The UCSB men’s and women’s track and field teams ended their seasons last week at the Big West Conference Championships at Long Beach with many strong efforts across the board.
The women turned in an excellent performance, placing fourth, a six-spot jump from last year when they finished last. A solid effort from the men’s team helped it edge out Long Beach State for fifth place.
“I think we pulled together as a team,” sophomore Jasmine Washington said. “We went after it. We had a lot to prove after how we finished last year. We were a team. Our team unity really helped us do our best.”
Several excellent individual performances also helped Santa Barbara end its year on a high note. Senior Baruti Armstrong had a great outing for the men’s team. Armstrong took third in the 110-meter high hurdles, and fourth in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles. He also ran the leadoff leg of the 4×400 relay, which the Gauchos finished in a season best time of 3:15.8.
The men’s 4×100 relay team of senior Kgosi Chuenyane, freshman Nohel Corral, sophomore Zach Ring and senior Damien Dawson also turned in a good performance, placing third. Sophomore Bryon Lamorandier placed fourth in the 1500 meter, just behind freshman Ben Armel.
Sophomore Katie Appenrodt ran well for the Santa Barbara women. Appenrodt took second place in the 1500 meter and fifth in the 5000-meter race. Junior Lisa Dunn also had a great individual performance. Dunn’s second-place finish in the 3000-meter steeplechase qualified her for the NCAA Tournament.
Senior Ali Pearson finished fourth in the 800 meter. Sophomore Deborah Samson finished second in the pole vault. Samson had a 12-7 on the pole vault, tied with two other opponents but by virtue of one more miss than her top opponent, fell just short of a title.
Another important performance at the tournament for the Gauchos was senior Jessica Lunt’s third-place finish in the 5000-meter race. Washington finished third in the 400 meter. Freshman Lindsay Wells took third in the 400-meter hurdles.
“I don’t think I could’ve done it without the [crowd] cheering,” Lunt said in the Santa Barbara News-Press.
UCSB has already begun thinking about next season. Both the men’s and women’s teams are confident they will achieve even greater goals in the future. Despite looking ahead, Santa Barbara will not discard this season’s successful accomplishments.
“This season felt really short,” Washington said. “It was fun though. We wanted to be contenders this year. I think we did that.”