FULLERTON, Calif. - The UCSB women's track and field team used seven event victories to win the Challenge Cup over Long Beach State, 189.5 to 180.5. UCSB senior Melissa Rake set a new school record in the javelin with a throw of 160'1. Gaucho grad student Tori Tsolis pulled off the 800m-1500m double under the Cal State Fullerton lights, winning each race with a decisive closing sprint. The UCSB men locked into a close team battle with eventual winner, Long Beach, but fell in the end by less than a point, 176.5 to 176.
Women's Team Scores
Cal State Fullerton 147
UC Irvine 147
Men's Team Scores
Cal State Fullerton 133
The UCSB women move to a perfect 9-0 in dual meet scoring on the season. The Gaucho men pull above .500, now with a record of 5-4.
The Gauchos received a jolt of electricity as the first field event in the stadium was getting underway. Rake trailed the leader in the javelin until the third round of throwing, where she connected with a line drive shot placed dead red out to the center of Titan Stadium. As the jav pierced the field, Rake walked off to the side, analyzing the feel of the throw. When the distance was called she cracked an unexpected smile, not realizing how far the implement had traveled. For the second consecutive year Titan Track has delivered for the Gauchos in the javelin as Thomas Gore-Schreck set the men's record at this meet last season.
News traveled quickly to the rest of the team and the Gaucho contingent responded in kind.
Maxine Goyette made quick work of the field in the 3,000m steeplechase. Goyette, a seasoned veteran for the Gauchos immediately took the lead and pressed the pace underneath a cloudy Fullerton sky. She took the win in 10:47.50. A surprise second for Kelsey O'Connell in 10:59.00 added fuel to the scoring effort. O'Connell moved to #10 in schol history in the event for her performance.
While Rake was contesting the javelin, UCSB sophomore Kiely Gode was testing out her new eight step run-up in the long jump. She seemed comfortable with the added speed, leaping out to a new personal best 18'7 and taking a key early meet event win for the team.
Another key contributer for the Gauchos alongside Tsolis was sophomore Jenna Hinkle. The duo appeared to be having a blast as they set up not one, but two outstanding finishes in as many races. Tsolis took the win in the 800m at 2:11.09 but Hinkle was close in towe at 2:12.87 for second. A 15 point bounty for the Gauchos.
Earlier in the meet, the script was similar with Tsolis taking the win in the 1500m at 4:31.29, again with Hinkle on her hip for second at 4:32.89. As they crossed the line they high-fived and acknowledged each others effort in a great showing of camaraderie.
The duo have made the 800m and 1500m can't miss events for the the Gauchos.
When the stadium lights opened into full glow, Jessica Emde found herself as the lone competitor in the high jump, having cleared 5'7 for the win. Emde raised the bar to 5'8.75 and cleared it on her second attempt, with room to go. With questionable runway conditions due to the day's rain, Emde bowed out, but not before adding to the Gauchos team point total.
With the meet still undecided, UCSB freshman Sara Bass decided it with her performance in the 3000m. Bass took the lead late and threw down an eye opening 9:59.77 clip a week after her break through 5k showing at UCLA. With a fourth place finish from Tori Yanco and 14 team points, the 3k put it away for the Gauchos on a stormy evening full of surprise performances.
Women's Noteable Performances
It was a team effort for the Gauchos as evidenced by the numerous top-five placings from the rest of the squad.
Valerie Nestor threw a lifetime best of 183'1 in the hammer on her first attempt, placing fourth in an outstanding field of throwers. Nestor holds ground at #5 in UCSB history in the event but is quickly climbing the chart.
Kayla O'Brine threw 139'10 in the discus for an important third. O'Brine also threw 162'9 in the hammer.
Erika Foster ran another strong set over the 100m barriers, placing fourth in 14.35.
Kaitlin Large lowered her 800m best to 2:12.98, placing fourth.
In the shot put, freshman Samantha Ruggles threw a new lifetime best of 40'8.5 to place an important fifth.
Sabrina Janes missed out on the scoring in the 1500m, but finished fourth in 4:44.76.
The UCSB men swept all four distance events and narrowly pulled off their first win against Long Beach State in 10 years at the Challenge Cup, falling by less than one point.
Shyan Vaziri once again headlined the meet for the Gauchos, running only the 800m. Vaziri took off at the sound of the gun and found position in third behind the leaders at the 200m mark. He stayed put through three hundred then took the lead into the final lap. He held a relaxed pace until the final 150m, where he accelerated to the tape in 1:50.73- a crowd of a few hundred helping him to the line.
With Vaziri a single event threat, Anthony Ortolan accepted the challenge of defending the 1500m. He did a marvelous job, taking the win in 3:52.70. Stepping down from his signature 5000m event, Ortolan showed patience and a strong finishing kick that will eventually aid in his quest to break the 14 minute barrier in the long event. Running a close second in the 1500m was Patrick Bourke, finishing in 3:53.01.
Earlier in the meet George Baier took the win in the 3000m steeplechase. Running a solo upfront effort, Baier found a comfortable tempo and finished in 9:20.60. Placing second for the Gauchos was Joseph Rivera in 9:33.40.
Freshman Brian Yeager aided the scoring effort with his 45'9.25 personal best in the triple jump. Yeager placed second overall with his second round leap and is now a Big West scoring threat in the event.
Men's Noteable Performances
Parker Curry placed fourth in the pole vault with a leap of 15'9.
Lee Duncan helped the scoring effort in the sprint, placing fourth in the 100m (10.95) and fourth in the 200m (22.02).
Denley Rodriguez threw a new personal best in the shot put to place fourth. Rodriguez fired off a throw of 52'0.5 in the third round of throwing.
Stephen Leach placed fifth behind Rodriguez in the shot put with a meet best 50'8.75. Earlier in the meet, Leach placed sixth in the hammer with a throw of 175'2.
Kordell Hampton placed fourth in the discus with a throw of 147'10.
Next up for the Gauchos will be Long Beach State on Thursday, April 14th along with a distance carnival at Azusa Pacific and the Mt. Sac weekend, which will be hosted by Cerritos.