The bright lights were on this past weekend for the Gauchos as the UCSB men’s and women’s track and field teams traveled to UC Riverside for the Big West Championship. Despite intense weather conditions, both teams performed well. The men finished second overall with 167 points, the second-highest team total in school history, while the women placed in fourth with a score of 80 points.
After holding the lead for the majority of the day, the Long Beach State men’s team finished strong in the discus and triple jump, taking the Big West title with a final score of 185 points. On the women’s side, Cal State Northridge dominated the competition, finishing miles ahead of all other schools with a final score of 212 points.
For the UCSB men, much of the load was carried by senior captain Thomas Gore-Schreck. Deadlocked in a fierce javelin competition, Gore-Schreck set the tone in the first official conference event on Friday. The UC Davis transfer hoisted one of his best throws on the year with a mark of 218’3. The event was tight throughout as less than five feet separated first place to the eighth spot.
Nevertheless, the senior thrower showed consistency in his sets, compiling a series of six throws that all exceeded the second place mark. Gore finished the weekend in first place and earned a thrilling 21 points for his team. This impressive performance by the Portola Valley native earns himself the title of the Big West Javelin Thrower of the Year.
It was business from the start for Albert Hughes. Facing rainy and unsuitable conditions, the senior thrower did not let this get the best of him, launching his best throw in his opening set with a mark of 199’2. Hughes showed poise during his last conference game as a Gaucho, taking his third consecutive silver medal in the event.
Hughes also finished eighth in the discuss event on Saturday with a mark of 159’4.
On the women’s side, the duo of Jessica Johnson and Jessica Emde helped the Gauchos maintain fourth spot from day one all the way to the end.
Johnson fired out of the gates in her specialty event, the 400m. The senior runner found her stride on the back end, stretching out her lead to 5 meters in the final 180m. Johnson crossed the finish line with a first place time of 52.50, moving her to second place in UCSB history and 16th overall heading into regionals.
She wasn’t the only Jessica performing well for the Gauchos, as Jessica Emde also had a weekend to remember, clearing a personal best height of 5’10.5 in the high jump and clinching her first ever Big West title of her career. Emde climbs into fourth place on the UCSB all-time list and moves to 35th place on the NCAA list.
The Gauchos officially move into the postseason and turn their attention to the NCAA West Preliminary Round. First round competition will be held from May 27th through May 30th in Austin, Texas.