The UCSB men’s and women’s track and field teams racked up a slew of highlights and personal records this past weekend in two different events.
Part of the squad made a whirlwind cameo at the Cardinal Invitational at the Stanford campus last Friday. The rest of the team stayed in Santa Barbara, preparing to host the annual Nick Carter Invitational held at Pauley Track.
At the Cardinal Invite, the Gaucho focal point was on the women’s 800 and 1,500-meter events. Senior Ali Pearson found her niche in the 800-meter race, finishing with a personal best time of 2:10.81. Her time was the fastest recorded in the Big West this season, and will put her in the #1 slot for the Big West Championships.
“I definitely want to be all-conference in Big West, which is the top three,” Pearson said. “So, I’m setting my sights there right now.”
Sophomore distance runner Katie Appenrodt was the Gauchos’ representative in the 1,500 meter, and she put on an impressive show, running a lifetime best of 4:26.77. Appenrodt’s lightening-fast time is now the third best in school and Big West history.
“It was a perfect race,” Appenrodt said. “There were a lot of fast people, so it’s hard not to run fast there.”
The same Gauchos that competed in the Cardinal Invite on Friday evening made a quick U-turn after the event in order to make it back to Pauley Track to watch the Nick Carter Invite. The Invite is named after the late Nick Carter, who coached the Gauchos in the 1950s and set the former record time in the mile during 1927.
It was a picturesque, sunny spring day Saturday, where the temperatures climbed into the 80s, making it perfect sunbathing weather, but slightly less than the ideal cooler conditions that a track meet calls for. The teams that traveled to UCSB’s track to compete included Westmont, Cal State Bakersfield and Cal Poly Pomona.
Senior hurdler Baruti Armstrong paved the way for UCSB at the event by crossing the finish line after 400 hurdles in 51.94 seconds. Armstrong’s time ties with the second-fastest time in school history. Junior middle distance runner Lisa Dunn was a hit in the steeplechase. Running the race for only the second time, Dunn still came in under the NCAA provisional standard with her time of 10:54.73 in the 3,000 meter steeples. Dunn’s time is a lifetime personal record, and it will place her second on the Big West list this year.
Junior pole-vaulter Pat Turner was another Gaucho who performed well for the men’s side. Turner managed to set a lifetime best of 16 feet flat.
“It’s nice to be able to host an entire meet,” Pearson said. “It was a nice, low-key meet.”