After sweeping the Gaucho Round-Up last week, the UCSB men’s and women’s track teams will head down the coast to face four other UC schools this Saturday at Irvine’s Anteater Stadium. Joining UC Irvine and the Gauchos in the All-Cal Cup will be UC Riverside, UC San Diego and Big West Conference newcomer UC Davis.
Last season both the men’s and women’s teams brought home All-Cal Cup victories-the women’s fourth and men’s second consecutive cup victories. The Gauchos hope to keep both streaks alive behind a strong throws team led by senior thrower Jeff Stewart. Stewart’s three victories in last week’s meet paced the Gauchos to victory, as his wins included the shot put, discus and the hammer, in which he destroyed the competition by over 33 feet. For the women’s squad the Gauchos managed to sweep the pole vault behind freshman Jennifer Brown’s 11’00.25” effort.
“Obviously our main goal is to win the meet,” sophomore hurdler Drew Johnston said. “It’s our first time seeing Davis, so we hope to take them and the rest of California down. We are strong in both the distance and throw events. As a sprinter we have been working hard and I know we will pull through. Overall we are a young team so this is a chance to see what we can do.”
Although the Gauchos lost many runners from last season, new additions like Brown in the pole vault and Barbara Nwaba in the hurdles juxtapose seasoned seniors Lauri Schakett and Diana Joyner who look once again to be competitors for the Big West title. On the men’s squad, senior sprinter Max Bellissimo and junior hurdler Elmer Guzman look to lead the rest of the young Gauchos to victory.
“This season the competition season will be gnarly, but we will be prepared for battle and we’re not going to let them kill us,” Johnston said.