The men’s and women’s track and field teams traveled to San Diego this past weekend for the prestigious UCSD Triton Invitational, which served as one of the final tune-ups for the Gauchos before the Big West Championships. The Triton Invitational is one of the most anticipated events of the year because of the intense competition the meet provides, and numerous Gauchos turned in solid performances.

“It is one of the larger events we attend all year, but it is also competitive,” said junior shot putter Kayla Smith. “It gives you the opportunity to compete against athletes with the same PRs [personal records] as you.”

[media-credit name=”Jarrick Goldhamer / Daily Nexus” align=”alignleft” width=”150″]Pole Vaulting[/media-credit]

Pole Vaulter Scott Finley clears the bar. He and the Gauchos flew high at the Trition Invitational, with Finley clearing 17 feet for the first time in UCSB history.

Irene Kujore continued her season-long excellence in the shot put by coming in second place amongst attached participants with a throw of 49’7”, her best mark of the season. Tayler Williams also kept her hot streak going in the triple jump, winning the event with a mark of 39’7.25”. Williams credits much of her success in the triple jump to maintaining a good rhythm throughout the season.

On the track, Ryan Martin took first place in the grueling 800 meter with a time of 1:50.22, edging out his nearest competitor by less than 0.2 seconds. Julian deRubira was on the short end of a close race in the 1500 meter, as he took second place with a time of 3:54.09, less than a second behind the leader. On the women’s side Danielle Domenichelli came in first place in the 1500 meter with a time of 4:30.78. The women’s 4×400 meter relay team also earned a win with a seasonal best time of 3:46.91 in the final relay of the day.

The stakes are beginning to rise for the Gauchos as they begin the final stretch of the season in search of a competitive edge.

“The mindset of our team as individuals is to compete,” Smith said. We have been focusing on just beating that person next to you.”

On Saturday the Gauchos travel to San Luis Obispo for a showdown with their arch rivals Cal Poly in a dual meet.