April 6, 2008
STANFORD, Calif. -- At the largest and most competitive meet of the season thus far, several members of the UCSB track team turned in their best performances to-date. The Stanford Invitational took place this past weekend on Friday and Saturday, and the Gauchos picked up three more Regional-qualifying marks to increase their total on the season to five.
Longtime distance runner Chris Ashley got his comeback season rolling by setting a new personal best in the 5000m. He crossed the line in 14:03.26, his fastest time since 2006 when he ran a 14:03.79. His time meets the NCAA Regional-qualifying standard of 14:12, and inches him closer to UCSB's school record of 14:00.00, which was set more than a decade ago.
Danielle Domenichelli had a commendable performance in the 5000m as well, running a 16:39.20 to finish second in her section. She ran one of the fastest races of the meet among collegiate athletes, and she has now met the Regional-qualifying standard of 16:52.00. Her time also sits in the UCSB record books at 7th on the all-time list, and she is now in the books in two events (1500m and 5000m).
Friday night in the steeplechase, Michael Powers took fourth in his section with a seasonal-best time of 9:05.37, which was better than several of the competitors in the top section. The brisk pace of the race was set up perfectly for hitting the Regional-qualifying standard of 9:07, with the athletes working together in the early stages to give themselves a chance at bettering that mark. Powers was among seven athletes who had enough left in the tank to finish the race strongly and qualify for Regionals.
Freshman Barbara Nwaba had a strong showing in her first trip to Stanford, taking eighth in the entire meet in the 400m hurdles. She ran a 62.79, a gutsy performance for a freshman at a meet of this size.
In the throwing events, Jeff Stewart stayed consistent in the shot put by taking third place in the top section. He threw 56'5.25" (17.20m) on his fourth attempt. Matt Barkley also threw well once again, hitting 55'7.75" (16.96m) on his first attempt to finish in fifth place.
In the throws for the women, Kayla Smith was the winner of Section B in the women's shot put, throwing 46'4.75" (14.14m) to top the field.
This upcoming Friday, the Gauchos will be looking to defend their team titles in the Big West Challenge Cup. This meet was originally scheduled to take place on Saturday at Cal State Fullerton, but the date, time, and location have all been changed. The meet will now take place on Friday at UC Irvine. Details on the time schedules for specific events and races will be posted soon.
-- www.UCSBgauchos.com --