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The 2014 UCSB track and field season is now in the bag after eight Gauchos competed in the NCAA West Preliminary Round. Although no athletes advanced, each gave an incredible effort in a large pool of opponents.
To pass through the first round and head for the finals, an athlete must place in the final top 12 in his or her respective event. Each event featured 48 highly qualified track and field competitors.
Senior sprinter Evan Walker capped off his career as a Gaucho with his last performance in the 100m. He took 44th overall with his time of 10.85. His time of 10.58, which he recorded last season, still stands as the second-best time in UCSB program history for the 100m.
Senior runner Bryce Rausa, who had a stellar season for Santa Barbara, breaking his own records in several different events, capped it off with a performance in the 3000m steeplechase. His time of 9:36.02 landed him in the 47th spot overall.
Another runner usually seen in the same events as Rausa is junior Shyan Vaziri. After a spectacular season that included becoming the all-time record holder in the 1500m, Vaziri looked to push his title.
He ran his third-best time in his career, turning in a 3:44.85 effort that landed him 26th in the event. An improvement of less than a second on his race would have allowed him to advance to the NCAA Final.
Junior thrower Albert Hughes let his name be heard in the hammer toss when he took 17th place after coming into the weekend ranked 33rd in the event.
Hughes missed the cutoff by just three centimeters with his best toss of 60.12m.
Another junior who made her way to Arkansas was runner Jessica Johnson, who is third all-time in Santa Barbara history in the 400m dash.
In her first NCAA meet, Johnson ran the 400m and picked up a time of 54.75, which landed her 34th in the competition.
Sophomore thrower Melissa Rake, who holds the all-time UCSB record in the javelin heaved a distance of 40.9m, which landed her 40th in her first-ever NCAA invitational competition.
Sophomore runner Tori Tsolis placed 41st overall in her first-ever NCAA trial in the 1500m this weekend.
Her performance was her third-best recorded time in the event as she came in at 4:29.62.
Lastly, another sophomore, Jessica Emde, had an amazing outing in the high jump. Emde came into the meet ranked 30th out of the 48 total jumpers and knocked off quite a few opponents in taking 20th place.
Her jump of 5’7.75 was her third-best height in her short time here as a Gaucho.
This meet wraps up the season for the UCSB track and field team.
A version of this article appeared on page 9 of June 5th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by Mark Brocher of the Daily Nexus.