Defending Champion Gauchos Look for Repeat at Big West Title Meet

Brian Guijarro
Brian Guijarro

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - After a successful weekend at the Big West Multi event last weekend the UC Santa Barbara men's and women's track and field teams will continue to compete in the Big West Championship meet on Friday and Saturday, May 10-11, at Cal State Northridge.

Entering the weekend, the women's squad will start out the competition in fourth-place with the five points that freshman Tori Usgaard earned by finishing fourth in last weekend's heptathlon. The men will start their defense of their 2012 Big West title in first-place with the 19 points that first-place Derek Masterson, third-place Mikael Powers, and sixth-place Billy Britt earned in the decathlon.

The women's side is going to have a tough task against some very competitive teams in the conference, particularly last year's titlist UC Davis.  Although UCSB doesn't have the same depth as some of the other competing teams, head coach Pete Dolan can provide a strong showing.

Among the women's competitors who could contribute are sprinters Jennifer Carey and Grace Esslinger, distance runners Dani Moreno, Cassie Brooker, Jessica Chadwick and Christine Cooperstein, long jumper Veronica Gines, and thrower Irene Kujore.

The men's team retains much of its leadership and experience from the 2012 championship team.  The Gauchos are expected to be in contention and likely will battle Long Beach State for Big West supremacy. 

UCSB's men who are expected to contend include sprinters Marquis Caldwell and Evan Walker, middle distance runners Shyan Vaziri, Andrew Farkas and Juan Paredes, distance runners Bryan Guijarro, Bhavik Kanzaria and Abel Mogesse, hurdler Mikael Powers, steeplechaser Bryce Rausa, high jumper Mitchell Haag, and throwers Albert Hughes, Pat Smith and Derek Masterson.