SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. The UCSB Men's and Women's Track and Field Teams both defeated Cal Poly SLO by double digits in an epic Blue/Green Rivalry dual meet in San Luis Obispo.
Men: UCSB 106 Cal Poly 93
Women: UCSB 106 Cal Poly 95
Every year, Big West Track and Field powerhouses UCSB and Cal Poly SLO meet up for a dual meet as one final tune-up before the Conference Championship. The combination of entering peak season form and a fierce team rivalry brings the best out of both teams and transforms into an exciting clash between these two programs.
"You don't find this type of energy at most meets. We had steeplechasers being cheered on from all around the track. Olé's were spontaneously breaking out for fellow teammates. This is a special kind of meet", Head Coach Pete Dolan was quoted remarking after the competition. This energy carried UCSB athletes to a number of new personal bests and All-Time list performances.
SPRINTS, JUMPS, and HURDLES
On the men's side, JR Lee Duncan had a career day placing 2nd in the 100m in 10.78 and winning the 200m in a new best of 21.86. He also led off the winning 4x400m team. JR Myles McDonald won the 400m Hurdles in a heat with only his teammate and still clipped a 52.79. He anchored the winning 4x400m that came from behind and overtook the Mustangs in the final few meters before the finish line. SO Parker Curry won the Pole Vault on misses, once again clearing a 16'0" bar. FR Brian Yeager lept to a new best of 46'11" in the Triple Jump which earned him #10 on the All-Time List.
The women sprints got started with a 4x100m win in 47.64 to Poly's 47.69. This was in part thanks to FR Alanna Epps who set bests of 12.50 and 25.48 in the 100m and 200m. JR Betsy Armitage finished ahead of all competition in the 400m with a mark of 57.24. She also anchored the winning 4x400m team. FR Hope Bender had a huge day in the hurdles as she finally broke the 14 second barrier in a perfect "Texas wind". Her new best of 13.91 moves her up to #2 All-Time. Another outstanding freshman performance came from Sierra Emrick, who cleared 13'3.5" to win the Pole Vault. This mark now ranks her #2 in the Big West Conference and #38 in the NCAA West Region. SR Jessica Emde continues to stay on top of Big West competition with a 5'8.5" win in the High Jump.
JR George Baier cruised to a 3000m Steeplechase win in 9:22.61. SR Joseph Rivera followed close behind to a season best of 9:30.54. The 1500m proved to be an exciting drama-filled event. SR Shyan Vaziri took the race out into the headwind and did most of the early work as the rest of the field shuffled in line behind him. A mid-race fall affected a few of the racers but didn't stop SR Tommy Poston from staying focused on the task at hand. With 250m left, Mustang Clayton Hutchins and teammate made a big move to take over the lead and it looked like it was going to be a Cal Poly sweep. However, the two seniors Vaziri and Poston displayed their veteran experience and resolve to pull ahead in the final 100m to achieve the Gaucho 1-2. The 800m was a similar race for Vaziri as he took after SR Andrew Farkas. Both Gauchos worked together to take the top 2 spots in splits of 1:52.61 and 1:53.05. Farkas came back later to make a 4x400m win possible. And in the final distance race of the meet, SR Anthony Ortolan took on a sea of green in the 3000m run. 67 and 68 second laps got the race started and it was apparent that it would be an honest race. The senior calmly sat in second place and showcased strength and patience as the Mustangs tried to hold him off. Mustang Sophomore Giguere did his best to drop Ortolan with a hard kick down the final 300m but Ortolan answered back the last 100m, flying through to the finish to a new best of 8:16.17, #3 Gaucho All-Time.
For the women, JR Kelsey O'Connell took the Steeplchase win by a large margin in a new personal best of 10:56.21, #9 All-Time. SR Tori Tsolis continued to get work done as she has all season, kicking down a duo of Cal Poly runners in the 1500m. She finished in a fine mark of 4:22.19, despite the windy backstretch. In the 800m, it was an even more tactical affair, as the race went out in a pedestrian 35 seconds for the first 200 meters. JR Kaitlin Large took the race into her own hands and pressed the pace in the front as Tsolis sat patiently behind. With 200m to go, it looked as if Tsolis turned on a switch and had shifted into a whole new gear. She finishes with a large negative split to run 2:11.50. Large is strong enough to finish 3rd in 2:14.83.
The throws squad had a successful day in San Luis Obispo, smartly using the tumultous winds to their advantage and not letting it get them the way of some big throws. JR Stephen Leach scored major points for the Gauchos as he finished top-3 in the Shot, Hammer, and Discus. His Hammer mark of 182'1" was a new personal best. SO Jeremy Franklin won the Hammer with a mark of 185'4". FR Kordell Hampton set a 6-foot new Discus best of 167'11" to place 2nd in the event. This moves him all the way up to #7 All-Time for the Gauchos. And to round out a great day, JR Matthew Kuskey had a monster throw of 221'11" in the Javelin. This won the event and was a new personal best and #4 All-Time.
The women swept the Hammer competition, taking the top 6 places. SO Kayla O'Brine led the charge with wins in both the Hammer and Discus in throws of 171'10" and 144'0". Discus and Hammer second places were earned by SR Ashley Alama and JR Valerie Nestor. School record holder SR Melissa Rake won yet another Javelin competition with a solid throw of 143'10".
The Gauchos will carry the momentum from this meet into the Big West Conference Championships May 12-14. A select few will be competing at the Occidental Invitational to chase regional marks. Stay up to date with live results by following the team on Facebook and Twitter and checking back on ucsbgauchos.com.