With the UCSB track and field regular season winding down, both the men’s and women’s squads enjoyed different outcomes during a weekend of competition at home.
The Gauchos hosted rival Cal Poly on Saturday at UCSB’s Pauley Track, marking the first time that Santa Barbara has competed against the Mustangs in a dual meet this season. The UCSB women won their portion of the dual meet 103-90 while the men came up a bit short, losing 107-88.
Junior long and triple jumper Preston Biller led the way for the UCSB men, posting a personal best in the long jump at 23 feet 5 1/2 inches and winning the triple jump segment easily.
“Getting a personal best in the long jump was really exciting,” Biller said. “I hadn’t triple jumped in over a year and that went well also.”
Sophomore distance runner Cosette Smith enjoyed success at Pauley Track, finishing third in the women’s 1,500 meters with a time of 4:39.56 while freshman middle distance runner Lauren Christman continued her steady improvement.
“I was really impressed [with Christman’s progress],” Smith said. “She’s only a freshman and she ran a personal best in the 1,500, she did great in the 800 and she also ran a fast leg in the 4×4.”
The Gaucho men got off to a mediocre start on Saturday until senior middle distance runner Bryon Lamorandier attempted to turn things around for Santa Barbara.
“Lamo made his debut in the 1,500 and ran pretty well,” Biller said. “It was great to see him in full force. He got all of us pumped up.”
The schedule was unkind to the Gauchos this year as Saturday’s meet marked the lone meet scheduled at Pauley Track. Santa Barbara typically hosts two to three matches per year.
“It’s too bad that we don’t have more home meets,” Biller said.
“It was a perfect day with perfect weather.” Smith said. “We tend to go away to bigger meets, but it was definitely a good day.”
Both the men’s and women’s track and field teams have done well this season but with the postseason approaching, the Gauchos realize now is the time to look for personal bests.
“But we can always improve.” Biller said. “Everyone needs to work on the little things, including technique. We just need to focus on what’s ahead.”
With Cal Poly behind them, the Gauchos travel south to Irvine this weekend to compete in the Irvine Invitational, followed by the Occidental Qualifier the following weekend. The all-important Big West Tournament looms in the distance at Cal State Northridge from May 14-17. Smith has all the confidence in the world in herself and her teammates.
“When everyone is on, we’ll take down some tough teams,” she said.