This coming weekend the pressure is on.
At the Occidental Invitational in Los Angeles, the UCSB men’s and women’s track team will have its last chance to get ready for the Big West Championships scheduled for the following weekend. Many Gauchos have their sights set on trimming seconds off of their times, or jumping and throwing the last few inches required to score a NCAA provisional mark.
The Occidental Invite should be an exciting meet. Although the entire team will not be competing, the track and field athletes that will be there are ready to push the limits.
“A lot of people are running Occidental for fine-tuning,” sophomore 1,500-meter runner Katie Appenrodt said. “[Senior] Jessica [Lunt] and I are trying to run a 4:23 for a provisional time, and we’re at 4:26 right now.”
Both Appenrodt and Lunt have their sights set high. Just last weekend Appenrodt found a new spot of third place in the all-time Gaucho history books by running 4:26.77 in her event. The two 1,500-meter runners spend a lot of time on the track together, since they have similar goals.
“[Jessica and I] are always running for the same time, so it’s fun to train together,” Appenrodt said.
On the field, junior Paul Anderson will represent Santa Barbara’s men in the hammer throw and senior Jen Gardner will represent the Gaucho women in the same event. Freshman Faith Reyes and sophomore Becky Freeman will compete in the pole vault, and freshman Preston Biller will represent UCSB in the men’s long jump.
Very few of the distance runners will be competing this upcoming weekend, opting instead to take a break before the upcoming Big West Championships.
“Since it’s right before conference, not a lot of people will go, to rest up,” junior distance runner Josh Horton said. “But that’s just as far as distance runners go.”