The UCSB track and field team will split up this week to face competition in two different locales. A portion of the squad will compete in the Cal Invitational Multi’s, held in Azusa and the others will head to Walnut, Calif., for the Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) Invitational.
The Cal Invitational Multi’s will pit athletes from Santa Barbara against some of the top talent in the state, while those heading to Mt. SAC will compete against some of the top talent in the country in one of the biggest races of the season.
The Cal Invitational Multi’s began yesterday and finish up later today, while the Mt. SAC events begin today and finish up Saturday for those competing at the University and Olympic development level.
Santa Barbara will look to solidify some of the holes during these days of competition. The Gauchos have been struggling to find consistency in their throwing outside of senior javelin thrower Gabe Mann. Senior distance runner Scott McConville will look to rebound from a disappointing fifth-place finish in the 800-meter run last weekend and revisit his second-place finish behind fellow Gaucho and junior distance runner Mike Chavez in the 1500 meter run.
On the women’s side, senior sprinter Kylie McCuen torched her competition in the 200- and 400-meter dashes as well as the women’s 4×400 relay. A solid performance is once again expected from her, as well as from sophomore distance runner Bethany Nickless. Last weekend in the Big West Challenge Cup, Nickless finished first in the 3,000-meter steeple chase and set a new school record in the process. Her time of 10:42.31 beat the previous school record, which was also held by Nickless.
Head Coach Pete Dolan won’t be expecting much from the hurdlers or men’s sprinters who have failed to stand out among the competitors in the Big West, let alone in the country. Where Dolan will likely expect strong performances is in the distance events, with runners such as McConville, Chavez and Nickless, along with junior distance runner Stephanie Rothstein and senior distance runner Seanna Martin, who finished first and second, respectively, in the 5,000-meter run last weekend in the Challenge Cup.
Sophomore distance runner Chris Ashley placed first for the men in the 3,000-meter run last weekend and continues to be a solid runner for the Gauchos. Also providing consistency for a Santa Barbara squad that needs just that is junior distance runner Micah Tyhurst. Tyhurst placed first last weekend in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and will look to continue his solid efforts in this week’s competition.