April 27, 2006
May is almost upon us and that means Track & Field is heating things up on the Central Coast. Mustangs. Gauchos. Historic rivalry. It's all here at UCSB on Saturday at Pauley Track. The Cal Poly SLO - UCSB Dual III - Battle of the Central Coast will begin at noon with the Women's 3,000m Steeplechase and a few of the field events.
With so many Track & Field meets these days time trials or paced races, the Dual Meet reverts back to the essence of Athletics - Friendly (or not so friendly) high level competition where it is one athlete overcoming the other, head to head, physically and maybe more importantly in such competitions, mentally. A prelude to the Big West Championships that will feature some of California's best athletes, this Saturday's meet will not be without its faces. Big West Champs, All-West Regional and National class athletes will enter the meet for Cal Poly SLO and UCSB in an important stretch of the 2006 season battling for Central Coast supremacy.
What are the key match-ups and who will win? Below you may find some of your answers:
Key Track Event Match-Ups (by time schedule)
On the Men's side Scott Brandos (Sr.) will have another go at the Steeplechase after overcoming some health issues that had him running sub-par throughout 2006. He holds the meet record at 9:06 and has a personal best of 9:00 giving him an outside shot of taking the title if he runs at his best. Juniors Mike Chavez and Micah Tyhurst will also be giving the steeple a second chance, as they will be looking to win and achieve the NCAA Regional Qualifying standard of 9:07. Tyhurst has a seasonal best of 9:08.20 and Chavez holds a 9:18.32 best. A trio of SLO Freshman will toe the line against the Gauchos with Huerta holding a best of 9:27.20.
A close battle for the Women should take place as UCSB only leads the Mustangs by .16 on the '06 Performance list. What the Gauchos have that may keep them on top is a not-so-top secret performer in Senior Kylie McCuen and a veteran line-up of Elise Geiger (Sr.), Leticia Pulido (Jr.) and Kerry Gamble (So.).
For the Men, Cal Poly will put together their first 4x100m Relay squad, but they do match up well with the Gauchos who are favored. For UCSB, Max Bellissimo (So.), Nino Kolyouthapong (Jr.), Justin Morgan (Jr.) and Kris Shirley (Fr.) will attempt to come away with a win and improve upon their '06 best of 41.67.
The Gaucho ladies will have their hands full with the NCAA leader at this distance Deirdre Byrne. Byrne a graduate transfer from Providence by way of Ireland holds a smoking '06 best of 4:17.74. The Gauchos will throw at her the 11th ranked American at 10,000m, Junior Stephanie Rothstein, who is dropping in distance quite a bit, along with Megan Lewis (Jr.) fresh off her win at Hayward Field and Big West leading time in the 5,000m with a 16:28.28, and Nickless, the Gauchos powerhouse in the steeple who holds a 4:33.65 best in this event.
The Men will have UCSB School Record holder Scott McConville (Sr.) with a 3:46.77 and the feisty Big West Cross Country Champ in Chris Ashley (So.) as well as the Big West leader at 5,000m going up against the Mustangs, billing what is deemed to be a barn burner. Cal Poly has two California State Meet Champions who may start, although Johnsrud is coming off injury, as is Reid in 2006. Look for either of those along with steeplechase standout Llamas to fight the Gauchos till the end.
In the Women's hurdles, Stellamarie Hall (Jr.) for the Gauchos will find ample competition coming form SLO's Cisco. Last year's Big West Champion in the 100's and '06 Conference leader at 13.95, Hall will have to perform her best to have a shot at beating her. Hall is currently ranked 6th in the Big West with a 14.81.
McCuen will get her first individual event shot at showcasing her speed in front of hometown crowd. Last year's Big West Champion at 400m, McCuen is currently ranked 2nd in the Big West with seasonal best of 54.97. Gamble and Geiger for the Gauchos should fend off Poly's Chase for 2nd place who has a best of 58.82 to Geiger's 55.86 and Gamble's 56.65.
For the Men, Bellissimo and Shirley will look to defend their track against SLO's Pappalardo who has the 6th best mark in the Big West at 48.50. Bellissimo, although only having a '06 best of 48.99 proved as a Freshman that he races well when it counts as he did at the 2005 Big West Championships where he finished 3rd garnering All-Conference honors. However, it is a freshman that holds the Gauchos best '06 mark and Shirley will look to improve upon his 8th ranked Big West mark of 48.73.
