It will be a relaxed weekend for the UCSB track and field team. While most of the team rests for the upcoming Big West Championships, a select few will compete in the Oxy Invitational at Occidental College. On Saturday, the Gauchos will make their last attempt to qualify for the Big West meet.
“It will be a low-key meet, a tune-up for some and [for] others, a last chance for qualifying for Big West. We’re only sending half of the competing roster. The top are resting,” Assistant Head Coach Jeff Jacobs said.
Most of the Gauchos have already qualified at some point during the season. The official entry list for Saturday will not be posted until noon Friday, but the Gauchos look forward to competitive performances in the pole vault and hurdle events. The team will send all of their pole vaulters. For the men, freshmen Andrew Zamora and Clark Hatchet, sophomore Sean Thomas-Bignami and senior Mark Martello will compete and the women will enter freshmen Jessica Horn, Beth Kersey and Heidi Nyberg.
The team will also send several hurdle runners, with all the 400-meter hurdlers competing. Freshman Ashley Coelho has a good shot at qualifying in the 400. Coelho previously qualified in her other two events, the long jump and triple jump, but would like to add one more event to her Big West list. Fellow Gaucho Ashlee Drady will attempt to qualify for the 800, joining the strong lineup of middle-distance runners. Last weekend, Drady ran the 800 in 2:17.23, only half a second off the Big West qualifying time of 2:16.70.
“The big focus for us is the Big West Championship. Most of the team is resting and looking forward to next week,” Jacobs said. “We want to add a few more.”
For the men, sophomore Ben Berkowitz will attempt to improve his 3000 steeplechase by three seconds to qualify for the Big West meet.
“The qualifying time is 9:40.00 and last meet Ben ran 9:42.93. That’s only three seconds off. He’s got a shot,” Jacobs said.
The limit for the Big West Championship is 32 men and 32 women per team. The Gauchos are shaping up nicely but could use a few more key competitors.
“We already have 29 or 30 qualifiers for each side. We’re looking for the last couple of people who can make it,” Jacobs said.