The UCSB track and field team was divided between two events this weekend, sending several runners to the 54th annual Mt. SAC Relays, which took place Thursday through Saturday, while the majority of the team headed to the Azusa Pacific Bryan Clay Invitational Friday.
“Overall I think we did really well this weekend,” junior Barbara Nwaba said. “[At both events] there were a lot of people who had races where they had PRs.”
Senior Ryan Martin was the sole runner for UCSB Saturday at the Mt. SAC Relays. The two-time Big West Athlete of the Week ran the fastest collegiate time in the 800-meter, finishing third with a time of 1:46.74.
“The big standout was Ryan Martin,” Head Coach Pete Dolan said. “He took third in the fastest 800-meter of the day. It makes me really excited about the end of the season because that was a big win.”
Friday, freshman Shyan Vaziri also ran the men’s 800-meter, crossing the finish line in 1:50.49, good enough for 21st out of 84 runners.
Thursday saw a successful day for the Gauchos, too, with senior Anthony Masci placing eighth out of 24 runners in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9:04.52. The time was a personal best. Senior Cassie Brooker also set a season best in the 1,500-meter, running the event in 4:37.26.
“Masci is the defending conference champion on the steeplechase, and he had a personal best, so he’s hitting stride coming to the end of the season,” Dolan said.
At the Bryan Clay Invitational, junior Irene Kujore was the standout. First, she brought home a first-place finish in the shot put, throwing 15 meters. She also finished second in the discus throw at 47.13 meters, a personal best.
“[Irene] had a big PR in the hammer,” Nwaba said. “The hammer looked like a big breakthrough for her. It showed what she’s capable of doing.”
UCSB also won an event on the men’s side when junior Mitchell Haag jumped 2.10 meters to claim victory.
Sophomore Christine Cooperstein earned third place in the 5000-meter run with a time of 17:01.69, beating her personal best by 17 seconds. Also in the running events, the women’s 4 x 400-meter relay, made up of Nwaba, junior Jenn Carey, junior Amanda Rodriguez and senior Lauren Kodama, finished second with a time of 3:50.06.
“Overall, a lot of good things are happening,” Dolan said. “Our distance women took a step in the right direction. Coop really stepped up.”
In the field events for the women, freshman Cassandra Centofranchi set a new personal best on the pole vault at 3.2 meters. In addition, senior Tayler Williams jumped 12.14 meters in the triple jump, earning third place.
On the men’s side, senior Alex Umstead placed third in the hammer throw, throwing 57.42 meters.
UCSB track and field’s next event is next Saturday in a dual meet against conference foe Cal Poly.