SEATTLE, Wash.--As one of the most anticipated indoor meets of the year, over a thousand entries, many of them Olympians, world-class athletes and NCAA Champions participated in the Unversity of Washington Invite at the Dempsey Indoor Stadium on Friday, Jan. 27.
The Gauchos had a great showing after day one's pentathlon event, with senior Barbara Nwaba setting plenty of standards and breaking her own school record in the pentathlon. Nwaba's score of 4,244 earned her second in the event (first collegiately) and is currently ranked number two in NCAA Divison I. Nwaba's indoor high jump mark of 6-0.5 is ranked the third highest in the entire country and also breaks the indoor high jump UCSB record.
Coming off of a redshirt outdoor season, Nwaba has been more excited than ever to get back on the track and in her Gaucho Blue and Gold jersey and she has everything to be proud of after her performance on Friday. Nwaba set a new personal best in both the 60m hurdles and the high jump and improved on her previous school record of 4,140 by over 100 points which she set at the University of Washington Invite last season. Nwaba has surpassed the NCAA qualifying mark of the Indoor Championships again, becoming the first UCSB athlete ever to qualify twice for the Indoor Championships. Nwaba placed ninth overall in the Indoor Championships last year with her score of 4,020. With the score she earned on Friday, she would have been ranked fifth in the nation.
In terms of her intense training regimen, Nwaba's "training is set up more so she is ready to go for the outdoor season in June but it hasn't changed drastically [over the season]. The longer you train, the more refined you can get in the work out due to having a big base underneath her already. Everytime we train, we're looking for an objective and she has done a great job reaching those," comments Associate Head Coach, Josh Priester.
Nwaba placed first in the high jump with a personal best clearance of 6-0.5 and breaking the indoor high jump school record. She also set a new personal best in the 60m hurdles where she clocked in a blazing 8.59 which was the second fastest time in that event. Nwaba placed third in the shot put, her farthest throw measuring 42-1.25. In the long jump, she tied for fifth place, with her best mark at 17-10.75. Nwaba ran 2:20.52 in the 800m.
Entering her last year of eligibility in both indoor and outdoor track and field, Nwaba's first goal will be to score even higher at the NCAA Indoor Championships March 9-10 in Nampa, Idaho.
Also making a strong appearance at the Univeristy of Washington Invite was Senior Maureen Ajoku who placed fifth overall in the pentathlon with a score of 3,688. Maureen Ajoku in her last indoor season as Gaucho, improved her previous pentathlon score by over 200 points and setting a personal best in the 60m hurdles.
Stay tuned for day two of the University of Washington Invite on Jan. 28, Saturday where the rest of the women will be competing in several different indoor events.