Another chance to prove yourself.
That is how the UCSB track and field team views each meet. On Friday, the track and field team will travel north to San Luis Obispo to compete in the three-day Cal/Nevada Championships. Teams from all over Nevada and California including UC Berkeley, Cal State Northridge and Cal Poly will battle for the title. The Gauchos are looking forward to the challenge.
“Half the team is off resting for next week’s Big West Challenge Cup,” UCSB Head Coach Pete Dolan said. “Our team goal is to get good performances and get ready for the Challenge Cup.”
UCSB’s top team members will not compete this weekend but the Gauchos still have a solid lineup. For the women, junior Cosette Smith will return after being out for part of the season. Senior Tiffany Armel is expected to do well in the 800 meter and junior Desiree Leek is strong in the 1500 meter. Many of the sprinters will be resting, but freshmen Lauren and Lindsay Christman should be quick off the blocks in the 400 meter.
“We’re hoping to compete well and have fun before the [Challenge Cup],” Smith said.
The Gaucho men look forward to an improved performance from junior Hunter Orahood in the high jump and freshman Clark Hatchet in the pole vault.
“In this meet, we are hoping to improve our status for the year and put ourselves in a place to do well at home next week at the Big West Challenge Cup,” UCSB Assistant Coach John Dagata said.
This season, the track and field team has had a mix of standout performances and disappointing results. The women’s team is one of the best in UCSB history, constantly setting new school and personal records. Senior Jasmine Washington holds the third-best time in the Big West for the 400 meter. School records have been set by Washington, sophomore Amy Haapanen and Lauren Christman.
“The women are exceeding my expectations and really coming around,” Dolan said. “They’re deep and full of good surprises.”
Unfortunately, the men have had to deal with several obstacles this season; namely injuries. However, the men have boasted a few of their own astonishing performances. Junior Jeff Gardina and senior Chris White hold national provisional marks in the 10,000 meter and are ranked 14th and 17th respectively in the country. In the field events, senior Mark Martello has established himself in the pole vault and the team has seen great things from junior Ryan Lockner in the shot put.
“We’re achieving our expectations on some levels and not on others. We’re a committed team; any part can do well. [Success] is about reaching those levels at the same time,” Dagata said.