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The UCSB track and field team has sent eight athletes to compete in the first round of the NCAA Championships at the University of Arkansas. To make it to the next round, each athlete will have to place in the top 12 out of 48 competitors in each of their events.
In yesterday’s West Preliminary Round, four women and four men competed in their best event. Sophomore Tori Tsolis ran in the 1500m trial and finished with a time of 4:29.62, earning a 41st place finish. She had recently came off a silver medal outing in the Big West Championship where she achieved her new personal record of 4:24.81. Previous to yesterday, Tsolis had consistently topped her previous performances all year with multiple wins in the event and several new personal bests.
Another woman who joined Tsolis on the track last evening was junior Jessica Johnson. Johnson looked to prove herself in the 400m race, where she ranked 34th coming in. Her best performance of 53.77 in this event came just a few weeks ago in the Occidental Invitational and ranked her third all-time in the Gaucho record books. She also finished third in the Big West Championship in the event. However, Johnson clocked in with a time of 54.75 yesterday for a 34th place finish.
On the men’s side of the track, two Gauchos competed in their last season for Santa Barbara. Senior sprinter Evan Walker finished with a time of 10.85 in the 100 meter dash. He had worked out a time of 10.50 to make the cut for the preliminary round and his personal best ranked 47th in the pool coming in.
Distance runner Bryce Rausa looked to cap off an amazing final season as a Gaucho with a chance in the 3,000m steeplechase. A time of 8:57.94 earned him second place in the pool of 23 athletes. Rausa has been unstoppable in several events this season but the steeplechase was easily his best as he sat 33rd in the rankings. He too reached the podium in the Big West Championship by placing third and reached his lifetime best at the Mt Sac Invitational in mid-April.
Last but certainly not least for the track side of the team was junior Shyan Vaziri. Vaziri competed in the 1500m event and timed in at 3:44.85 for a 26th place finish. His best time of 3:42.44 ranks first all time in UCSB history and 12th out of the 48 runners he ran against.
Two throwers will represent Santa Barbara on the field today to battle it out in their events. Junior Albert Hughes holds the fifth best hammer throw in the Gaucho record books that he earned this year in the Cal Poly Dual meet. His toss of 199’6 ranks him 33rd in this upcoming meet. Hughes won this event several times during this season and has earned the silver medal in the Big West Championships in back to back years.
The other thrower to join Hughes will be Melissa Rake. Rake will look to compete in the javelin, which she has continually improved on throughout the year. With her performance in the Big West Championships, she now ranks first in the Gaucho record books with her toss of 151’0 or 46.04m. She ranks just 40th out of the competitors she will face tonight but is not far off in overall distance.
The final Gaucho that will take the field for Santa Barbara is sophomore jumper Jessica Emde. Emde has been on the podium a number of times this season including four victories in the high jump. She reached qualification with her third place performance in the Big West Championships where she jumped a lifetime best of 5’9.25 or 1.76m, which ranks fifth all time in Gaucho history. She currently ranks 30th in the event which will take place Saturday afternoon.
Events are set to start at 6:30 p.m.