After competing exclusively in invitationals and open meets all year — events where typically dozens of schools participate — the UCSB men’s and women’s track and field teams take on Cal Poly one-on-one to settle their chapter of the blue-green rivalry.

The annual dual meet between the two schools is one of the highlights of the year for the Gauchos because of the unique team aspect the meet provides.

[media-credit name=”Jarrick Goldhamer” align=”alignleft” width=”156″]track[/media-credit]“The environment of this meet is a little different,” said junior javelin thrower Michael Guerra. “Everyone has a little more attitude.”

In a dual meet the score of each team is tallied after each event. The first two people from each team to finish a race or the two people who have the best mark score points for their team. The goal is to have the two highest finishers from your school come in as close to first place as possible and for the two highest finishers from the other school to come in as far from first place as possible, which makes it advantageous to put as many people in the different events as you can.

“Last year was an intense battle because we stack up pretty well against them,” said junior shot-putter Kayla Smith. “It gives everyone an opportunity to show what they can do.”

This meet is also one of the last opportunities for track and field athletes to qualify for conference championships. Each team is allowed to bring 32 people to the conference meet, but they must first reach the standard marks the conference requires to participate.

“A lot of people have already qualified for conference so this is the last tuneup,” Guerra said. “We have a meet next week for those who don’t qualify.”

The showdown between the Gauchos and the Mustangs is Saturday, May 1 in San Luis Obispo.