April 6, 2007
UCSB Track and Field hosted their second home meet of the season Friday, the Big West Challenge Cup. On the men's side the Gauchos took first with 189 points followed by Cal State Fullerton with 170 points, next was Long Beach State with 168 points and UC Irvine finished with 145 points. This is the first title in the year history of the Cup for the UC Santa Barbara men as they produced 4 new regional marks pushing their season total to 9 qualifying marks. Not to be outdone the UCSB women were victorious with 210 points to Long Beach's 205 followed by Fullerton with 143 points and Irvine with 118 points. The Gaucho women won their fifth consecutive Challenge Cup and upped their total of regional qualifying marks from 9 to 10.
The men started quickly on the track with a UC Santa Barbara school record 40.94 in the 4 x 100 meters for second place. Sophomore Scott Smith gave a great performance of his own in the 1500 meters with a NCAA regional qualifying 3:47.71 good for second place. Another regional mark for the Gaucho distance squad came in the form of senior Mike Chavez's 8:59.90 in the steeple for a 17 plus second win and his second regional qualifier of the season.
Brian Sung, a freshman from West Torrance, won the high hurdles at home for the second time this season with a personal best of 15.42 into a head wind. UCSB men's 4 x 400 meter relay team that featured Kris Shirley, Ryan Donnelly, Max Bellissimo and Jason Newland closed out the day on the track crossing the line first in a time of 3:14.49.
Field events for the Gaucho men proved just as fruitful as senior Kyle Baker ignited the infield with a huge 214' 4" in the javelin. Baker's mark was a 20-foot personal best, a regional qualifying mark and ranks him second in the Big West. Challenge Cup also marked the return of senior Eugene Bradley in the hammer with an awesome throw of 210' 3" first place finish and a regional qualifying mark that sits him atop the Big West rankings.
On the women's side, junior Bethany Nickless got the meet off to a great start with a win in the first of the day, the women's 3000-meter steeplechase. Nickless's time of 10:30.68 in a race she won by 37 seconds is her second regional qualifying mark of the year. Sophomore Danielle Domenichelli took the 1500 in a time of 4:30.99 and was second behind freshman Alyssa Brown in the 800 2:14.52 to 2:14.75. For Domenichelli it was her third 1500-meter victory of the season in as many attempts and Brown also won her third 800-meter race this season.
Rounding out women's distance were seniors Stephanie Rothstein and Megan Lewis going 1-2 in the 3000 meters in times of 9:45.44 and 9:45.55. Fresh off their national qualifying 10'000 meters race last week, Rothstein and Lewis dominated the field coming through a full 10 seconds ahead of the closest competitor. Senior Stella Hall in a dominating race of her own took the 400 meter hurdles in 62.21 more than 1.5 seconds in front of her rivals on the track.
In what is becoming common place senior Gaucho Amy Haapanen broke three more of her own school records in the shot put, discus and hammer. Haapanen continues to dominate with marks of 52' 2" in the shot for first place, 170' 2" in the discus for second and another conference record in the hammer with an enormous 213' 10" for her second victory of the day. Senior Heather Quinn was just behind Haapanen in all three events finishing second in the shot put(46' 11.75"), third in the discus(149' 10") and second in the hammer(177' 0")
UC Santa Barbara's women's jumpers produced some great marks spearheaded by senior Katie Kramer and freshman Kasey Kearin. Kramer took first in the long jump with a mark of 18' 9" while Kearin took second in both the long jump and triple jump with 18' 6" and 38' 3.25" respectively.
Gaucho track and field completes in split squads next week in Westwood, CA for the Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational and Walnut, CA for the Mt. SAC Relays.