IRVINE, Calif.--Against all odds, the UCSB men's track and field team rallied together to win their first Big West Championship...in over 40 years. But in a sport that often touts individual victories, this weekend was truly a team effort, an effort that in the end has made all the difference. The UCSB men concluded competition Saturday afternoon with a total of 179 points to defeat the previous defending conference champion, Long Beach State who scored 150 points.
Anthony Masci won an individual title in the 3k steeplechase in addition to Mitchell Haag's title in the high jump, both defending Big West champions. Derek Masterson, who won the decathlon at last week's multi-event championships also contributed greatly.
The men's 800m race brought droves of fans out to Anteater stadium and packing the concerete stadium seats to its limit. Ryan Martin and Charles Jock went head to head with Jock ahead of the pack from the start. Towards the finish line with 80 meters left to go, Martin turned it on and gave it his all but Jock eclipsed the finish line two-hunderths of a second faster at 1:44.75. Martin and Jock currently hold the two fastest 800m times in the entire nation, a feat that the two held before last season. Both will automatically qualify to compete in the USA Nationals in June.
Freshman Shyan Vaziri barely missed a podium spot in the 1,500m clocking in 3:45.71 to finish fourth in Conference and a new lifetime best. Anthony Masci competed in the 5k race, placing sixth (14:41.86) followed by Juan Paredes (14:43.49) and Jeremy Acosta (14:44.18) who ran a personal best. Acosta placed seventh in the 10k race, clocking in 31:40.79.
Sean Johnson finished sixth in the 110m hurdles at 14.70 and Mikael Powers crossed the line in 14.89. Powers had quite a race in the 400m hurdles where he ran a lifetime best of 52.54 and barely missing a podium spot by less than three-tenths of a second.
The 4x400m relay team finished third overall clocking in 3:11.63 (Karlon Johnson, Winton Nguyen, Jordan Scott and Ryan Martin).
Derek Masterson tied for seventh in the pole vault at 15-5 and sixth in the long jump at 23-4.75. John Walsh placed third in Conference in the long jump (23-10.75).
Alex Umstead had two 3rd place finishes in the throw, tossing 57-7.5 in the shot put and 189-7 in the hammer throw events. Chris Hamilton lead the men's discus event at 162-7. Freshman Kyle Strawn finished 8th in the discus (158-1) and fourth in hammer throw (184-1).
Michael Guerra had a season best throw of 219-1 in the javelin to finish second in Conference while Masterson threw 199-8 to place fourth.
It was a bittersweet day for many of the senior Gaucho men on Saturday, which marked the last time they would compete in track and field. But the memory of winning a Big West Championship will be one no one will ever forget.