Don’t call it beginner’s luck. That wouldn’t give Katie Appenrodt the credit she deserves.
The UCSB junior long-distance runner ran the 10,000 meters for the first time ever in competition at the Mt. SAC Invitational on Saturday where she and her teammates registered a very strong overall performance.
Appenrodt clocked in at 34:58.92, a school record for the event. She finished 10th in a field of 34 runners.
“She ran really well,” senior long-distance runner Eric Gans said. “I think she can go a lot faster, too.”
It was a hard act to follow for Gans and the rest of the men’s team, but the Gauchos held their own.
Gans finished fourth in his heat of 16 en route to a 3:47.04 in the 1,500 m, edging out Brendon Rogers of the Nike Team by one 100th of a second. The time shattered Gans’ personal best and was just a hair slower than the school record.
“That was probably the highest caliber race I’ve ever seen Eric run,” said senior Steve Rider, Eric’s roommate and fellow runner for the last five years. “It was just a phenomenal race.”
Nevertheless, Gans wasn’t thrilled with the result.
“The pacing wasn’t perfect. I know I can go faster,” Gans said. “I’d like to run a national qualifying time, I think I’m capable of that.”
The rest of the Gauchos had a good day as well. Santa Barbara entered two athletes each in the pole vault and the 800 m. Sophomore pole vaulter Conor Sweagle finished second and junior Pat Turner fourth in their event, where the two netted vaults of 15’7″ and 15’1″, respectively. In the 800 m, sophomore middle distance runner Ben Armel and senior Ron DiMaggio finished fourth and seventh, respectively. Armel clocked a blistering1:50.58 with DiMaggio close behind at 1:51.81.
Women’s junior sprinting standout Jasmine Washington wasn’t at her best, but was still fast enough to grab second in her heat of the 400 m in a time of 54.85. More importantly, Washington also helped both the 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams to third place finishes, the latter of which was also a school record.
The team also sent several athletes to the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational on Friday. Junior Lisa Dunn turned in a strong performance in the 3,000 m steeplechase with a time of 10:56.12, good enough to put her back on top of the conference in the event.
Junior Tiffany DeJesus also ran well in the 10,000 m, finishing in 37:44.22, good for sixth place. On the field, the men’s team junior discuss thrower Cheyne Murray’s toss of 52.32 meters was long enough for eighth.
The team’s next meet will be on April 27 at Fresno State.