Barkley and Stewart Set Regional Marks at the Soka Invite, as the Gauchos Continue to Pick Up Conference Qualifiers

March 10, 2008

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ALISO VIEJO, Calif. -- Matt Barkley and Jeff Stewart led the way for the UCSB track and field teams this past Saturday, as the two of them picked up NCAA Regional qualifying marks in the shot put. These are the first Regional marks of the season for the Gaucho track program. The UCSB throwers have been dominant in the shot put over the last few seasons, and these performances are an indication of a continuance in that tradition.

Barkley saved his best for last, throwing the shot 56'4.5" (17.18m) on his final attempt to earn himself a new lifetime best. It was the furthest mark of the day in the shot put. Stewart's best throw wasn't far behind, hitting 56'0" (17.07m) for second place. Hector Serrano also had his best performance of the season, throwing 50'5.50" for third place and a ticket to the Conference Championships.

It was a good day for the women's high jumpers, with all five athletes clearing at least 5'2" to sweep the top-five in the event. Leading the way was junior Jane Doolittle, who set a new collegiate career best by clearing 5'8". She moved up to number three on the UCSB all-time high jump list, and is only two centimeters away from qualifying for Regionals.

Senior Lauri Schakett has now qualified for Conference in both hurdle races, as her time of 15.12 in the 100m hurdles meets the Big West standard. She had already qualified for the 400m hurdles last weekend at the All-Cal Challenge. Barbara Nwaba also earned a trip to Conference in the 100m hurdles, finishing right behind Schakett with a time of 15.22.

After a turning in a solid performance in the 800m last week, Ryan Martin got to display his natural speed this time around by running a 48.96 in the 400m dash. That is the fastest time in the 400m for the Gauchos this season, and is also fast enough to take a spot in the 400m field at Conference, should Martin decide to run it.

Another Big West time was eclipsed by Salim Benmohamed, who ran a 1:54.33 in the 800m to take the victory. Also of note in the 800m was the race run by Sheneice Vargas, who had a time of 2:21.45 in her first appearance in that event. She usually runs the shorter sprinting events, so her performance was commendable for a first-time effort.

Other notable performances included Kayla Smith throwing 118'9" in the javelin to qualify for Conference, Andrew Johnston winning both men's hurdle races, Jeff Stewart throwing his furthest mark of the season in the hammer at 177'5", Sarah Roth taking the 3000m in 10:48.37, and Jayson Hayes winning the first 5000m of the season with a time of 15:09.69.

This Saturday, March 15, the Gauchos will be hosting a dual meet against UC Davis here at UCSB. The field events begin at 9:00 a.m., and the running events begin at noon. A full schedule of events will be posted on UCSBgauchos.com later in the week. Come out and support the track squads in their final home meet of the season.

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