Great Scott! After last weekend saw junior distance runner Scott Smith and junior pole vaulter Scott Finley both qualify for Regionals, this weekend’s outstanding performer at the Cal Poly Invitational in San Luis Obispo was senior thrower Scott Anderson.
Anderson redshirted during the 2008 season and has not competed in nearly two years. Despite the break the senior still managed to shot put 56-0.75 and qualify for Regionals in his first outing this year. Anderson, who has qualified for the Regional tournament in all of his four years at UCSB, is proud of his achievement, but nonetheless has much grander aspirations.
“I’m definitely trying to qualify for Nationals,” Anderson said.
In order for Anderson to reach this goal, he will need to occupy the top five spots in Regionals. Seeing as how it was only his first meet back, the senior is extremely confident in his ability to reach his goal.
“I had jitters out there,” Anderson said. “But I’ll get past that.”
Other throwers with great weekends were sophomore thrower Alex Umstead and freshman thrower Julian Samson. Umstead took first place in the men’s hammer throw and fourth place in the men’s discus. Samson also competed in discus, and despite being a freshman, he took third place in the meet off a throw of 150-1, good enough to earn him a spot at the conference tournament.
“I’m really excited, man,” Samson said. “This is what I’ve been aiming for as an athlete.”
In light of such early success, the freshman is looking to improve.
“I want to reach 160 feet,” Samson said. “It’s within my reach. I think I can do it. Actually, I know I can do it.”
The throwers weren’t the only people to be successful this weekend. Sophomore sprinters Amanda Lee and Barbara Nwaba both finished well in wind-aided sprints. Lee finished the 100m hurdles with a time of 14.65 seconds, and Nwaba finished the 200m dash in a time of 24.96. Nwaba qualified for conference in the event after shaving off nearly a second from her personal best, but she is more excited at the prospect of improving in the heptathlon.
“I’m super excited because it can help with the heptathlon,” Nwaba said.
Nwaba has another heptathlon in two weeks, and will compete in the 400 hurdles this weekend in order to be better prepared.
Another sprinter that improved their time was sophomore sprinter Lauren Kodama. Kodama ran a 12.39 in the 100m, good enough to finish in third place. However, Kodama needs to shave off .09 of a second in order to qualify for Regionals.
“It felt really good to get my college best,” Kodama said. “But I really want to qualify.”
Other Gauchos who met their personal best were sophomore pole vaulter Missy Burley, who cleared a bar of 11-7.75, and freshman jumper Tayler Williams, who jumped 19-4.5 feet in the long jump. Williams’ jump was wind-aided, but if there had been no wind interference, her jump would have been good enough to place her second on Santa Barbara’s all-time list.
As Williams is only a freshman, she looks to have a very promising career ahead of her.