The UCSB men’s and women’s track and field teams will have high expectations this weekend as they travel to UC San Diego for the Triton Invitational. Festivities will begin at 10 a.m. on Friday with the Hammer Invitational and roll all the way through Saturday at 6 p.m., ending with the 5000m relay event.

Gaining some from momentum after a successful outing at the Bryan Clay Invitational and Mount Sac Relays, the Gauchos look to buckle down against some heavy Big-West competition and make a solid push for postseason play. With the Big West Championship and NCAA West Preliminaries steadily approaching, now is the time for UCSB to show what it is made of and finish strong.

Look for Albert Hughes to play a major role this weekend, as he will tee things off for UCSB in the hammer competition. The senior thrower from Garden Grove, California was the sole participant for the Gauchos in the hammer event last weekend. Hughes made his presence known in the Mount Sac Relays however, ending the day with an impressive throw of 185’5.

Hughes is having a great year in his senior campaign, moving up in the UCSB record books to third all-time in the hammer event as well as the clinching number three spot in the NCAA West Region. He will participate in the hammer competition starting at 10 a.m. on Friday. There will be three preliminary throws and the top nine will advance to the finals.

Jessica Johnson will set the pace for the women’s team. Johnson has been a spark for the Gauchos in her last couple of meets. The senior runner placed third overall in the 400m at the Mount Sac Relay with a time of 53.86. This was Johnson’s best time all year and the third time in her career that she dropped under the 54-second mark. Johnson will run in the 400m on Saturday at 11 a.m.

Also be on the lookout for junior Adam Avila and senior Bryce Rausa to run another impressive 3,000m steeplechase. The two runners both crossed the finish line in under 10 minutes in the Mount Sac Relays. Rausa finished with an impressive time of 8:53.96 and Avila followed that up with a time of 8:59.60. The men’s steeplechase will begin at 5:20 on Saturday.

With the end of the season already in sight, each of these in-conference matchups will be very critical for the Gauchos to build some momentum.