Ten Gauchos will compete in the NCAA West Preliminaries this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The UCSB track and field team will compete in nine different events for the chance to qualify for the NCAA Championships in Iowa.
On the men’s side, junior Ryan Martin will compete in the 800m run and holds the NCAA’s second fastest time this year at 1:45.34. Last year, he finished fourth at the NCAA Championships, earning All-American honors — a status designated for the top eight positions. Two weeks ago, Martin beat the country’s number one ranked runner — UC Irvine’s Charles Jock — at the Big West Championships, and looks to replicate that performance.
“I’m expecting to make it to Iowa,” Martin said. “It’s not gonna be an easy road, so I gotta stay healthy and race well on [Thursday and Friday], and hopefully compete for a national championship.”
Sophomore André Piñon will run in the 400m hurdles. His qualifying time of 51.91 from the Cal Poly Dual is ranked 32nd. Sophomores Juan Paredes and Tyler Brady will both compete in the 1,500m where they rank 45th and 48th, respectively.
For the women’s side, senior Amanda Moreno will run in the 5,000m looking to match her personal best 15:58.02, which ranks ninth in the NCAA. She is aiming for All-American honors after qualifying for the Prelims last year but not the Finals. Likewise, junior Justine Diaz is currently ranked 42nd at 2:08.89 in the 800m and competed in the Prelims last year. She was one spot away from qualifying for the quarterfinals, finishing in 25th at 2:08.75.
Senior Jean Lightfoot will compete in both the shot put and discus, where she ranks 27th and 34th with distances of 51’0” and 163’3”. Junior Andrea Jacobs and sophomore Ari Selix will both compete in the 3,000m [[ok]] steeplechase, ranking 24th and 48th. For the 10,000m, senior Breanne Strenkowski ranks 36th with her Big West Championship-winning time of 34:44.95. Strenkowski is also looking to advance further than last year, when she placed 20th in the Prelims.
“I’m definitely looking to make it [in the top 12 to qualify for] Finals this year,” Strenkowski said.
Events take place Thursday through Saturday at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.