The UCSB men’s and women’s track and field teams proved something this past weekend at the UC San Diego Invitational: the Gauchos are getting faster.

“It was a good meet for us,” junior Jasmine Washington said. “We performed well, but we have a lot more to do.”

Sophomore Ben Armel’s performance in the 400 meter highlighted the men’s outing. Although Armel normally runs the 800 meter, he impressed coaches and teammates with his speed in the shorter, faster 400 meter event, logging a time of 48.48 seconds, which earned him a second-place finish. Sophomore Nohel Corral and senior Ron DiMaggio also ran well in the 400 meter, finishing respectively fourth and sixth overall with times of 48.59 and 49.13.

Senior Adrian Dilley had a good outing as well, placing second in the triple jump with a distance of 14.25 meters and third in the long jump with a distance of 6.78 meters. Junior Brandon von Guenthner ran the steeplechase for the first time this season and ran it well, placing second with a time of 9 minutes and 23.42 seconds. Junior J.T. Service, who usually runs the steeplechase, ran the 1500 meter instead and finished with a lifetime best time of 3:58.60.

“You have to mix it up a little or you get stale running the same events,” Service said. “Running the 1500 really gave me confidence about my speed.”

Washington had yet another excellent outing for the women, winning the 400 meter with a time of 54.89 seconds and beating UCLA sophomore All-American Adia McKinnon, who was the 2001 Pac-10 400 meter champion. Head Coach Pete Dolan emphasized that Washington’s leadership has been just as important to the team as her running.

“[Washington] is a hard worker and mature,” Dolan said. “She’s been saying what she thinks because she knows that her thoughts help the team. She does it in a nice way, though, and that has really earned her a lot of respect with the team.”

Freshman DesirŽe Leek also ran well, placing third in the 5000 meter by finishing with a time of 18 minutes and 4.02 seconds. Santa Barbara had a strong showing in the 1500 meter as well. Sophomore Tiffany De Jesus and freshmen Kristin Chadez and Julia Gray all recorded personal bests in the event, logging times of 4:43, 4:53 and 4:49 respectively.

UCSB’s top distance runners will be traveling to the Cardinal Qualifier at Stanford on Friday, where the Gauchos will compete against top runners from all over the country. The rest of the team will be running here at UCSB this weekend at the Nick Carter Invitational.

“We always like running at home,” Washington said. “There’s less pressure. It’s more comfortable.”