April 21, 2006
On a cold, windy, Eugene, OR evening, the Oregon Invitational's Distance Carnival took place under the lights at the world renowned Hayward Field on the University of Oregon's campus. With some of the best in the country in attendance, the Gauchos slated to compete had their eyes not only on obtaining NCAA Regional Qualifying marks but also on the idea that they too would get to race on a track, which legends have graced for decades.
In the Women's 5,000m race, Megan Lewis (Jr.) and Stephanie Rothstein (Jr.) were set to go tonight fresh off great personal bests three weeks ago at the Stanford Invitational. Lewis hit the NCAA Regional Qualifying mark and Big West leading time in the 5k (16:32) while Rothstein obliterated the UCSB and Big West 10k records (33:27), racing to the 10th fastest mark in the U.S. at that distance in 2006.
Just after the gun went off, Rosemary Ryan of the Greater Boise Racing Club darted into the lead where she would stay for some time. A few meters back, Lewis and Rothstein would head the chase pack as they traded pace duties for the first half of the race in the windy conditions. With five laps remaining, Rothstein would slip back a few spots as Lewis put a few meters on the chase pack. She would inch toward the leader every step she took.
With two laps remaining Lewis would catch Ryan and go past as her as Ryan would tuck in right behind poised for a final kick. Coming up strong behind the two leaders was Ashley Vincent of Portland. At the bell lap, Vincent was right behind them taking the lead with 350 meters to go. It appeared Vincent and Ryan had pulled away from Lewis for good but the now veteran Gaucho would come back on them the final 100m. Coming down the homestretch with a chance at winning at Hayward Field she would not relinquish the fight.
Lewis was neck and neck with Vincent as the two began to run out of track. Ryan had fallen back. At the tape it was Lewis grabbing the win by .14 seconds over Vincent, winning in a time of 16:28.28. Rothstein fell back to 6th place finishing nonetless in a NCAA Regional Qualifying mark and personal best time of 16:44.88. Her time is the #9 UCSB All-Time mark.
Realizing a dream that athletes visualize throughout their careers, she would take the traditional victory lap around Hayward Field made famous by world class athletes that have raced at the venue and toss winner's t-shirt into the track-savvy fans of Eugene, OR. Lewis now leads the Big West over teammates Seanna Martin and Rothstein, while unofficially being ranked 26th in the NCAA and 6th in the West Region.
A couple races before the Women's 5,000m, Bethany Nickless (So.) toed the line in the Women's 3,000m steeplechase. Two weeks ago at the Big West Challenge Cup, she had lowered her school record in the steeple to 10:42 cruising to a win over her Big West foes. Tonight she would take on some of the country's best hoping to drop her time even further.
With the windy conditions, the race had strung out rapidly and half way into the race Nickless was left to fend for herself in no-woman's land as the leaders had broken away considerably. Used to running by herself as she did two weeks ago, Nickless kept charging away. Coming home strong at Hayward Field, she would drop her school record by ten more seconds to 10:32.33 finishing 8th, but 4th collegiate. Her time now leads the Big West by over half a second and is unofficially 21st in NCAA competition and 6th in the West Region.
Other results coming in tonight for the Gauchos at the Oregon Invitational include:
Section 1: Seanna Martin - 4:44.34, 8th place, Seasonal Best
Section 2: Hadas Moser - 4:35.57, 7th place, just off seasonal best
Men's High Jump
Jacob Maus(Competed Friday, Results Not Available as of 11:30pm)
Saturday's Gaucho Competitors:
Women's 200m Dash
Men's 200m Dash
Women's 400m Dash
Men's 400m Dash
Women's 400m Hurdles
Hall, Gamble, Geiger, McCuen
Men's Long Jump
Women's Shot Put
Men's Shot Put
Women's Discus Throw