A season of grueling training and intense competitions culminates this weekend when UCSB track and field takes on the rest of the Big West at the conference championship meet in Northridge.

[media-credit id=20037 align=”alignleft” width=”166″][/media-credit]The Big West Multi Championships were held this past weekend, kicking off the team-scoring aspect of conference championships. And, thanks to a record-setting weekend by junior Barbara Nwaba in the heptathlon, the Gauchos are currently leading the women’s competition with 17 points.
Nwaba hopes to carry over her momentum from the heptathlon to this weekend as she competes in the high jump, 4×100 relay, 4×400 relay and 400 meter hurdles.

“It is such an adrenaline rush to see everyone in the Big West at the same place,” Nwaba said. “There should be a lot of [personal records] from a lot of people. We’re just waiting to see who rises up and seizes the opportunity.”

On paper, the women’s team appears poised to take home the conference championship, but championships are not won on paper and the Gauchos are aware that they must perform in order to reach their goals.

“For the girls we are just focused on doing it now,” Nwaba said. “We have worked so hard we know we deserve it. We want to compete hard and just take it.”

Three different members of the women’s team have earned Big West Athlete of the Week accolades over the course of the season, including high jumper Jane Doolittle, distance runner Danielle Domenichelli and thrower Irene Kujore.

The men’s team enters conference championships intent upon delivering their best performance of the season.

“Our training since the beginning of last summer is structured so that we can perform our best at this meet,” junior thrower Alex Umstead said.

The men have their fair share of outstanding athletes to lean upon, including UCSB record holders Scott Finley (pole vault) and Scott Smith (5000 meter).

In the throws, Michael Guerra looks to improve upon his seventh place finish in the javelin at last year’s conference championships by building upon his already outstanding season. Umstead also scored points at the conference meet last year finishing seventh in the shot put and sixth in the hammer throw.

The men’s team is currently in fourth place after the Big West Multi Championships but look to move up over the course of the weekend.
The Big West Track and Field Championships will be held at Cal State Northridge from May 14 through 15.