UCSB 2009 Profile
In his first season with the Gauchos, Priester coached one Western Regional Qualifier, Three All-Big West Performances, and three school records. Sophomore Barbara Nwaba broke UCSB records in the heptathlon (5039 points), 100 meter hurdles (14.21) and the 400 meter hurdles (60.91). Nwaba went on to place second in the high jump at the Big West Championships with a regional qualifying jump of 1.75 meters; she also placed third at the Big West Conference meet in the heptathlon with 5000 points even.
The Men's 4x400m squad improved to third place at the Big West Conference Championships running the second-fastest time in UCSB history. The team of Max Bellisimo, Jason Newland, Alvin Go and Ryan Martin ran 3:10.56. In the women's 4x400m, The Gauchos also took third at Conference with an improved time of 3:45.97. That relay consisted of Sheneice Vargas, Dominique Augustus, Lauren Kodama, and Barbara Nwaba.
Senior Jason Newland improved on the all-time UCSB top 10 list in the 100 meters and 200 meters to place fifth and second at the Big West Championship Meet. Newland ran 10.68 and 21.45 respectively. Thirteen Gauchos also earned places on the UCSB all-time top 10 List during the 2009 season.