Looking for a date this weekend? Don’t call the UCSB men’s and women’s track and field teams. They’ve got plans.

The top Santa Barbara distance runners will travel to Palo Alto to compete in the Cardinal Qualifier Friday at Stanford. The Cardinal Qualifier is one of the premier distance meets in the country every season and will draw the cream of college runners from all over the United States.

“Stanford always puts on a great event,” junior distance runner Katie Appenrodt said. “The races are always really competitive. They’re night races and it’s just a great atmosphere to [break personal records].”

For those Gauchos not traveling to Stanford, their attention will be focused on the Nick Carter Invitational at Santa Barbara this Saturday. Running at home should provide those members of the Santa Barbara team who have not qualified for the Big West Conference Championships an excellent opportunity to get on the map. With little more than two weeks left before the conference championships, the pressure to perform is building up.

“The Nick Carter Invitational should be low key and mellow, which is good,” senior triple and long jumper Adrian Dilley said. “Everyone’s getting event specific in their minds. We all do a number of events throughout the season, but everybody wants to concentrate on one or two for the conference championships. There’s lots of pressure. The coaches want as many people as possible to qualify for the conference championships.”

Most of the UCSB distance runners who compete at Stanford will spend the day to cheer their teammates on at the Nick Carter Invitational. Some of the Gauchos who run in the shorter distance events at the Cardinal Qualifier will also run on Saturday.

“I’ll be running the 800 meter at Stanford, and then the next morning I’ll run the 700 meter [at the Nick Carter Invitational],” sophomore middle distance runner Ben Armel said. “[The Nick Carter Invite] is nice, and it’s really fun to run at home.”

Although the Nick Carter Invitational will probably be very relaxed, there is nothing mellow about competition this late into the season. The Gauchos will be going out with goals and a serious intention to meet them.

“It’s nice to have a meet at home, but we’re getting down to the wire,” senior distance runner Steve Rider said. “The majority of the team is healthy, and I think this weekend will be us building up for our climax.”