Emotions ran high for the UCSB track and field decathletes this weekend. Each team scratched and clawed in every event in the Big West Combined Events Championship, but it was the commanding performance of Darion Williams that sealed the deal and handed UCSB a victory. The Gauchos now hold the lead for all Big West teams heading into next week’s championship meet.
Six Gauchos in total traveled to UC Riverside Track and Field Stadium on Friday looking to solidify their standings in the Combined Events Championship; a back and forth action set between the Gauchos and their in-conference opponents.
Williams won his third career decathlon win for UCSB on Saturday. The sophomore from Murrieta, CA kicked things off strong in his first day of competition, ending the day in fourth place in a field of seventeen competitors with a score of 3,480.
Three new personal bests were set by the decathlete in the 100m, 400m, and long jump. Williams finished the 100m with a time of 11.59 and followed that up with an impressive mark of 20’11.25 in the long jump. He then closed the day up with a career low 51.45 time in the 400m.
Lolene Swallow finished with a score of 4,055 in the heptathlon. Swallow finished as the top freshman performer in her conference.
Although an impressive outing by the Gauchos in the first day of events, it was no smooth sailing for them in the second day of competition. Notable decathletes including Cal Poly’s Teddy Scranton gave UCSB a run for their money, finishing the weekend with a final score of 6,768.
Nevertheless, the Gauchos stepped up to the plate in a collective team effort. Williams had another phenomenal performance quickly erasing the team deficit in the 110m hurdles. Williams won the event with a time of 14.99, beating Scranton’s personal best of 15.64 on the day.
Zach Tombol, competing in his first official multi-event, threw a compelling mark of 142’8 in the discuss. With nine out of the top twenty conference leaders in the javelin event, Tombol threw a team-high mark of 179’3 helping his team regain the lead. The sophomore decathlete finished in sixth place on the day scoring a total of 6,344.
Billy Britt also made his presence known in the 1,500m. The senior decathlete took first place in the event with a time of 4:41.83. This performance moves him from fifth to fourth place, finishing the weekend with a score of 6,436.
The Gauchos finished in the top three in the 1,500m behind Britt, Tombol, and sophomore decathlete Jeff Oechsli to take the Big West event title. The Gauchos delivered 20 team points with four athletes in the scoring column.
UCSB has an important week ahead of it. The Gauchos will head back to UC Riverside with their full track and field squad for the Big West Championships. This will be the last Big West conference event of the year before all qualified athletes compete in the NCAA West Regionals. Action will set to take place this Friday and roll all the way through Saturday.