The UCSB men’s and women’s track and field teams finished in the middle of the pack over the weekend at the Cal-Nevada Championships in San Diego.
The men’s team finished 10th, totaling 23 points, and the women finished in 13th place with 23 points. Sophomore Scott Brandos came up big for the Gauchos, winning the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a personal best of 9:09.13.
Brandos took the lead with three laps remaining and pulled away from the pack to record the 10th fastest time in UCSB history, an NCAA regional qualifying time.
Freshman Lauren Christman recorded a personal best in the 1,500 with a time of 4:37.31. Christman began the year with high hopes of contributing. Shortly after practicing in the fall, Christman began feeling fatigued and sought medical attention. The distance runner from Santa Cruz was diagnosed with anemia and needed prescription iron supplements.
“After finding out at the beginning of the year that I was anemic, it all made sense,” Christman said. “I was feeling tired all the time.”
Christman looks to compete in the 800 at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational, where she hopes to improve upon her personal best of 2:14.
“Running so well, I think that I can go below that in the 800,” Christman said. “We need to get back on track as a team.”
The women’s 4×400 relay team – comprised of sophomore Emily Griffen and freshmen Ashley Lazarus, Kylie McCuen and Elise Geiger – notched the eighth-best time in Santa Barbara history, 3:52.83.
The Gaucho men placed well in a variety of events. Junior Chris White finished fourth in the 5,000 with a time of 14:59.47 while senior Cheyne Murray’s final throw of 167’1″ placed him sixth in the discus event.
UCSB secured several conference qualifiers in San Diego. Sophomore Harrison Osourji tagged a time of 48.82 and freshman Scott McConville recorded a time of 1:55.50 in the 800. Freshman Art Avitia also earned a trip to the Big West Championships in Northridge by qualifying in the 1,500 with a personal best time of 4:01.51.
“We didn’t send our full squad, but we did pretty well, I would say,” Avitia said.
Both the women’s and men’s squads have been hampered financially this season. The administration cannot afford to send every athlete to all the tournaments.
“It’s hard to compete against teams that have the funding,” Avitia said. “In our conference, Long Beach State, Cal Poly, Idaho, Fullerton and others are able to get better athletes, so I guess it’s a little unfair.”
Santa Barbara will send its elite competitors to the Mt. San Antonio College Invitational, held Thursday through Sunday, while the majority of the Gauchos will attend the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational on Friday.