March 16, 2008
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- The Gauchos and the Aggies got together for a track meet this past Saturday, and the Aggies came out on top in the men's and women's team competitions. The score of the women's competition was UC Davis 101, UCSB 85, and the score of the men's competition was UC Davis 103, UCSB 85. There were a few more athletes entered into the men's field events, which accounts for the slight difference in the total points awarded.
One of the best efforts of the day came from Barbara Nwaba, who continued to impress in her freshman season. This time she won both hurdle races in personal-best times. In the 100m hurdles, she pulled away from UC Davis's Chelsea Azevedo at the 6th hurdle, getting over cleanly and crossing the line in 15.01. The wind readouts were not available immediately after the meet, but Nwaba's time is the 9th fastest in school history if the wind was legal. Nwaba would go on to win the 400m hurdles in 62.48, a time that is officially the 7th-fastest in school history. She ran most of the race in second place, but was able to catch Natalie Russell of UC Davis on the home stretch to take the victory.
The men's 5000m was a good distance battle, with Tim Aukshunas coming out on top for the Gauchos. The first seven laps were tightly packed, with all the runners sticking close together and finding their rhythms. Aukshunas was forced to stay on the outside to avoid getting boxed-in, and was essentially running in lane 2 for the first 2000 meters. With about six laps to go, Jonathan Peterson of UC Davis made a move and tried to break away, but Aukshunas and Julian DeRubira were able to catch him and leave everyone else behind. Aukshunas would then stage his own breakaway with about two laps to go, giving himself a twenty meter lead. Peterson fought back and managed to close the gap to about two seconds, but Aukshunas would hold on for the win in 14:28.69. DeRubira's time of 14:39.54 was a new personal record for himself, and also a Conference qualifier.
The sprinters shined in the 400m, where Sheneice Vargas improved her time by almost three seconds, running a 57.08 to finish second. She has now reached the record books as well, as her time is good for the 10th position on the UCSB all-time list. Ryan Martin had an even faster time in the 400m this week, clocking in at 48.75 to win the event. This is the second week in a row that Martin, who usually competes in the 800m, has run the 400m in under 49 seconds.
In the field, Kayla Smith had her best day of the year in the shot put, throwing 46'3.5" (14.11m) for the win. That is a new personal record and moves her a little bit closer to former standout Heather Quinn's mark on the all-time list. Smith is now approximately 7.5 inches away from qualifying for the NCAA Regionals in the shot put.
Another good field performance came from Missy Burley in the pole vault, as she jumped 10'11.75" (3.35m) to finish in second place. That mark meets the Big West qualifying standard, so Missy will be able to compete in the Conference Championships. Likewise in the men's pole vault, Brian Rother jumped 15'7" (4.75m) in a Conference-qualifying performance, taking the victory. He had a few good looks at a 16 foot bar and is getting closer to eclipsing that barrier.
Elmer Guzman improved his seasonal best in the 400m hurdles by running a 54.98, as he continues to recover from an injury and regain his fitness level. He finished the race in second place. Andrew Johnston was third in the race with a time of 55.24, which is also a seasonal best for him.
Other winners on the day included Salim Benmohamed in the 800m (1:58.56), Jeff Stewart in the hammer throw (173'10") and shot put (55'9"), Amanda Lee in the long jump (17'5"), and Christina Nowak in the high jump (5'5").
Next weekend, the Gauchos will travel to USC for the USC Trojan Invitational. The multi-event athletes will also be competing in the first decathlons/heptathlons of the season next week.
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