March 11, 2009

UCSB Hosts Sam Adams Combined Events, Scott Smith Named Big West Athlete of the Week

March 11, 2009

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The Schedule
Friday March 13 - Saturday March 14, 2009
Sam Adams Combined Events
at Pauley Track, UC Santa Barbara

On the Horizon
Saturday March 21, 2009
USC Trojan Invitational
at Katherine B. Loker Stadium, USC

Last Time
At the Ben Brown Invitational at Cal State Fullerton, the Gauchos' Barbara Nwaba and Scott Smith entered the UCSB record books with great early-season performances in their respective events. Nwaba set a personal best of 14.94 in the 100m hurdles to reach eighth all-time for UCSB, and Smith set a personal best of 14:14.09 in the 5000m to also reach eighth all-time.

This Weekend's Meet
UCSB will be hosting the Sam Adams Combined Events--a decathlon and heptathlon competition--this weekend at Pauley Track. This will be the first opportunity of the season for UCSB's decathletes and heptathletes to set official collegiate marks.

Behind the Name
The Sam Adams Combined Events meet is held in honor of former UCSB coach Sam Adams, who arrived as an assistant in 1959. With the exception of a three-year period, he was head coach of track & field and cross country from 1964-1992. During his tenure he guided numerous athletes to All-American status and NCAA Championship appearances, and in 1967 and 1968 he guided UCSB to second-place finishes in the NCAA College Division Track and Field Championships. In 1982 he was named head coach of the United States National Team, guiding the U.S. in meets against the Soviet Union, East Germany, West Germany and Africa. He also served as the event director of the United States - Soviet Union Multi-Event Meet, which was hosted by UCSB at Pauley track in 1982. His leadership was integral in bringing the 1975 and 1981 National Decathlon Championships to UCSB. He also served as the manager of the decathlon and heptathlon competitions at the 1984 Olympic Summer Games in Los Angeles.

Smith Named Big West Athlete of the Week
Scott Smith has been named the Big West Athlete of the Week after running 14:14.09 in the 5000m at the Ben Brown Invitational. Smith finished fourth overall and first amongst collegiate athletes with his new 5k personal best. He shares the men's track honor with Thomas Phillips of UC Davis, who posted a Regional-qualifying mark of 52.30 in the 400m hurdles at the Cal Quad Opener in Berkeley, Calif.

Steady Improvements
Barbara Nwaba's performance in the 100m hurdles at the Ben Brown Invitational earns her another position on the UCSB all-time lists. She now sits tied for eighth all-time in the 100m hurdles at 14.94, and seventh all-time in the 400m hurdles at 62.48. A great all-around athlete, Nwaba will transition to the heptathlon this season while continuing to excel individually in her strongest events--the hurdles and high jump.

Maximum Velocity
Senior sprinter Max Bellissimo redshirted the 2008 season and has looked good so far in his return to competition. He has improved his 400m time every week and hopes to soon eclipse his personal best of 48.07 that he set in 2007. Bellissimo's performances include a first-place finish of 49.05 at the All-Cal Challenge, and a seasonal best of 48.49 at last weekend's Ben Brown Invitational. He finished in fifth place out of 45 runners at Ben Brown.

Men Win All-UC Meet
The men won the All-Cal Challenge Cup on Feb. 28, finishing with 198.50 points to take the cup from UC Irvine. The team was led by Jason Newland's victories in the 100m (10.90) and 200m (21.93), Scott Smith's victories in the 1500m (3:53.41) and 3000m (8:33.22), and Erik Aardal's victory in the steeplechase (9:36.74). On the women's side, Katie Voigtlander had the Gauchos' best individual performance of the meet by running a personal best of 10:49.82 to win the steeplechase.

-- UCSBgauchos.com --