May 27, 2005
The 2005 NCAA West Regional Championships got underway Friday, May 27th at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene. Track Town USA welcomed the Wests' best in collegiate track & field going head to head for National Qualifying berths.
For the Gauchos day one saw two automatic qualifiers in the women's 5000m and one unofficial at-large in the women's Hammer Throw. National qualifiers will move onto the Division I Championships in a week and a half in Sacramento, CA.
In the women's 5000m, Cosette Smith (Sr.) and Lauren Christman (Jr.) finished 3rd and 4th respectively nabbing automatic qualifying spots. After a very slow first 800m, Smith ran a time of 16:44.19. Christman finished alongside her with a mark of 16:44.36. Megan Lewis (So.) ran a great race finishing in 6th with a personal best 16:49.75.
Although she finished 6th, the women in the West Region had run faster times earlier in the season and a blazing East Region 5000m final will most likely keep her out the National Championships. Lindsay Christman (Jr.) the fourth Gaucho in the event, came down with breathing problems, as Eugene is known for its high pollen count. She managed a 10th place finish in 17:17.72.
Amy Haapanen (Jr.) started the day off for the Gauchos in the Women's Hammer Throw by again going for over 190 feet. A tough West Region kept her back in 7th place with a final mark of 193-01. Unofficially her mark will take her to Sacramento in a week and a half. Heather Quinn (Jr.) finished 15th with a throw of 178-09 feet.
The 800m was up and down for the Gauchos as defending West Region Champ Tetlo Emmen (Jr.) qualified easily for finals out of the first heat. But, in heat two, Ben Armel (Sr.) unorthodoxly eased up in the last 20m finishing 3rd. A faster first heat led Armel to become the first person out of Saturday's finals.
Armel running his last race for the Gauchos was one of the most decorated middle distance runners in UCSB history as a four time Big West Champion (3 in the 800m, 1 in the 4x400m relay). He was also a 2004 NCAA National Qualifier and hit the USA Olympic Trials "B" standard that year with a 1:48.00.
Other great performances included Gabe Mann (Jr.) in the Men's Javelin in which he qualified for finals after a second attempt throw of 210 feet. Hobbling on a pulled groin he was able to surpass his personal best by over three feet, landing him a 7th place finish in his first season on the UCSB Track & Field team. Unofficially his mark is 8th on the at-large list and traditionally the Javelin would take only six athletes.
A smoking first 200m in under twenty four seconds of the women's 400m prelims by Kylie McCuen (Jr.) led to her slowest time of 2005 keeping her out of Saturday's finals. However, McCuen bounced back in the 200m later in the evening qualifying for finals in 24.50 with a -2.2 wind.
Ryan Donnelly (So.) went long at the Big West Championships qualifying himself for the West Regional Championships. In Eugene he again had good jumps qualifying him for finals in his first Regional appearance. His mark of 23-10 put him in 9th place just five inches out of the top eight. His personal best of 24-07 at Conference was the longest jump at UCSB since 1994.
In the Men's 1500m prelims, both Scott McConville (Jr.) and Mike Chavez (So.) concluded their season finishing 17th and 26th respectively. McConville in 2005 became the School Record holder in this event, the metric mile, with a mark of 3:46.77.
Competition on Day 2 begins for the Gauchos at 11am with the women's discus throw. Haapanen and Quinn will be starting the day off.