UCSB track and field had a successful weekend as the women took home the Big West Challenge Cup, beating out rival Cal State Long Beach and the men came in second place, losing only to Long Beach State.
The women’s team picked up four event victories on its way to a 187.5-170 final score. Several other athletes finished high on the leaderboard to pad their score. Meanwhile, the men secured multiple wins as well, but as a team, felt the effect of injuries and fell short 213.5-183.
“The fact we were able to repeat as Challenge Cup champions reflects how strong our team is,” junior distance runner Dani Moreno said. “We have a great cast this year and even though we aren’t considered the favorites to win conference, we are Gauchos, and Gauchos always show up when it matters.”
Senior sprinter Jenn Carey got the first Gaucho win of the weekend, beating junior Ashley Sims of Cal State Fullerton 24.08 to 24.19 in the 200 meter dash. It was a career-high time for Carey, who ran a 24.97 last year at the Big West Championships.
Gauchos finished first and second in the 3000 meter steeplechase, with senior Cassie Brooker timing in at 10:40.44 and freshman Maxine Goyette close behind at 11:03.72. UCSB also managed to win multiple non-running events to add on to their success.
Sophomore Katie Lee won the pole vault with a score of 11’ 07.75” and senior Irene Kujore won the hammer throw with a distance of 184’ 10”. Kujore had a great weekend overall, gathering points in three events for UCSB. She placed second in the shot put at 47’ 11” and discus throw at 141’ 10”.
“We can be even better when all our girls are back in their normal events and everyone recovers and competes together,” Moreno said. “But I’ll take a cup championship any day, and I know each girl will pour their heart and soul into every second of competition when it comes to conference play.”
On the men’s side, UCSB had a solid showing from their middle and long distance runners. Sophomore Shyan Vaziri won two events, giving his team a huge points boost. Vaziri ran a 1:52.13 to clinch the 800 meter run, and finished with a 3:49.57 to win the 1,500 meter.
“We were focused on beating Long Beach, since they’re the favorites to win conference,” Vaziri said. “Sadly, they beat us pretty good this time, but we had a lot of key injuries which stopped us from scoring points that we otherwise would have had. If our squad is healthy at conference, it will be a different story.”
Freshman Bryan Guijarro won the 3000 distance run with a time of 8:33.69 to help keep UCSB in contention for the title. The Gauchos also dominated the 3000 steeplechase with sophomore Andrew Farkas (3:17.18) and junior Austin Goodheart (3:17.33) placing first and a very close second.
“Long Beach has a veteran throwing squad, but we have some great young, fierce competitors,” Vaziri said. “I’m sure they’ll claim some points and secure us the conference championship.”
Both the men’s and women’s team will return to action next weekend, with the squad being split between competition at Mt. Sac State and the Azusa Pacific Bryan Clay Invitational.
A version of this article appeared on page 6 of April 15th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
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