Gauchos Finish Strong at Jim Klein Decathlon/Heptathlon

Gauchos Finish Strong at Jim Klein Decathlon/Heptathlon

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Three UCSB athletes competed in the Jim Klein Multi Events at Westmont College on Thursday and Friday. Zach Tombol and Ike Okpara completed the grueling ten event decathlon while Lolene Swallow was the lone Gaucho competing in the heptathlon. 

Zach Tombol, competing in his first decathlon finished third in the 19 man field with a score of 6327. Tombol used a big second day to close the gap on the leaders. He opened day two with a 17.99 in the 110m hurdles. In the discus, Tombol won the event by nearly 20 feet with a throw of 145'3. He carried the momentum right into the pole vault where he cleared his first bar of 9'10 easily, but when he released his grip on the pole it returned its energy right into his eye, cutting it open. Tombol stumbled off the pit, his eye gushing blood before the Westmont training staff pulled him to the training tent. 

The Westmont trainers did a fantastic job closing the wound but Tombol missed the next two bars and had to return at a higher height. When he returned to the runway he showed no fear and navigated the bar on his third attempt. He would go on to jump 12'11.75 and place second overall in the event. 

In the javelin Tombol threw 178'11, pulling him closer to the leaders and closed the meet with a 4:59.57 effort in the 1500m. 

Ike Okpara finished in fifth overall with a score of 6167. 

Okpara opened day two with a 16.40 personal best in the 110m hurdles. He added a throw of 119'7 in the discus and vaulted to a height of 10'11.75. He threw 134'5 in the javelin and finished the competition with a 4:59.89 in the 1500m. 

Colton Thurman was the decathlon winner from Lane Community College in Eugene, Ore with a score of 6450. 

Lolene Swallow scored 4122 in her first heptathlon. Her score put her in fifth overall in the field of nine. 

Swallow battled a hamstring injury to complete the meet. She finished the competition by placing third in the 800m event with a 2:29.89 effort. 

The Gauchos will be back on the track at the UC Riverside Spring Break meet on March 28th. The full squad will be in attendance.