Usgaard Finishes Strong in Heptathlon: Gauchos Wrap-Up Successful Week

Tori Usgaard (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Tori Usgaard (Photo by Tony Mastres)

Azusa, Calif- The Gauchos ended a successful three day run of season best performances on Friday evening at the Bryan Clay Invitational at Azusa Pacific. In a busy week where UCSB athletes were competing in two different venues, each competition produced new season best marks and added new wealth to the UCSB all-time list. As the first wave of Gauchos finished the combined events at APU on Thursday afternoon, the distance unit took the track at the Mt. Sac Relays under the evening lights. On Friday, the entire squad was reunited at the Bryan Clay Invite which started at 9am with the women's pole vault and concluded at 9:10pm with the women's 5000m. 

In total, seven new performances were added to the UCSB top ten all-time lists. 

Vaziri Sets New UCSB 1500m Gold Standard  
At 7pm Friday night, one hundred and twenty-nine distance runners from around the nation assembled at APU to toe the line searching for national qualifying times. There were eight different sections seeded from the fastest to the slowest based on entered times. To add perspective of how good the fields were, Shyan Vaziri was ranked 19th in the NCAA coming into the meet, yet ran in the second fastest section of the Clay Invite. It didn't matter. Vaziri showed once again just how strong his rhythmic finishing stride is by rewriting the UCSB 1500m record to the tune of 3:42.44. 

Vaziri broke the school record held by Mike Chavez of 3:43.80, set in 2007. 

The Clay Invite 1500m's were so fast that in comparison only three collegiate athletes surpassed Vaziri's time while running at the Mt. Sac Relays on Friday- in the Elite section. 

Well done Azusa Pacific for assembling such a talented field. 

Successful Outing for the Gaucho Heptathletes and Decathletes
Tori Usgaard set a new personal best score in the heptathlon of 4968. Usgaard ran a lifetime best 14.28 in the 100m hurdles to kick off the first day of competition and stayed steady throughout the two day meet. Her day two marks were 17' in the long jump, 107'1 in the javelin and 2:16.25 in the 800m. Usgaard's score ranks third all-time in UCSB history. 

Ikechi Okpara and Darion Williams competed in the California Invitational "B" section of the decathlon. Williams scored 6184. Okpara finished with a score of 6070. 

Williams won the section in the 110m hurdles at 15.43 and used a 168'7 javelin throw to rack up his final point total. 

Okpara had a workman like second day after hitting a new personal best in the high jump at 6'6.25 on day one. 

Assistant Coach, Annett Fleming, scored 5918 in the Mt. Sac Heptathlon to finish fourth. Fleming's score was a new personal best, eclipsing her previous best of 5851 set back in 2012 when she won the Mt. Sac Heptathlon title. 

Former Gaucho, Barbara Nwaba won the Mt. Sac Heptathlon with a big second day. Nwaba scored 6043 to set a new lifetime best. Nwaba now joins Fleming on a coveted list of heptathletes who have won this prestigious competition at Azusa Pacific, including Jackie Joyner-Kersee. 

Nwaba currently sits second on the world heptathlon list. Fleming is 7th. 

Guijarro Takes Third at Mt. Sac in Olympic Development Elite 10k 
Running in a section with talented up and coming runners, Bryan Guijarro took third overall and set a new personal best in the 10,000m. Guijarro ran 29:38.39 over the 10k distance of just over 6 miles. Running 71 second laps, Guijarro worked to shave a few seconds off his previous best of 29:41.04, his NCAA qualifying time from one year ago. 

This spring, Guijarro has set new best times in the 800m (1:54.95), 3000m (8:23.55), 5000m (14:25.39) and now in the 10k. 

Mt. Sac Results 

Rausa Dips under Nine, Nails the 8 Double
Bryce Rausa absolutely went off this week for the Gauchos. Seeded in the University/Open "A" section at the Mt. Sac Relays in the 3000m steeplechase, Rausa ran a lifetime best 8:57.94. He finished second overall in the field of 24 talented runners. This was the first steeple performance under nine minutes for Rausa, making him the seventh Gaucho overall and the sixth under Pete Dolan's watch to eclipse the standard. Rausa's time is the fastest for a Gaucho since All-American Julian deRubira in 2010. 

Seventy-six runners assembled at the Clay Invite for the men's 800m. Coming back from Thursday night's steeple with less than 24 hours rest, Rausa stepped back to the line on Friday to take on the field in the 800m. Showing the strength he has gathered from three progressive training seasons under Dolan's watch, Rausa ran 1:51.94 for a new lifetime best while taking second overall in the competition. 

Clay Invite Highlights
Kathleen Guzman started the morning field events for the Gauchos with a new 148'8 lifetime best in the women's discus on her first throw of the competition. 

Katie Lee jumped a new personal best in the women's pole vault with a leap of 11'10.5. 

Denley Rodriguez found a new best in the men's shot put with a heave of 50'8. 

Jake Vowels ran 10.99 in the men's 100m dash. 

The trio of Winton NguyenKarlon Johnson and Eric Severiano all dipped under 49 seconds in the 400m for the first time this year at the same meet. Nguyen led the group with a 48.63. Johnson finished at 48.80. Severiano broke the tape at 48.90. 

Greg Dotson ran 1:52.87 to take fifth overall in the men's 800m. Dotson has been looking for a momentum builder and found it Friday at APU, displaying the solid closing stride of a talented mid-distance specialist. 

In the women's 800m, Tori Tsolis continued her hot streak running 2:12.39 for a new lifetime best and only .14 from breaking into the UCSB all-time list. 

In the men's 1500m, Andrew Verdin broke the tape at 3:53.13, charging hard to the finish.Tommy Poston came in at 3:56.26 for a new season best. Anthony Monroy ran 3:56.97 for a new season best. George Baier came in at 3:57.94, also a seasons best. Brad Littooy ran 3:58.65 and freshman, Jack Morgenson ran 3:59.86 to round out the group of seven Gauchos under 4 minutes including Vaziri. 

In the evening 5000m, Jackson Bright ran 14:45.67 to set a new lifetime best in the event. Bright was the Cal-Nevada Champion in the 10,000m. Adam Avila ran 14:58.59. Patrick Bourke ran 15:03.08. Abel Mogesse came in at 15:05.44. 


NCAA Qualifying Information
The NCAA Preliminary Championship or "First Round" is held at two sites based on a regional index set by the NCAA. There are two locations: East and West. Athletes in those regions can qualify for the Preliminary Round by finishing the regular season (which ends after the conference weekend in May) ranked in the top-48 in their event. The top 24 relays will advance into the preliminary round. 

All marks are updated and stored in one database, TFRRS. Track and Field Results Reporting System. 

At the preliminary site, which will be Fayetteville for the Gauchos in the West Region, the top-12 athletes or relays in each event will advance to the NCAA Final. 

Athletes are not qualified for the Preliminary Round until after the super conference weekend (third weekend in May this season) is concluded and athletes are declared into the meet. 

Next Up: Cal Poly Dual 
The Gauchos will be off next week before returning to action May 3rd in San Luis Obispo for the Cal Poly Dual Meet.