After a strong showing last weekend at the Stanford Invitational, the UCSB track and field team looks to continue its solid performance in the Big West Challenge Cup today at UC Irvine.
Junior distance runner Stephanie Rothstein set a new Big West Conference record in the 10,000-meter run with a time of 33:27.85, good enough for 10th place in the event and the 9th best time in the NCAA.
Joining Rothstein in stellar times was sophomore distance runner Chris Ashley with his Big West-leading time of 14:03.65 in the 5,000-meter run, also the second fastest time in school history.
Meanwhile, seniors thrower Gabe Mann and sprinter Kylie McCuen had strong performances in Fresno during the Cal-Nevada Championships. Mann launched his javelin 220’1″ for first place and McCuen finished first in the 100- and 200-meter dashes with times of 12.16 and 24.07 seconds, respectively.
“We had some good showings last weekend in pretty much all of the events,” Head Coach Pete Dolan said. “All around, I think we hit our stride last weekend.”
The 14th annual Big West Challenge Cup features competitors from Santa Barbara, Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine.
“It’s a great tradition,” Dolan said. “We’ve won the women’s cup four times, but we haven’t won it on the men’s side yet.”
The top two competitors from each school in each event receive points based on where they place. The point system is a little complex, assigning 10 points to the top finisher and progressively less points to other competitors, depending on where they place. The team with the most points at the end of the meet wins the cup.
Santa Barbara has great depth in the distance events with runners like Ashley and Rothstein anchoring the team, but is still looking to improve in the throwing competitions.
“The throws look to be our biggest challenge right now,” Dolan said. “But, I feel good about our chances this weekend.”
The Big West Challenge Cup will provide the Gauchos a glimpse at the competition they will be facing in this year’s Big West Championships. The field events kick off the Challenge Cup at 1 p.m. at Anteater Stadium.