Geiger will come off the 400m dash to go for a win in the fastest event on the track. Coming in with a 12.24 '06 best, it currently appears her toughest competition will come from a Poly freshman in Markita Berry. Pulido can pick up some important points by finishing in 2nd as her 12.41 set earlier in the year matches Berry's 12.41.
Ryan Donnelly (Jr.) will begin his day on the track matched up with Poly's Samuels who has run an 11.01. Donnelly has been setting personal bests in the short sprints throughout '06 and currently holds a 100m best of 10.86 giving him the slight edge. It will be again that important 2nd place that may make a difference in the team score if Morgan or Freshman Jason Newland can fend off Poly's 2nd and 3rd sprinters. Morgan holds a 11.11 best while Newland has a 11.24.
Byrne of SLO is scheduled to double and is capable of running a sub 2:10 although she has an '06 best of 2:13.18. Right behind her is SLO teammate Cassie Atkinson with a best of 2:13.28. Hadas Moser (Jr.) for the Gauchos has the best '06 mark at 2:17.99, but she will be competing at the Cardinal Invite at Stanford University in Sunday night's 5,000m event attempting to qualify for the NCAA Regional Championships. The Women may double back Lewis, Nickless and Rothstein who have not run the 800m in some years to attempt to break up the Poly 1-2 punch.
On the Men's side, an event traditionally dominated by the Gauchos will face some competition this year. Without All-American Tetlo Emmen for UCSB, Keith Hankins of Cal Poly enters the meet with the best mark of `06 in the field at 1:53.57. Right of ahead of Gaucho prep star Jeff Campbell (Fr.) who has a best of 1:54.39 this year are two more Poly athletes in Lopes and Phelps with best of 1:54.36 and 1:54.38 respectively. Robert Handley (So.) with his 1:55.32 may also surprise some and help Campbell up front.
Hall for the Gauchos is favored with a 61.89 personal best time set at the Cal-Nev Championships four weeks ago. Diana Joyner (Jr.) is ranked 2nd with a best of 64.39 just a few steps ahead of Poly's Samuels who has a best mark of 64.46. This late in the meet, a 2nd place finish from Joyner may swing things in UCSB's favor with some big points lying ahead for the Gauchos.
McCuen a heavy favorite in this event leads the Big West by just over a quarter of a second with Geiger's 24.74 ranked 6th. Both may go 1-2 here with Chase from Poly clocking a 25.54 in '06. At stake is McCuen's own School Record at 23.88 which this past weekends' time of 23.79 was deemed wind illegal at +3.1 m/s.
The Men will be singing a different song, as Bellissimo, Donnelly and Shirley will go to battle with Poly's Pappalardo who has dipped under 22 seconds this year with his 21.91. Donnelly has a '06 best of 21.74 and is known to compete well when the stakes are high while Bellissimo will go after a 1-2 finish holding a best this year of 22.06.
Seanna Martin (Sr.) will jump in this event to help out teammate Liza Hitchner (Fr.) as they go look to go 1-2 on the Mustangs. Martin this year has broke out dropping her time by over 30 seconds in this event. Her 16:40.80 ranks 2nd in the Big West and is #6 All-Time at UCSB. Hitchner grabbed the Big West qualifier a few weeks ago when she went 18:09.87 and will now look to dip under 18 minutes for the first time. Valliere who won this event at the Dual in '04 has run 18:26.92 this year but can still be a spoiler to the Gauchos plan.
The Men will have their hands full as the Mustangs may put two sub 14:30 athletes on the line. For the Gauchos, J.D. Krawczyk (Jr.) has run a 14:35.57 this year and can put a fight with the best of them after his sub 30-minute 10k five weeks ago.
Capping off the events, the Cal Poly SLO - UCSB Dual may come down to this one event in both the Women's and Men's sides. UCSB on the women's side is favored with their 3:46.59 run a few weeks ago while Poly clocks in at 4:01.40 for 2006. The Women may look to take out the four year old School Record of 3:44.77 if all four women still have some pop at the end of the day.
The Men have a three second best over the Mustangs in '06. The Gauchos ran an impressive 3:15.72 at the Big West Challenge Cup while Cal Poly holds an '06 best of 3:18.54.
