Although the UCSB men’s and women’s track and field teams did not perform as well as they had expected this weekend at the Big West Challenge Cups in Long Beach, several Gauchos did turn heads with unexpected individual performances.
Santa Barbara finished third in the men’s competition with a team score of 149 points. The UCSB women’s fourth place finish was disappointing after having won the same competition last season. Individuals at the Big West Challenge Cups, however, kept the team confident in its ability to capture the Big West Championship as a team.
“Our team isn’t very deep right now,” junior distance runner Katie Appenrodt said. “We’ve had some injuries that have made it hard for us. The thing we need now are great individual performances to help us out, like Jasmine Washington’s [at the Big West Challenge Cups].”
Washington, a junior, set new UCSB women’s sprint records for the third week in a row. Washington ran the 100-meter dash in 11.82 seconds and the 200-meter dash in 24.39 seconds. What made these two performances at the Big West Challenge Cups so impressive was that Washington has not run the 100 or the 200 since high school.
Washington was asked by UCSB Head Coach Pete Dolan to run the 100 and the 200 at the Cups instead of her normal event, the 400-meter dash, in order to bolster a weak spot for the team.
“Since [the Big West Challenge Cups] was a team-scoring meet, Coach Dolan thought it would be more beneficial for the team if I ran the 100-meter and the 200-meter events,” Washington said. “But I don’t think I’ll do it too much the rest of the season. I think I’ll continue to concentrate on the 400-meters.”
Appenrodt ran a season’s best times in both the 3000-meter run and the 1500-meter run. Appenrodt finished first in the 3000 with a time of 9 minutes and 54 seconds, and was just barely edged out of second place at the finish line in the 1500 at 14:32.
“I thought I ran a really good 3000-meter,” Appenrodt said. “It was nice to redeem myself after missing second in the 1500-meter.”
For the men, the threesome of senior distance runner Eric Gans and junior distance runners J.T. Service and Brandon von Guenthner highlighted the day for the Gaucho men at the Cups. Gans, Service, and von Guenthner finished first, second and third, respectively in the 3000. This dominating performance for the UCSB men’s team was a result of some excellent strategy implemented by Dolan. Santa Barbara’s runners began the race by floating back to the middle of the pack, but after approximately 800 meters, they exploded up to the front to dictate a much faster pace.
“[The 3000-meter] worked out exactly like we wanted it to,” Service said. “It was a lot of fun to run out in front with two teammates.”
Sophomore middle distance runner Ben Armeland senior 800-meter runners Ron DiMaggio and Jacob Green also ran well in Long Beach, finishing first, second and fourth respectively in the 800. Senior hurdler Andrew Ostarello ran an excellent race, winning the 400-meter hurdles with a season’s best time of 53.89.
UCSB has the next two weeks off but will be traveling to competitions at the Pomona Invite and the Mountain SAC Invite on April 19. The Gauchos plan to use their time off to heal and do some hard work in preparation for the finish at the end of the season.
“This time off will let us recover some and really get fresh,” Gans said. “The meets just get bigger and bigger from here on out. We should be nice and ready for the stretch run.”