The UCSB men’s and women’s track and field teams ran wild over the weekend at both the Pomona-Pitzer and Mt. Sac Invitationals.
Santa Barbara posted many individual personal best times at Mt. Sac, widely regarded as the toughest meet of the year next to the NCAA Championships. Both the men’s and women’s squads competed against some of the best collegiate talent in the country on Thursday and Friday in Whittier, Calif., as part of an invitational that invites athletes from the high school, intercollegiate and professional levels.
Senior team captain Katie Appenrodt qualified for the NCAA Regionals in the 5,000 meters by posting a 16:35.63, which was just .17 seconds off her school record. Sophomore Cosette Smith ran a 16:55.30, 37 seconds off her fastest time and the fourth best time in the event in Gaucho history. Both Appenrodt and Smith qualified for regionals, which sets a bar of 17:00.00, and will head to Stanford on May 30.
Junior Desiree De Jesus also made the UCSB record books over the weekend. The native of Walnut, Calif., shaved an amazing 26 seconds off her previous best in the 5K, finishing with a time of 17:05.30, the sixth best in the history of the program.
On the men’s side, senior J.T. Service ran the 300 steeplechase in 9:11.88, good enough to qualify for regionals. Redshirt freshman Scott McConville turned up the heat in the last lap of the 1,500 to record a career-best 3:50.91, sixth fastest on the all-time UCSB list. The time also bumped UCSB Head Coach Pete Dolan, McConville’s mentor and a former Santa Barbara athlete, off the top-10 all-time list in the event, ending a 21-year stint.
Most of the UCSB athletes participated in the Pomona-Pizer Invitational, held on Friday at Pomona College. Santa Barbara scored high marks in many of the field events. Senior Cheyne Murray notched a season-best 170′ 10″ in the discus throw to lead a troop of Gaucho throwers. Sophomore Ryan Lockner threw 51′, a personal best in the shot put and just three inches shy of the top-10 all-time UCSB list. Freshman Eugene Bradley, already a Big West qualifier in the hammer throw, improved his mark to 162′ 7″ while junior Richie Alpers tossed a season-best 150′.