The UCSB track and field team will take on rival Cal Poly in their final home meet this weekend, beginning at noon on Saturday.
With the Mustangs coming down from San Luis Obispo, an enthusiastic crowd should make the meet a memorable one.
“We hope the students come out to support the team. We’re big rivals with Cal Poly. Last year the women won but the men lost. This year, no one has an edge,” Assistant Coach Jeff Jacobs said. “It will be interesting to see the results. It’s going to be very competitive.”
Based on current times, the women have the advantage over Cal Poly. Sophomore Amy Haapanen holds the top mark in all three throws: the shot put, discus and hammer. Senior Jasmine Washington posts the fastest times in both the 200- and 400-meter. Senior Desiree DeJesus will lead the 3000-meter steeplechase and freshman Lindsay Christman is expected to do well in the 800.
The Gauchos will enter their three top runners in the 1500, freshman Lauren Christman, senior Cosette Smith and junior Desiree Leek. All three women posted similar times; within a few tenths of each other.
“Cal Poly has very close times to our girls, with in half a second. If we could beat [Cal Poly’s] top girl, the early event will set the tone for the rest of the meet,” Jacobs said.
According to the times, the men have a slight disadvantage to their rivals, but the meet could go either way. Junior Hunter Orahood is expected to win the high jump and sophomore Isaac Herrera is the best man in the long jump. The Gauchos also plan to go one and two in the hammer throw with sophomore Eugene Bradley leading the way. Senior Nohel Corral has continued to improve and always spices things up in the 400. The men’s 4×400 relay posts a slightly faster time and has a chance of topping the Mustangs.
“It’s going to be very close and a lot will have to go our way,” Jacobs said. “The men lost last year, so they’re definitely going to try hard to win.”
The Gauchos also expect more regional qualifying marks. DeJesus has a good shot in the steeplechase. In order to win the event, she will most likely have to make a qualifying time to beat the already qualified Mustangs. During every meet, Corral has closed in on the time for the 400, so Saturday might finally be his day. Bradley is only one foot away in the shot put and his fellow shot putter junior Ryan Lockner also has a chance.
“No one wants to give anything up. The athletes are excited to run at home, especially the seniors. It’s their last home meet,” Jacobs said. “It’s their last chance; It’s going to be competitive.”