April 11, 2005
A team of 14 men & women Gauchos traveled to the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays this past weekend held at the University of Texas in Austin, TX. One of the largest relay meets of the year in the United States, the Gauchos left Santa Barbara on Thursday morning to compete against some of the top Track & Field programs in the nation. They left Mike A. Meyers Stadium Saturday night with one school record in the Women's Distance Medley (DMR), just missing another in the Men's DMR by one second and competing well in the throwing events, having athletes reach finals in all the throws entered.
Arriving Austin on Thursday at 2pm, the Gauchos got over to the stadium in time for Eugene Bradley (Jr.) to compete in the Men's Hammer Throw. With a little jet lag, Bradley came out and qualified for finals with a toss of 193-05 to finish 7th. The top ten marks in this competition were regional qualifying marks with the top 3 competitors having top ten rankings in the NCAA this year.
Day two marked a rest day for the two distance medley squads, however for the throwers it was just another day in the office. Just getting out of the flights of the Women's Shot Put Section B with a throw of 44-10.75, Heather Quinn (Jr.) went into the finals and on her first throw improved to 45-05.25. Then on her last throw, she went 45-07 to finish 8th. In the Men's Shot Put, Ryan Lockner (Sr.) fired away a toss of 51-11.75 making finals, finishing in 9th position.
Moving on to the Discus competitions, Quinn made finals for the second time tossing the disc 153-02, just missing her personal best of 153-06.75. She finished tied for 6th. Amy Haapenen a couple hours later in section A of the women's Discus, unleashed a seasonal best throw of 165-09 on her last throw in the finals to move up to the 7th position. Her throw currently leads the Big West by about approximately eight feet.
On Saturday, Mike A. Meyers Stadium filled up with a crowd of 22,500 fans for the fourth and final day competition. On the track at 1:05pm the Women's DMR squad lined up to make a run at the school record set in 2001 of 11:44.73 set by now alumni - Jessica Lunt, Jasmine Washington, Alison Pearson and Katie Appenrodt. Breezy conditions welcomed the athletes as the gun went off. Lauren Christman (Jr.) led off in the 1200m leg staying near the front running just under 3:30 for 3 laps. Kylie McCuen (Jr.) then took the baton for the 400m leg racing to a 55.6 keeping the Gauchos up front with Arkansas, Oklahoma, Abilene Christian and Baylor ahead of them.
Lindsay Christman (Jr.) was up next in the 800m leg of the DMR. With the top group slowly pulling away, Christman found a chase pack running the leg in approximately 2:15 racing to the front of the pack in the last 100m. Passing off the baton to Cosette Smith (Sr.) for the final leg, a 1600m, Smith was leading a pack of 5 other women for the first two laps breaking the wind for them. With two laps to go the record was in sight and with some help up front Smith split a 4:57 to finish 6th. The Gauchos final time of 11:40.82 broke the previous school record by four seconds.
On the men's side, the Gauchos DMR began with Mike Chavez (So.) leading off in the 1200m. Running from the back of the pack, Chavez slowly moved up but a pack of four teams had already begun to pull ahead. Splitting a 3:03, he passed off the baton to Ben Armel (Sr.) for the 400m leg. Armel fought off strong sprinters from Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Baylor and LSU splitting just under 49 seconds. Passing the stick over to Tetlo Emen (Jr.) for the 800m leg, Emmen was at this point leading a chase pack of four teams moving up as high as 6th place in the race. The top four teams had already built up a significant lead over the chase pack. Splitting 1:51 in the windy conditions, he passed off to Scott McConville (Jr.) who maintained the 6th place position, racing to a 4:11 split and overall team time of 9:57.01, just missing the school record of 9:56 set in 1972 by Wayne Snyder, Mike Macy, Steve Bushley and Carl Gans.
Finishing off the day for the Gauchos, Haapanen competed in Section A of Women's Shot Put finishing in 9th place, qualifying for finals with a throw of 48-02. The Gauchos in the midst of a busy travel schedule, travel next to Azusa Pacific for a multi's competition on Wednesday, followed by the prestigious Mt. Sac Invitational in Walnut, CA and the Pomona Invitational in Pomona, CA over the weekend. The Big West Championships are just over four weeks away.