Key Field Event Match-Ups (by time schedule)
A pair of juniors, Katie Kramer and Ashley Coelho will go up against Berry of Cal Poly. Kramer, a Gaucho heptathlete has consistently jumped high 17 feet to low 18's. Her best lies at 18-05.25 this year. Coelho has not put one past 17 feet but in '05 went 17'09. Berry will challenge them with an '06 best at 17-11.25. With many close field events, the meet may be won or lost inside the track.
By the schedule, this will be Donnelly's first event of three on Saturday. A NCAA Regional qualifier in 2005 with a best of 24-07, Donnelly has struggled this year only jumping over 22 feet consistently. However, his lone 23 foot plus jump this year was done in February at home and last year Donnelly did not have a jump over 23 feet entering the Conference Championships when he decided to go over 24. No Mustang has long jumped this year, but Poly's Moon is entered and he has gone over 46 feet.
Newcomers, Jane Doolittle (Fr.) and Genevieve McGreevy (Fr.) will get after some important points for the Gauchos. Having jumped 5-03 and 5-01 respectively in '06, Poly comes in with a pair of jumpers at 5-01. Doolittle has been known to spark as she did as a senior in High School with a 5-08 jump, her best.
Kent Centers (Jr.) enters his first of three events at noon with his specialty, the High Jump. Centers and Jacob Maus (So.) are slated for a 1-2 finish, but the real action will be their attempt at an NCAA Regional Qualifying mark of 6-10.75. The High Jump without its great runway may not be perfect for the attempt, however the UCSB School Record of 7-04.50 was accomplished at home back in 1991 by Coleman Conroy.
Heidi Nyberg (Jr.) and Jessica Horn (Jr.) will have to jump their best, which they have done consistently in 2006. Both over 11 feet this year they will go up against Poly's juniors who have gone 10-10 and 10-05 in `06.
Poly will give all the Gauchos can handle in the Vault. With jumpers at 16-06 and 15-07, Tuzkov for UCSB is best suited to break them up. Although he has only jumped 15-03 during the regular season, it was here at home in February that he went 15-07.
Gaucho Heptathelete, Danielle DeBeaubien (Sr.) will look for a win over Poly's Robbins who has thrown 114 this year. DeBeaubien with a best out at 127 feet, has gone 116-00 feet this year.
What may be one of the more compelling events of the day, Gabe Mann will go head to head for the second time this season with Poly's Borjas. Mann who threw 222-02 at the home opener in February also threw over 220 a second time in March. Back in mid-march when the two met at Cal Poly, Mann came out on top, however Borjas 211 foot best shouldn't be overlooked due to some minor aches and pains Mann has underwent over the last few weeks.
Charlene Heaston (So.) and Jamie Schwarzbach (So.) will have tough match-ups against Poly's DeWeese and DeFrense. In the Shot DeWeese has gone over 45 feet while DeFrense is just under 44 feet. Heaston will look to break them up with her best of 44-05.25 sandwiched in between the two on the 2006 Performance list, while Schwarzbach having a good day can sneak up for some extra points with her best of 42-07.50.
The Gauchos can sweep the throws on Saturday beginning with the Shot Put. With three throwers having bests of over 53 feet, Poly's White is their lone representative over fifty feet. Look to the ring for '05 NCAA Regional qualifier, Scott Anderson (So.), to put one out past the Regional mark and join teammate Matt Barkley (So.) in Provo, UT at the end of May.
No marks for the Mustang Women have been entered in 2006, however DeFrense and DeWeese are entered and will compete with Heaston who has gone 142 feet this year. Some points here for the Gauchos can make a big difference at the end of the day on the team score.
Much like the women, no marks have been entered on the 2006 Performance list for Poly, however, the Mustangs will enter three Men with entry marks of 160 feet, 155 feet and 145 feet. The Gauchos will also enter three Men who have all gone over 150 feet this year led by Reif Lawson (Jr.) who threw 153-03 this year but went 158 feet in 2005.
Whereas Cal Poly's Eggleston has an `06 best of 37-11, matched up with two Gauchos who have only gone over 36 feet this year, look for the Gauchos to still match up well as they came on at the end of last year with Coelho clearing the 39 foot mark and Coelho having a best over 38 feet.
With no Mustang marks in '06, the Hammer can be all Gauchos at the end of the day. The last event of the Dual, if UCSB is behind a few points a 1-2 finish can seal the deal and have Santa Barbara walk away with the title.
Events begin at Noon with students admitted Free and General Admission $5.