Track Teams Set to Compete at the Big West Challenge Cup

April 10, 2008

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The Schedule
Meet No. 8
Friday, April 11, 2008 at 3:00 p.m.
UCSB competes in the Big West Challenge Cup
at Anteater Stadium, UC Irvine, Irvine, Calif.

Meet No. 9
Thursday - Sunday, April 17-20, 2008
UCSB competes at the Mt. SAC Relays
at Mt. San Antonio College, Walnut, Calif.

Also Ahead
Friday, April 18, 2008
UCSB Competes at the Azusa Pacific Invitational
at Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, Calif.

This Week In Track & Field
The Gauchos will travel to UC Irvine this weekend to compete in the Big West Challenge Cup, a battle between four of the Big West teams that includes UCSB, UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton, and Long Beach State. The Gauchos are the defending champions in both the men's and women's team competitions and will be looking to retain possession of both cups. The women have a streak to defend, having won five cups in a row. The men will be looking to defend the cup which they won for the first time last season. Several individual athletes hope to duplicate their winning performances from last season's meet. Included in this group are Bethany Nickless in the steeplechase, Danielle Domenichelli in the 1500m, and Brian Sung in the 110m high hurdles.

On The Horizon
A busy weekend looms ahead for the Gauchos, with the Mt. SAC Relays and the Azusa Pacific Invitational taking place from April 17-18. The Mt. SAC Relays take place at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif. and is one of the largest meets in the southland. High school, collegiate, and elite athletes compete in seperate sections throughout the weekend. Information about UCSB's specific times of competition will be available next week. General information is available at www.mtsacrelays.com . The Azusa Pacific Invitational will take place Friday, April 18 at Cougar Athletic Stadium on the east campus of Azusa Pacific University. Information on this meet is available at http://www.apu.edu/athletics/trackandfield/invitational/ .

Rising from the Ashes
Chris Ashley has been a familar face in the distance races for more than four years. This past weekend at the Stanford Invitational, he set a new personal record in the 5000m by running a 14:03.26. It was his fastest time since 2006 and is the second-fastest in UCSB history. Ashley's performance also guarantees him a spot in the 5000m at the NCAA West Regional Championships, which will take place at Cal State Northridge on May 30-31. This marks three good weekends in a row for Ashley, as he won the 3000m at the USC Trojan Invitational two weeks ago and set a seasonal best in the 1500m last weekend at the Cal-Nevada meet.

Double D
Not to be outdone, junior distance runner Danielle Domenichelli set a new personal record of her own in the 5000m by running a 16:39.40 at Stanford last weekend. Her performance was an amazing improvement over her previous time, bettering her mark at the UC Davis dual meet by a minute and a half. Domenichelli now sits on the UCSB top-10 lists in two events, the 1500m and the 5000m. She has the best times for the lady Gauchos in three events so far this season; the 1500m, the 3000m, and the 5000m.

Phenomenal Cosmic Powers
With twenty-eight barriers and seven water jumps in every race, the steeplechase is often regarded as the most nerve-wracking event in track and field. Michael Powers has developed into a calm and confident steeplechaser, and he had his best performance of the year last week at Stanford. Sticking with the pack early, Powers and five other runners would eventually lead the charge to the finish line to get under the Regional-qualifying time of 9:12.00. Powers would cross the line with a time of 9:05.48, well under the qualifying standard and just off his personal best He is one of the favorites to compete for the Conference Title in the steeplechase this season and is continuing to drop his times as the season moves along.

Sprinting Out of the Gate
Though the city isn't named after her, Barbara Nwaba is quickly making a name for herself here in Santa Barbara. As a freshman, Nwaba has already reached the top-10 list in the 400m hurdles and has earned a spot in this year's field at the Conference Championships. Running consistently in the 62-63 second range, Nwaba will strive to have a strong performance in both the 400m hurdles and the 100m hurdles this weekend at the Big West Challenge. She is also slated to be a member of the 4x100m and 4x400m relay teams, so she will be a busy competitor come meet day. A talented and versatile athlete, she competed in all the sprinting events, both hurdle events, and the high jump in high school. With a long career ahead of her, Nwaba is Gaucho to watch in 2008 and beyond.

2008 Regional Qualifiers
As of April 10

Chris Ashley - 5000m
Matt Barkley - Shot Put
Danielle Domenichelli - 5000m
Michael Powers - Steeplechase
Jeff Stewart - Shot Put

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