UCSB track and field is looking for everything to work out in the long run, especially in the 800-meter,500-meter and 4×400 relay.
The Gauchos will get their chance this weekend, sending athletes to two invitational meets in preparation for their final meet of the regular season May 8 at Occidental College and the upcoming Big West Championships, May 12 through 15.
Both the men’s and women’s teams will send their top distance runners to Palo Alto to race in Stanford University’s Cardinal Invitational.
Santa Barbara’s top 11-12 distance runners, including junior Ben Armel, sophomores Lauren and Lindsay Christman and senior Chris White, take the track Friday, competing with some of the best runners the nation has to offer.
Armel, the Big West’s top performer in the 800 this year, will race in the “A section,” meaning his heat will feature the fastest 800 runners competing in the meet.
“Ben has a real opportunity to run fast and get into a race that will set a pace to get him a very good time,” Assistant Coach Jeff Jacobs said. “They have a great venue up there with great conditions for getting good times.”
The Gaucho distance runners will use the optimal conditions at Stanford to continue their quest to qualify for the NCAA West Regional. Both Lauren and Lindsay have nearly broken the regional qualifying time of 2:10.3 in the 800 and will look to achieve that goal at the Cardinal Invitational.
“They are just going up there to run a fast 800,” Jacobs said of the Christmans. “The Stanford meet is definitely a good opportunity to get qualifying marks for regionals.”
Although only the distance runners will compete in Palo Alto, the rest of Gaucho track and field team will not take the weekend off, but will instead travel south to Irvine for the Steve Scott Invitational Sunday.
UCSB will focus on putting together its best 4×400 relay teams this weekend in Irvine. For the men, Armel, freshman Nick Cunningham, senior Nohel Corral and sophomore Tetlo Emmen have posted the team’s top time this season.
The women will look to team up the Christmans, senior Jasmine Washington and sophomore Kylie McCuen to optimize their performance in the 4×400. The fastest time for the women this season was just three seconds off the school record. Washington and McCuen made up half of the 4×100 relay team that set a new school record for the Gauchos this season.
Jacobs said that most of the Gauchos will be competing in fewer events to prepare for the Big West Championships in two weeks. UCSB will also be scouting Anteater Stadium’s track and field where the championship meet will be held.