Last weekend, the Santa Barbara track team competed in three different events, leading to several Gauchos entering the UCSB record books – most notably sophomore Barbara Nwaba, who bested her own school record in the heptathlon.
Nwaba, only a second-year at UCSB, led the California Invitational Heptathlon after day one with 3,200 points. She had a solid day two as she set personal best in the long jump, javelin and the 800m, totaling 5,039 points overall to top her previous school record by 267 points. Having already qualified for conference in the 100m and 400m hurdles, she is now less than 150 points away from qualifying for Nationals in the heptathlon as well.
The sophomore is more than pleased with her recent results but, like any athlete, looks to push further.
“I can’t believe I came out and [broke the school record],” Nwaba said. “But I want to be an All-American for the heptathlon.”
The sophomore is setting the bar high, as she also desires to break the school records in the 100m and 400m hurdles before the end of her career.
Another Gaucho who etched his name in the Santa Barbara record books this past weekend was freshman sprinter Ryan Martin.
Martin has already qualified for Regionals in his main event, the 800m. However, he ran the 400m at the Bryan Clay Invitational. Martin’s lack of 400m experience left him out of the fastest heat, yet that did not prevent him from winning the Invitational with a time of 47.75 seconds. Martin is now eighth on the UCSB all-time 400m list and has the second-best Big West Conference times for both the 400m and 800m.
Despite the weekend’s success, the freshman believes he will not compete in the 400m in conference.
“There’s some fast guys in the 800 [meters], I’m going to need all the rest I can get,” Martin said.
Freshman jumper Tamara Thomas also had an outstanding performance at the Bryan Clay Invitational, as she qualified for conference in the long jump with a final distance of 18’9″. Sophomore thrower Alex Umstead won his section in the hammer throw with a toss of 175’9″. Senior sprinter Jason Newland is now fourth on Santa Barbara’s all-time list as he improved his 200m time to 21.51 seconds. Rounding out the record setters is junior Scott Smith, who set his personal best in the 1500m with a time of 3:44.28. Smith earned fourth in the competition but, more importantly, he is now second on Santa Barbara’s all-time list.
Sophomore sprinter Lauren Kodama has been consistent in her 100m dash times all year, yet she has still a hair’s time off qualifying for Regionals. She ran 12.53 seconds this past weekend, but her personal record of the season is 12.39, which is .09 off the conference qualifying marks. With three more weeks until conference, the sophomore remains optimistic about her chances.
“I feel like I can get it before the end of the year,” Kodama said. “I’m focusing on what I’m doing wrong and improving my weaknesses.”