The UCSB men’s and women’s track team competed in the California/Nevada Championships at Irvine Field this past weekend. The event attracted over thirty schools and programs across the state. The women’s team placed ninth overall, while the men’s team came in tenth place.
“The women took ninth, which was an improvement over last year, when we placed eleventh,” senior middle distance runner Ali Pearson said.
There were a number of highlights on both the men’s and women’s side for the Gauchos, but it was in the women’s distance competition where Santa Barbara’s power was most visibly on exhibit. Freshman Cosette Smith dominated the 3000-meter event, zooming in for first by clocking in at a personal best of 9:56.44.
“Going into the race I was ranked to be fourth, based on my best time,” Smith said. “So that motivated me to be in the front of the pack, because I knew I had a chance to win it.”
Junior Lisa Dunn also put some points on the scoreboard for the Gauchos during day one of the events with her performance in the women’s steeplechase. She was able to place fifth and set a new school record with a finishing time of 11:17.76.
“[Dunn] is seven seconds away from an NCAA provisional time in the women’s steeplechase,” Smith said. “[The steeplechase] was right before my event, so it was exciting to see.”
On the men’s side, senior team captain Baruti Armstrong proved to be the leading scorer for the Gauchos by helping put ten points on the tally with his third place time of 14.55 in the 110-meter hurdles. Armstrong also placed fifth in the 400-meter hurdles by crossing the line at 53.82.
Junior Octavious Gillespie also did well in the javelin throw. His throw of 203′ 04″ was good enough to land him third place in the event. Junior Aaron Sharp was one more Gaucho that turned in an impressive performance Sunday afternoon. Sharp had a lifetime best time of 14:52.30 in the 5,000-meter race.
This weekend, select team members will travel to Stanford to compete in the Cardinal Invite, where they will get their last chance to find a qualifying mark for the NCAA championships. However, most of the Gaucho squad will get a weekend break from traveling as it hosts the Nick Carter Invitational at UCSB’s own Pauley Track. The action is set to begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.