The Santa Barbara track team competed in the highly touted Oregon Relays this past weekend, and several Gauchos enjoyed success with freshman middle distance runner Ryan Martin and sophomore hurdler Barbara Nwaba leading the way.
Martin went back to competing in 800m after competing and winning the 400m at the Bryan Clay Invitational at Azusa. He ran a personal best of 1:49.35, good enough to finish sixth in the fastest heat of the relays. Despite the improvement, he is still ranked second in conference, trailing the conference leader by only two tenths of a second.
“We’re in the same ballpark,” Martin said. “But he’s still got me.”
Though humbled by his results, Martin is optimistic and feels he is getting stronger as the season progresses. With only a few weeks left until the conference tournament, the freshman believes he will have what it takes to win.
“I definitely think I can get [the conference leader] by the end of the year,” Martin said.
Sophomore Barbara Nwaba continued her stellar season at Oregon, placing in the top three in both events she competed in. After setting the UCSB record in the heptathlon last week, the sophomore ran 62.01 in the 400m hurdles to take first place in her heat and third place in the tournament. Although she was aiming to break the school record in the 400m hurdles as well, Nwaba will have to settle for a fifth overall ranking. The sophomore was first upset by her results but took comfort in setting her personal best.
“At first I was disappointed,” Nwaba said. “But then I realized I’m heading in the right direction.”
Nwaba also cleared 5-5.75 in the high jump to tie for second place in the overall competition. Christina Nowak also cleared the jump. With only two weeks left until the conference heptathlon, hurdling coach Josh Priester is doing his best to prepare her by mixing up her events.
Another Gaucho with an outstanding performance was junior distance runner Katie Voigtlander. Voigtlander opened up the season as a huge surprise when she improved her best steeplechase time by 25 seconds. Despite her improvement, the junior still hasn’t qualified for conference. After three steeplechase attempts, Voigtlander narrowly missed qualifying by a minimal margin.
However, with this weekend bringing out heightened competition, Voigtlander ran 10:47.68 to qualify for Regionals in one of her last chances of the season. She still remains second on Santa Barbara’s all-time list behind current assistant coach Bethany Nickless.
Junior distance runner Scott Smith continued his spectacular season with another solid performance, running 3:47.78 in the 1,500m, an event in which he has already qualified for the Regional Tournament.
Senior thrower Scott Anderson threw 57-7.50 in the shot put, about half-a-foot shy of his UCSB record. Anderson took second place in the meet and retains his position as second in the conference.
The men’s 4x400m relay, consisting of senior Max Bellissimo, senior Jason Newland, sophomore Alvin Go and freshman Ryan Martin, had their best showing of the season so far. They ran for a combined time of 3:13.39, which garnered fourth place in the meet and lists them as the fourth-best time in conference.