UCSB is Second in Both Track & Field Championships

Derek Masterson (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Derek Masterson (Photo by Tony Mastres)

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - Both the UC Santa Barbara men and women set records in taking second place in the 2013 Big West Track and Field Championships at Cal State Northridge's Matador Track and Field Complex on Saturday.

The Long Beach State men and UC Davis women captured first place at the meet. Host Cal State Northridge claimed third place with 127 points.  The next three spots were jumbled as newcomer Hawai'i finished fourth with 76.5, followed by Long Beach State with 75 and Cal Poly with 71.5.  UC Riverside (65.5), UC Irvine (57) and Cal State Fullerton (45.5) completed the women's standings.

"Perhaps due to the televised broadcast of the meet this year, I have to say this was the most electric and energetic conference meet I've been a part of," UCSB head coach Pete Dolan said. "It is hard to believe that the Gauchos did not win both sides based on how emotionally drained I was by the end of the meet.  All respect goes to champions Long Beach State Men and UC Davis Women. The Gauchos left absolutely nothing in the tank this Championship weekend. Although both teams came here to win, when the fog of disappointment lifts these teams should be very proud of their performances."  

The women broke six school records and won five separate events this weekend. The Gauchos tallied 128.50 points, aided by senior Irene Kujore's three gold medal finishes and first-place showings from Jennifer Carey and Amanda Rodriguez.

Grace Esslinger broke UCSB's 100m record in the preliminary rounds by running 11.80, besting the previous mark by .02 seconds. The senior finished in seventh place in the finals.

Jenn Carey had one of the best performances of her career by setting four records in her four events. She placed first in the 400 with a time of 52.29, shattering the previous record of 53.37, and currently stands as the 12th fastest time in the nation. In the 200, Carey set the school record in the prelims with a 23.70 finish and went on to break her own record with a time of 23.69 in the finals, placing second at the meet.

In the 400 hurdles, Amanda Rodriguez broke her school record for the fourth time this season by finishing at 58.32. It's the fastest time in the conference and the 22nd best in the country. Before this season, Barbara Nwaba held the record when she finished the event in 60.51 back in 2010.

Esslinger, Carey and Rodriguez were also apart of the record-breaking teams in the 4x100m Relay and the 4x400m Relay. The 4x100 mark of 45.73 broke a record that stood since 2006, while the 4x400 performance (3:39.46) topped the previous record by nearly four seconds.

Danielle Moreno contributed with 16 points by finishing second in both the 5,000m and 10,000m. 

For the field events, Irene Kujore led the women by completing a historic performance with three wins at the meet. She tossed a 166-04 in the discus, winning by nearly six inches, to go along with her wins in the shot put and hammer Friday. Kujore became the first individual in Big West history to win all three championship events at the same meet.

For the men's team, UCSB finished in second place with 152 points.

Mitchell Haag continued his dominance in the high jump, claiming his third straight gold with a winning height of 6-11.50.

Derek Masterson successfully defended his decathlon title last weekend, but this week he arguably put together a more impressive performance with his javelin throw when he made a massive 218- 04 throw to win the event. To put the feat in perspective, the second place finisher threw 198-11.

The Gauchos picked up 18 points in 1500m as Juan Paredes (3:50.01), Bryce Rausa (3:50.73), and Shayne Vaziri (3:50.81) put together the 2-3-4 finish for UCSB. Rausa's finish was a personal-best.

In the 400, Jordan Scott made a strong push on the final turn to win in 46.44, a personal best. After finishing first in the individual event, Scott anchored the 4x400m Relay team to gold. The team (Winton Nguyen, Eric Severiano, James Martin, and Scott) won by nearly three seconds with a time of 3:09.84.

That performance nearly broke a 1987 record of 3:37.36 still held by UNLV.