Long Beach, Calif- The UCSB Men's and Women's Track& Field team traveled to Long Beach State Friday to compete at the 24th annual Big West Challenge Cup. The 4-way competition between UCSB, Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton, and UC Irvine always serves as an excellent preview of Big West talent and depth halfway through the season.
In this year's edition, the UC Santa Barbara Women took the Cup for the second year in a row, scoring 190 points thanks to a number of strong performances and season bests across the board.
The Men had their share of event wins and breakthough performances and finished 3rd behind Cal State Fullerton and champion, Long Beach State.
UC Santa Barbara 190
Long Beach State 182.5
UC Irvine 157
Cal State Fullerton 138.5
Long Beach State 197
Cal State Fullerton 183
UC Santa Barbara 178
UC Irvine 100
New Gaucho All-Time Marks
Sike Azu-Irondi 21.31 200m (#2)
Shannon Trumbull 13.81 100m Hurdles (#2)
Jenna Hinkle 2:09.41 800m (#4)
Shannon Trumbull 60.56 400m Hurdles (#4)
Jazmin Moss 39'7.75" Triple Jump (#5)
Kayla Thayer 45'2.25" Shotput (#7)
Kaitlin Large 2:11.43 800m (#10)
Top 3 Performances
Sike Azu-Irondi set a new personal best with a wind-legal 21.31 to grab 3rd in the Men's 200m. With this perfomance, the Junior shaves .15 off his previous time and moves all the way up to #2 All-Time on the UCSB 200m List.
Jenna Hinkle and Kaitlin Large went 1-2 in the Women's 800m, both achieving new personal bests and All-Time marks. Hinkle would lead wire to wire with a fast opening lap of 62 and Large would follow close behind. 2:09.41 and 2:11.41 gems would be #4 and #10 All-Time for the Gauchos.
Andrew Verdin and Isaiah Lozano would also go 1-2 in the Men's 1500m. This race also went out hard from the gun and then became a tactical affair. The Senior and Freshman would log a 3:54.07 and 3:56.68.
Jenna Hinkle would also win the Women's 1500m with a 4:30.84, gapping the rest of the field. Freshman Katie Camerena would have a breakout performance to grab 3rd in a new personal best of 4:36.75.
Senior Maxine Goyette executed a strategic win in the Women's 3000m, confidently taking the race in the final few laps. Her time of 9:55.99 was a lifetime best. She was followed by a season best performance by Sophomore Miranda Ross, who logged an excellent 10:07.29 for 3rd.
Veteran Hurdler Shannon Trumbbull would win the 400m Hurdle event in a new lifetime best of 60.56, good for #4 All-Time. The Senior has been on a roll this season, as she also ran a wind-legal 13.81 in the 100mH event to move to #2 All-Time.
Decathlete Jeff Lam grabbed 3rd in the Long Jump with a 23'0.75" leap.
Senior Kelsey O'Connell won the 3000m Steeplechase with a strong solo 10:49.02 effort. She was followed by Freshman Celeste Wilson who had a breakout 11:05.53 run to finish 3rd. This was a 15 second improvement in only one week for Wilson.
Stephen Leach finished 2nd in the Men's Shot Put with a 53'0" heave. The Senior had a big day and posted solid marks in the Hammer and Discus, as well.
The school-record holder Kordell Hampton won the Discus against formidable opponents with a monster throw of 178'9".
And the Gaucho Men's Javelin crew once again proved to be a force in the Big West, going 1-3 on the rest of the field. Senior Matthew Kuskey led Sophomore Neiman Howe and Junior Chris Ross with throws of 216'4", 203'4", and 195'9". For Ross, this was a near 15-feet improvement.
Cassidy Peng attained a top-3 finish in the Women's Pole Vault with her consistent performances at the 12'0" bar.
Heptathlete Tori Usgaard placed 2nd in the Women's Long Jump with a leap of 19'1.5".
Sophomore Jazmin Moss set her first career best of the season in the Women's Triple Jump with a 39'7.75" #5 All-Time performance. She won the event by over 5 inches.
Junior Kayla Thayer had a career day in the Shot Put and Discus, placing 2nd in the Shot with a 45'2.25" personal best and 3rd in the Disk with a 150'2" bomb. Her Shotput mark moves her to #7 All-Time.
And Senior Valerie Nestor threw very well in the Hammer, attaining a 191'0" throw to get near her PB and place 2nd overall.
"Across the board, more and more Gauchos are finding their stride and translating the hard work they have put in all year into success in competition. As a result, we are seeing the Women's team rise up and the record books being re-written every week" observed Assistant Coach Peter Van Beurden.
The Gauchos will head back down to Southern California for one of the hottest weekends of Track and Field. They will be split between the Bryan Clay Invitational and historic Mt. Sac Invite in the hunt to attain new personal bests and regional marks against some of the nations best.