The pressure is on for the UCSB track and field team this weekend, as it is set to travel down to UC Riverside this weekend for a two-day event match at the Big West Combined Events Championship.
With the Big West Championships and NCAA West Regionals in full sight, it will take every bit of effort for the Gauchos to distinguish themselves from the pack of nine conference teams and solidify their standings heading into the postseason. Action will start this Friday and roll all the way late through Saturday afternoon].
Last weekend was a good boost of confidence for the men’s team. The Gauchos dominated their respective matches in the Cal Poly Dual, winning a total of nine individual events and taking the series sweep over rival Cal Poly. UCSB finished the day with a final score of 107-96.
Notables on the day included senior distance runner Bryce Rausa. The Temecula native took a convincing lead in the 1500m Saturday against Cal Poly’s main runner Nick Woolf. Rausa sealed the deal late, finishing first with a time of 3:48.69. With this performance, Rausa takes over the 10th place all-time in UCSB history in the event.
Rausa will be an X factor heading in to the Big West Combined Events. The senior set the second best time in the Big West for the 3,000 steeplechase with his time of 8:51.24 at the Stanford Invitational.
Other notables on the men’s side included distance thrower Albert Hughes. The senior threw for a mark of 198’9 on Saturday, taking his 12th event win and his third consecutive win in the Blue-Green rivalry.
Thomas Gore-Schreck also made his presence known in the javelin event, hoisting a mark of 224’3 and winning his last Blue-Green rivalry match. Gore-Schreck is a three-time Big West Athlete of the Week nominee this season. The senior thrower holds 15th place in the Big West as he prepares for Saturday.
The combined efforts of the Gaucho trio of Gore-Schreck, Hughes and Rausa will carry much of the load heading in to their conference event at UC Riverside.
Heading into this weekend, the men’s team ranks twelfth overall for the NCAA West Regional Rankings.
On the women’s side, UCSB will have to step things up this weekend. The Gauchos struggled in their weekend event at the Cal Poly Dual, falling to the Mustangs with a final score of 108.5-98.5. Although it was a tough outing overall, UCSB put up a fight against its rival in all categories.
Dani Moreno led the way for the girls, setting a personal best in the women’s 3,000m with her time of 9:41.70. The senior runner moves to second place all-time in the event.
This weekend will be a pivotal match for the Gauchos. Following competition at the Big West Combined Events, a select group of athletes will travel to Pasadena to participate in the Occidental Invite.
A version of this article appeared on page 10 of May 7, 2015’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.