The UCSB track team competed in the Big West Multi-Event Championships this past weekend, with several Gauchos placing in the top 10 of their respective events.
Sophomore Barbara Nwaba led the way for all of the Gauchos, placing third in the heptathlon. Coming in ranked second, Nwaba was looking to compete for the title and led after day one, but after failing to set personal bests in the final competition, she had to settle for third. After falling short of her dreams for the gold, Nwaba was disappointed.
“I wasn’t happy [with my performance],” Nwaba said.
Although the sophomore did not meet her ultimate goal, she still made the all-conference team and scored 5,000 points, eclipsing that mark for the second time this year. Yet despite earning all-conference honors, Nwaba had mixed feelings about her results.
“I guess I’m satisfied,” Nwaba said. “But not really.”
Nwaba will now head into conference championships this weekend to compete in five events: the high jump, both the 4x100m and 4x400m relays as well as the 100m and 400m hurdles. Nwaba remains one hundredth of a second off the regional qualifying marks in the 400m hurdles.
The versatile track star is aiming to place in the top five in all her events, which may be tough. Her participation in numerous events could easily leave her fatigued.
Rounding out the top eight and nine in the heptathlon were freshman Tayler Williams and sophomore Maureen Ajoku. Williams scored 4,487, which was a personal best that also ranks her sixth all-time on Santa Barbara’s heptathlon list. Despite her personal success, Williams was more proud about helping out her team.
“I feel really good about scoring [points] for my team,” Williams said.
Williams has had surprising success in only her first year in collegiate competition, placing high in the heptathlon and participating in a whopping seven events, four of which she had had no prior experience in until joining the UCSB track team. For this reason, the well-rounded performer is optimistic about her chances to improve next year.
“Next year I’ll have more experience and be even more ready,” Williams said.
Williams will compete in both the long and triple jump in the Big West Championships this weekend. The freshman is aiming to both place and set personal bests in both events.
The Gaucho men had less success at the decathlon, as the highest Santa Barbara finisher was freshman Derek Masterson, who took ninth place with 5,980 points. Masterson was followed by fellow freshman Mike Larocca who took 10th place, while senior Jacob Maus came in 11th with 5,946 points.
Masterson was aiming to reach the 6,600-point mark but failed to do so as his season was plagued by injuries, which caused him to get out of shape. Even though he was the top UCSB finisher with respect to injury limitations, the freshman was not content with his results.
“I did alright, [but] we all had weak performances,” Masterson said.
The top Santa Barbara decathlon finisher is now focusing all of his energy on the pole vault, where he jumped 16’2″ to set a personal best. Only four inches away from the Western Regional qualifying height, a determined Masterson is looking to place high in conference and extend his season with a trip to Regionals.