Just 24.5 points separated UCSB from winner Long Beach State at the Big West Men’s Track and Field Championships after a dominant performance by the 49er throwers. Meanwhile, on the women’s side, UC Davis turned in an impressive showing to take the title while UCSB came in second place.
For Long Beach, it was the team’s third championship in the last six years. Davis claimed its second consecutive first place team finish. Distance runners and sprinters proved to be the difference that led the Aggies to victory.
Davis took first in the steeplechase, 100 meter dash, 100 meter hurdles, 200 meters, 800 meters, 1500 meters, 4×400 meter relay and 10,000 meters. It was an impressive display that gave Davis a 45-point cushion on its way to victory.
Bright spots for UCSB include senior thrower Irene Kujore coming away with three individual victories on the weekend. She beat out Hawaii’s Joanna Franke-Kuhn by less than a meter (58.42m to 57.66m) to claim the gold in the women’s hammer throw. Two more close victories in the discus (50.70m) and shot put (15.74m) made Kujore the top winner on the women’s side for Santa Barbara.
Senior Amanda Rodridguez came away with a one-second victory in the 400 meter hurdles (58.32 to 59.20) to keep the Gauchos in the hunt. Senior Jenn Carey also picked up a victory of her own in the 400 meter dash (52.29).
Junior Jordan Scott came away with the first win of the day for the men’s side, picking up the title in the 400 meter dash for UCSB with a time of 46.44. Gauchos almost picked up wins in the 1500 meter run as well, with senior Juan Paredes, junior Bryce Rausa and sophomore Shyan Vaziri placing second, third and fourth respectively.
The Gauchos’ 4×400 meter relay team was good for a solid victory to give UCSB a boost. A veteran Gaucho squad of junior Winton Nguyen, junior Eric Severiano, senior Jimmy Martin and Scott beat out Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Long Beach by three seconds.
Field events started with senior Mitchell Haag winning the high jump for UCSB with a score of 2.12 meters. The rest of the field events didn’t go quite as well, although sophomore Albert Hughes placed a respectable second against Long Beach senior Josh Villalobos in the hammer throw.
Two-time decathlon champion Derek Masterson picked up yet another victory for the Gauchos with his dominant victory in the javelin throw. Masterson finished six meters away from the rest of the pack after recording a score of 66.54 meters.
With the conclusion of regularly scheduled competition, all that remains for the track and field team is National Championships. Masterson is among the Gauchos waiting to hear if his scores were good enough to make NCAA competition.
A version of this article appeared on page 5 of May 13th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by William Zhao of the Daily Nexus.