This past weekend, the UC Santa Barbara track and field team sent several athletes to the NCAA Western Regional, which is the prerequisite tournament in order to reach the NCAA Championships. Athletes needed to place in the top five in order to earn a bid to Nationals. Unfortunately for the Gauchos, their highest finisher was senior thrower Scott Anderson, who took sixth place.
Anderson had an impressive senior season, capping his career off as the Big West Champion and will leave UCSB as the record holder in the shot put. However, he failed to match his career record and only threw 58-3 in the shot put. Nonetheless, he still has a chance to earn an at-large selection to make it to the NCAA Championships.
Fresh off wining the Big West crown, freshman sprinter Ryan Martin qualified for the 800m finals with a final time of 1:50.23, to edge the third-place finisher from BYU by only three tenths of a second. However, in the second day it was Martin who would be edged, as he took eighth place with a time of 1:52.12, a mere three seconds behind the winner. Despite not qualifying for the big race, this freshman is on the brink of starting a remarkable career.
Junior distance runner Scott Smith concluded his season in a rather disappointing fashion. After foregoing the 1500m to focus solely on the 5000m, he finished in 23rd place with a time of 14:46.60. The junior had a solid season that he will look to build off of next year.
Freshman thrower Irene Kujore had an exceptionally impressive throw in the discus, as her efforts extended to 146 feet. However, after faulting on other attempts, she settled for a 21st place finish.
Junior Katie Voigtlander also had a depressing finish, coming in 15 seconds slower than her personal record in the steeplechase. She finished with a time of 11:04.48, good enough for fifth place in section one, but not sufficient enough to move on any further.
Junior pole-vaulter Scott Finley cleared 16-1.25 to take 27th place. The height was nearly half a foot lower than his personal record and the junior will look to improve upon it next year.
Sophomore sensation Barbara Nwaba culminated her impressive season with a 13th place finish in the high jump. Despite the sophomore’s success, she was not content with the results, as she always strives to improve.
“At first I wasn’t happy,” Nwaba said. “I wanted to set my personal record.”
Despite not advancing to Championships, the sky is the limit for Nwaba, who holds three school records in only her second season. And after seeing the competition at the West Regional, Nwaba feels better prepared for next year.
“Being there [and] watching the races will definitely push me to work harder next year,” she said.
If the rest of the track team adopts a similar attitude, then next year may result in one of the best UCSB track and field teams ever.