Every year, athletes strive all season long, through good times and bad, with one goal in mind: to do well in the postseason. For a select few members of the Santa Barbara track & field team, that chance will finally come this weekend. The Big West Track & Field Multi-Event Championships kicks off this Friday at UC Irvine’s Anteater Stadium and will conclude the following day with the crowning of the Big West champs in the heptathlon and decathlon.
The female Gauchos competing in the heptathlon will be sophomore Maureen Ajoku, freshman Tayler Williams, possibly junior Christina Nowak and of course www.UCSBGauchos.com Athlete of the Week Barbara Nwaba.
Nwaba is fresh off setting school records in both the 100m and 400m hurdles, matching the school record she already held in the heptathlon, the event she will be competing in this weekend. The sophomore currently ranks second in conference to UCI’s Lauren Collins and is looking to not only win the event, but also to qualify for the Western Regional Tournament in the process. However, that will be a tall order, as Collins is currently about 400 points ahead of Nwaba and has the benefit of competing on her home track. Therefore, Nwaba will have to set personal bests in almost every event to make up Collins’ advantage.
“It’s going to be hard,” Nwaba said. “But I’m gonna go for it.”
The male Gauchos who will be competing in the decathlon are freshmen Josh Codding, Mike Larocca and Mike Powers, sophomore Nick DeBeaubien and lone senior Jacob Maus. Together they bring one of the deepest UCSB teams ever to the multi-events and are all striving to compete near the top.
The rest of the Santa Barbara track team will head to the Occidental Invitational this Saturday to compete one last time before the Big West Conference finals, which will commence May 15.