Coming off strong performances over spring break, the UCSB men’s and women’s track and field teams will return to the oval and hope to make their presence known against some of the country’s strongest and fastest teams when they compete at the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, California.

“That’s always the goal, to get your school out there and known on a national level,” senior distance runner Bethany Nickless said. “A lot of people don’t know who UCSB is so more and more people are starting to look at our school as we continue to make ourselves known through our success in track and cross-country.”

The 34th Annual Stanford Invitational is a two-day meet starting Friday morning and ending Saturday afternoon. In addition to host Stanford, the Gauchos will compete against teams from all over the country. Among those scheduled to attend are powerhouses Arkansas, Notre Dame, Florida State, Tennessee, Georgetown and others.

“We always go to Stanford looking for P.R.’s [personal records] because the meets there are against top competitors, which means the races and conditions are perfect for recording fast times,” Nickless said.

The Gauchos are looking to build off the strong performances they recorded over the break. Two weeks ago at the USC Trojan Invitational, UCSB received a great combination of speed and power. Senior thrower Jeff Stewart had an outstanding day, throwing the shot put 56’9″, good enough for second place and just three inches shy of his personal best. Senior distance runner Chris Ashley left the competition behind in the 3000m, running for a first place time of 8:32.34.

On the women’s side, junior jumper Jane Doolittle’s effort of 5’5″ in the high jump was good enough for third place and freshman Lindsay Brunner came in seventh in the 800m with a time of 2:17.33, the fastest time for a Gaucho this season.

The first race is scheduled for Friday at 8:45 a.m. with the women’s 5,000 meter run.