Despite many outstanding individual performances, the women’s Track and Field team could not overcome perennial Big West powerhouse Cal State Northridge as the Matadors captured the conference title for the fifth year in a row, edging out the Gauchos 193-188 in the two-day Big West Championships.
The women’s season came down to the final event on the final day, with the Gauchos trailing CSUN by one point entering the 4×400 relay. Despite a school-record time of 3:43.59, UCSB took third place in the event behind the first-place Matadors and second-place UC Davis.
“We were just trying to get the baton to the next person as fast as we could and leave it all on the track,” Barbara Nwaba, who ran the first leg of the race, said.
The men finished in fourth place in the conference with 132.5 total points, only 1.5 points behind third-place Cal Poly but well behind second-place Long Beach State and first-place CSUN.
Seven Gauchos from the men and women’s squads took home titles on Sunday. The Gauchos now boast 10 Big West individual event champions between the men and women’s teams.
Junior Kayla Smith came in first place in the shot put with a mark of 50’11.5’’ as the Gauchos swept the event. Sophomore Irene Kujore and junior Jean Lightfoot also threw season longs of 49’8.25” and 47’2.5”, respectively, in the event.
“I know that overall we gave [it] all that we could,” Smith said. “We went into the meet saying we just needed to do the things we do every meet and we did that.”
On the track, senior Scott Smith won Big West titles in the 1,500-meter and the 5,000-meter with respective times of 3:48.92 and 14:31.24. Senior Danielle Domenichelli also won two events, taking home titles in the 5,000-meter and the 10,000-meter events.
Senior Jane Doolittle won the high jump with a mark of 6’0” and Scott Finley narrowly wrapped up the pole vault by clearing 16’8” in fewer attempts than the Aggies’ Michael Peterson.
In the men’s competition, juniors Julian deRubira and Michael Guerra both won conferences championships on day one of the meet. deRubira won the steeple chase by nearly five seconds with a time of 8:52.57 and Guerra won the javelin title with a throw of 204’9”, outdistancing his nearest competitor by 10 feet.
Next up for the Gauchos are the NCAA preliminaries on May 27–28 in Austin, Texas.