LA JOLLA, Calif. - The Gauchos sent a small contingent of throwers to the Triton Invite at UC San Diego, Friday and Saturday in search of long throws. Over 1,500 athletes were in attendance, some from across the globe, hoping for strong winds and sunny conditions. The winds were there. The sun was a different story. Regardless, Albert Hughes led the team with his 201'3 hammer throw, placing fourth in a field of 48 throwers.
The Gaucho women were in action on Friday with the early hammer throws and late discus events scheduled. A few of the Gaucho ladies came back and competed in the shot put Saturday.
Hanna Person continued her hot streak in the hammer, throwing 172'10. Person has now broke the 170 barrier in three consecutive competitions dating back to the Stanford Invite. She is #5 Al-Time at UCSB in the event.
Valerie Nestor recorded a hammer mark of 159'1, the second best throw of her career.
UCSB junior Ashley Alama recorded a mark of 152'6 in the discus, good for the second best throw of her career, a familiar trend for the Gauchos on a wet, raining two day set of events. Alama, competing in the shot put on Saturday broke 40 feet for the first time with a mark of 40'0.75.Heather Hawes, a senior from Nipomo, CA., hit a throw of 152'3 on her third attempt in the discus. This was the third straight meet for Hawes over the 150 mark. Lara Lewis, a redshirt sophomore from Clovis, CA., recorded a mark of 139' in the discus, the second best throw of her season. Lewis also recorded a mark of 40'9.5 in the shot put.
Freshman Kayla Thayer hit a throw of 129'6 in the discus and threw 41'6.5 in the shot put.
Kayla O'Brine recorded throws of 132'5 in the discus and 147'11 in the hammer.
Hughes paced the men with his hammer performance. Hughes opened the competition with a 200'3 effort. He recorded marks of 194'3 and 197'10 to go with his meet day best mark of 201'3- the second farthest throw of his career. Hughes placed fourth overall. This was the second time Hughes has competed against the NCAA #1 thrower, Michael Lihrman from Wisconsin. Lihrman dominated the competition with a final round throw of 239'.
Jeremy Franklin, a freshman from Carson, CA., threw 174'2 to place 18th in the field of 50. Franklin has a season's best throw of 179- A mark which ranks #8 in the Big West this season.
Austin Sahs, a sophomore from Sacramento, CA., threw 163'11, nearly a foot under his lifetime best in the event.
By the time the collegiate/open discus sections were underway, the rain was in full force, but with the meet already behind schedule the officials let the event go as is. 26 men dropped from the competition or recorded a series of fouls. But one athlete for the Gauchos took advantage of the conditions, producing a lifetime best.
Stephen Leach, a redshirt sophomore from Carmel, CA., made a key adjustement to his speed in the back of the throwing ring and after feeling out his first two throws, unleashed a 6 foot lifetime best throw of 152'0. Leach achieved the Big West qualifying mark of 150 with his effort.
"We competed well in rough conditions. That's what this time of year is all about." said Associate Head Coach Cody Fleming.
"Albert is showing the strength of a fourth year thrower. Our trio of Heather, Ashley and Hanna are all starting to get on a roll. Stephen was the star of the meet for us. The officials actually flooded the throwing ring to add traction to the surface. They used a Gatorade jug with drinking water and once they finished picking out the ice cubes, Stephen stepped in and hit a good throw. The whole group was excited about that one."
Next up for the Gauchos is the Cal Poly Dual. This year the dual will be held at Westmont College. The meet will be held on Saturday, May 2nd. A full preview and meet schedule will be released this week. Check back with ucsbgauchos.com for more info.