Big West Combined Events Championships Preview

Big West Combined Events Championships Preview

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UCSB will send two decathletes and three heptathletes into action this weekend to the Big West Combined Events Championship. Hosting a two weekend block of championship competition, CSU Fullerton will welcome in nine Big West women's teams and eight on the men's side. The decathlon-heptathlon portion of the championship will take place on Friday-Saturday, May 5-6 while the regular meet will be the following weekend, May 12-13. 

Big West Championship Homepage (Schedule Found Here)

Where
CSU Fullerton

When
Friday-Saturday, May 5th & 6th

Admission is FREE for the multi-events. 

Events Contested
Heptathlon:
Day One- 100m Hurdles, High Jump, Shot Put, 200m
Day Two- Long Jump, Javelin, 800m

Decathlon:
Day One- 100m, Long Jump, Shot Put, High Jump, 400m
Day Two- 110m Hurdles, Discus, Pole Vault, Javelin, 1,500m

Scoring
Aside from the event scoring, this one counts toward the team totals in the overall championship. The top-eight finishers will score from first to eighth, 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1. Those points will be factored into the team totals next weekend. 

Scoring Calculator
For those of you looking to track the event scoring at home, click on this LINK to access a scoring calculator for the combined events.  

Meet Preview

Assistant Coach Peter Van Beurden was able to spend a few minutes with the following UCSB multi-event athletes to get their thoughts heading into the meet:

Tori Usgaard PB: 5551 pts, #2 UCSB All-Time, ranked #1 Big West, #9 West Region, #14 NCAA

Hope Bender PB: 5212 pts, #3 UCSB All-Time, ranked #3 Big West

Tyler Nelson PB: 7220 pts, #2 UCSB All-Time, 2016 Big West Champion

Jeff Lam PB: 6615 pts, #8 UCSB All-Time, ranked #2 Big West

How are you preparing this week for the Big West Championship? 

Usgaard: This season is a little bit different for me, because as a veteran, I already know what I need to do. There's nothing at this point that I can change so it's just all about trusting that I am capable of great things and doing it. So the preparation is pretty minimal. I just need to be confident in what I can do. This is the one we've have been waiting for!

Bender: I am just trying to stay super hydrated and get plenty of sleep and not do anything out of the ordinary. Just keep the routine, keep it consistent.

Nelson: Doing the same thing I always have: train, stay relaxed, stay healthy and stay safe. But mostly emphasizing staying relaxed, not letting nerves get to me.

Lam: I'm taking it a little easier, making sure my body is more fresh and healthy. I need to make sure I am healthy and feeling springy and fast.

What kind of mindset do you hope to have during the competition?

Usgaard: The main thing is, in my second Hep this season, Coach Annette and Cody told me to focus on myself. The first Hep I was so focused on my teammates and how they were doing. For this week, I want to continue my focus on what I need to do and have confidence my teammates will get it done too.

Bender: I'm trying to go in focusing on one step at a time, one attempt at a time, not looking at the big seven event thing as a whole, but taking each one as they come and getting first attempt clearances, first attempt throws, all that good stuff, hoping that will result in a great overall score.

Nelson: Go out conservative, stay relaxed, but win it. Definitely win it.

Lam: With the Dec, it's easy to get caught up in the whole thing, so you have to take it one event at a time and not be affected by the last event or worried about future events. You have to stay in the moment. For example if you are throwing shot and you have high jump next, you can't switch to a jumpers mentality before you are done throwing. 

What makes this Multi different than ones during the regular season?

Usgaard: This just has so much more to do with the team. I mean in my previous Heps it was all about me and my season, but this performance is also going to affect the team. For the sake of the team, I'm going to do well.

Bender: Well for this one the pressure is on, it's the first time going against all the people in our conference. It's the last chance of the year to put forth a really big score. Tori probably has her mark for nationals but I want a shot to go to nationals. I did well last year and I want to do well this year too.

Nelson: The fact that I really haven't had a chance to compete yet this year because of injuries. So now that I am back, it would be really cool to make a statement and win it.

Lam: This is where we finally see all the competitors in our conference and that's what makes this exciting and scary. It's everybody together at the same meet for the first time. The tensions are pretty high and the people come out of the woodwork to put forth their best. 

What would finishing on the podium mean to you? 

Usgaard: I'm really excited because since it is my Senior year, I want to finish achieving the goal I've had my entire career. When I returned to the team, I told Coach Cody what I wanted to do and although it wasn't in the cards last year, I am hoping that this year it is.

Bender: Well this year, it's such a different mindset from where I was at last year, even though I am in the same exact spot in the rankings. I think last year I was trying to get on the podium for different reasons, making it all about myself. But this year, I want to put my best effort out there and really fight with Tori and Riley [Cooks] and let the chips fall where they may.

Nelson: It would mean a lot. Winning two in a row is what I want to do. Winning my first one last year held a lot of meaning and I want to defend my title. 

Lam: It would mean a lot. As a transfer, at one point in my career I didn't know if I would even get to continue competing at the next level, let alone at a Division 1 school. Being able to podium would be a huge deal for me. 

Associate Head Coach Cody Fleming and multi-event coach Annett Fleming were asked what they were most looking forward to.

Coach Annett: I am hoping that they focus on one event at a time and lay it all out there. If they put their best foot forward in each event, great things are going to happen. 

Coach Cody: I am looking forward to each of the athletes putting together the meet they are capable of putting together. They have done everything that I've asked and everything Coach Annette has asked so the theme of this week is "Let it happen". They are ready.

The first event to go off is the 100m dash at 1:00 PM Friday, May 5th. Follow meet day updates on the teams FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.