Twelve athletes will travel to Austin, Texas to compete for the UCSB track and field teams in the NCAA West Regionals for a three-day meet beginning on May 23.
“Regionals is a great opportunity to compete against the best in the nation,” junior Dani Moreno said. “No matter what happens, everyone who goes to regionals comes back with a story to tell.”
Among all the Gauchos representing the men’s and women’s teams, senior Irene Kujore stands to make the biggest impression. Kujore has qualified in three events with excellent scores in the shot put (51’ 7.75”), discus (166’ 4”) and hammer throw (193’ 5”).
Kujore picked up three of the five wins for the women’s side during the Big West Championships. Senior Jenn Carey picked up a win in the 400-meter run while setting a school record with her time of 52.29. Carey’s time was good for 12th in the nation and made her eligible for regionals.
Another senior, Amanda Rodriguez, got the Big West crown in the 400-meter hurdles while in Northridge. Her time was good enough for a school record of 58.32 and ninth in the West region. Moreno will be the final Gaucho to compete for the women’s side with her score in the 10,000-meter distance run (34:27.81).
On the men’s side, UCSB looks strong, especially in the middle and long distance runs. Eight athletes will compete, including the back-to-back Big West decathlon champion, senior Derek Masterson. “Excitement mounts as the moment nears,” Masterson said. “The Gauchos are ready to surprise some people and make a splash.”
Another repeat champion will compete for the UCSB men, senior high jumper Mitchell Haag. After recording a top score of 7’ 2.5”, Haag will enter the competition ranked fourth, which makes him the highest ranked of all the UCSB men.
In the sprints and middle distance runs, UCSB will be represented by junior Jordan Scott in the 400 meters, sophomore Shyan Vaziri in the 800 meters, senior James Martin in the 400-meter hurdles and junior Sean Johnson in the 110-meter hurdles.
Rounding out the lineup is freshman Brian Guijarro in the 10,000 meters and senior Juan Paredes in the 1,500 meters. Both the men’s and women’s teams will also compete in the 4×400-meter relay. Carey, Rodriguez, junior Grace Esslinger and freshman Tori Usgaard will team up for the women, with Martin, Scott, junior Winton Nguyen and junior Eric Severiano competing for the men.
“We have a great group of very talented Gauchos so don’t be surprised if a few of us go on,” Moreno said. “Our coaches have prepared us to peak at the right time and our teammates back home will be supporting us every step of the way.”
A version of this article appeared on page 9 of May 23, 2013’s print edition of The Daily Nexus.
Photo by William Zhou of The Daily Nexus.