For some members of UCSB track and field, Saturday was the last chance to qualify for next week’s Big West Conference Championships. Some personal-best times were recorded and some long throwing distances were measured at Saturday’s meets in Eagle Rock, Calif., and Northridge for the OXY Invitational and Northridge Open, but it wasn’t always enough to get the job done.
Senior distance runner Jason Boyce was searching for a Big West qualifying time at Occidental College, where he ran 15:08.09 in the 5,000-meter, a personal-best time in his last race as a Gaucho, but about three seconds over the conference-qualifying mark of 15:05.
“I was happy that it was my fastest time,” Boyce said. “It’s kind of bittersweet; I ran a good time, but it just wasn’t fast enough.”
In the women’s 5,000, sophomore distance runner Christie Farson was able to qualify for the conference championships with a time of 18:10.32. It was a day of firsts for Farson – it was the first time she ran the 5,000 for the track team and the first time she will be extending her season into the conference championships.
“I’m real excited because it’s my first time qualifying for the conference championships,” Farson said. “You just know that it’s your last chance and that you have to do your best or else you’re done.”
Junior Tetlo Emmen and senior Ben Armel, both 800-meter runners, turned up the speed necessary for championship racing by running the 400 and finishing just a tenth of a second apart, with Armel trailing Emmen 48.51 to 48.40.
The sprinters, hurdlers and throwers were off to Northridge and made an impressive display with freshman hurler Scott Anderson out-throwing the competition and the Gaucho women hurdlers taking the top five spots in their event.
Anderson launched 55 feet, 11 1/4 inches in the shot put to secure first place in the event, an NCAA regional-qualifying mark, a personal record and the second farthest throw in Gaucho history.
Santa Barbara dominated in the women’s 400 hurdles, taking the top five spots for the event. Sophomore Stellamarie Hall took first with a personal best of 63.28, followed by sophomore Lauri Schakett, then freshman Noelle Phares, sophomore Diana Joyner and freshman Sara Heidelberger. Joyner also ran a personal best with a time of 65.43, good enough to qualify her for the conference championships.
On the men’s side, freshman Max Bellissimo tied his personal best of 48.65 in the 400, and Anteo Quiroz finished second in the 400 hurdles behind teammate Nino Kolyouthapong with a personal-best time of 57.41. Kolyouthapong finished with a time of 56.66.
The conference championships start Wednesday at Irvine with the heptathlon and decathlon events at 11 a.m. When the multis conclude, the rest of the track and field events will begin with trials Friday and conclude with finals Saturday.