SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A wide range of Gauchos will be looking to wear the blue and gold of UC Santa Barbara for the 2017-2018 track and field season. Talent from all across the state of California have set course for the coastline views of Santa Barbara and will converge for their first division 1 collegiate seasons come late Winter/early Spring. Below is the list of student-athletes that have signed NLI's to compete for the 2017-2018 academic year, along with a short summary of their accomplishments achieved along their journey to reach UCSB.
Sierra Andrade (Mira Costa High School) Distance
Andrea Anez (Exeter High School) Distance
Kelly Bishop (Monta Vista High School) Distance
Kat Copeland (Folsom High School) Distance
Kathryn Loken (Del Campo High School) Distance
Maddie Meade (Roseville High School) Distance
Ellie Nisbet (Atascadero High School) Distance
Paige Richard (Poway High School) Sprints
Jasmin Rippey (Coronado High School) Distance
Marisa Rodgriguez (Indio High School) Distance
Brenna Scott (Tahoe High School) Distance
Julia Wang (Las Lomas High School) Pole Vault
The Mira Costa Mustang comes to Santa Barbara as a 1600m specialist. Sierra has displayed steady progression since her first year, slowly chipping away until she made an exceptional leap, jumping from 5:17.15 to 5:06.38 from her junior to senior year. She was able to qualify for the CIF Southern Section Prelims for the first time that same year after getting third at her league meet in 5:09.01.
Andrea will be joining the Gauchos from the Central Coast Section. A breakout junior track and senior cross campaign would lead her to easily handling her competition at the league level. She would then go on to place third at the Central Coast Section Finals, qualifying herself to the State Meet for the first time as an individual. She would go on to finish 52nd for Division 3, running 19:06.6.
The Monta Vista Matador comes to UCSB with a respectable track pedigree, owning times of 2:15.58 and 5:00.22 for 800m and 1600m. In total, she's broken 5:10 ten times in her high school career, and is a two time qualifier for the Central Coast Section Finals in the 1600m.
Copeland comes to Santa Barbara from Folsom High School where she had twice finished in the top-10 at the San Joaquin Section Championships for cross country and twice qualified for the State Meet for Division 1 Cross Country. She also has decent wheels on the track sporting a 5:07.00 personal best in the 1600m.
Kathryn will be making a short trip down from the San Joaquin Section to take refuge in the Big West Conference. She boasts a respectable range of events from the 1600m all the way up to 5000m in cross country, owning track bests of 5:05.88 for the 1600m and 10:47.68 for 3200. She is a two-time CIF San-Joaquin Section individual champion and recorded as high as 12th at the California State Meet in cross country for Division 2, where she ran 18:04.6 on the Woodward Park course her junior year.
Meade showed some eagerness to be a Gaucho, being the first one to sign their NLI all the way back in the Fall. She will be coming in as a middle distance specialist, having been a three time qualifier for the San Joaquin Section Masters Meet for the 800m with a personal best of 2:13.91. She also shows potential in the 1600m, holding a 5:08.14 that she ran to win her conference finals her senior year.
Ellie will be coming to UCSB as a division 4 standout in cross country, having been to the state meet three times (twice with her team, once as an individual her senior year). She would go on to place 12th at the California State Meet her senior year, covering the Woodward Park course in 18:36.8. Ellie also holds respectable credentials on the track, owning a 5:04.52 1600m personal best and having qualified twice for the CIF Southern Section Division 3 Finals in that event.
Making the trek all the way from the San Diego Section, Paige will be one to watch when it comes to the 400m as well as a possible leg on the 4x400m relay. Starting out in the 100 and 200, she eventually moved up to the 400m her junior year with quick success, lowering her best to 57.48 and just barely missing out on getting her team to the State Meet by getting 3rd in the 4x400m relay at the CIF San Diego Section Finals. Another year of hard work would get her time down to 56.53, which would contribute greatly to her 4x400m squad as they would go on to finish 2nd at the CIF San Diego Section Finals, qualifying for the State Meet.
Jasmine comes to UCSB from Coronado High School where she has been a staple to their cross country program, having been a scorer for them all four years at the Cross Country State Meet for Division 4, her best placing at 25th in 18:39.6 her junior year. She's also a three time qualifier for the San Diego Section Finals in track for the 3200, owning a personal best of 11:13.65.
A graduate of Indio High School, Marisa comes with a little less experience than some of her future compatriots, having only run track for two years and cross country for one. Despite this, she's made the most of her short stint in the sports, getting down to 5:02.39 for the 1600m her senior year and having gone all the way to the CIF Southern Section Division 3 Finals in the same event.
Due to the location of her high school being fairly isolated from the rest of the California sections, Brenna would find her main competition in Nevada by permission of the NIAA, the main governing body for athletics in Nevada. She comes to Santa Barbara as a 3A State Champion in cross country and a five time State Champion in track (two in the 1A division as a junior and three in the 3A division as a senior). She holds a nice range of personal bests from 1600m all the way down to 400m, having run 58.99, 2:15.83, and 5:02.82 respectively.
Soaring all the way up from Northern California, the Las Lomas Knight will be set to join the program specifically for pole vault, already holding an excellent high school mark of 12' 8". She's a two time North Coast Section Meet of Champions winner in the pole vault as well as a two time qualifier for the State Meet, placing 17th in the preliminary rounds her junior year while vaulting all the way to 7th in the final her senior year.
Alex Barr (Scripps Ranch High School) Distance
Aaron Cheek (Cuesta College) Decathlon
Jarrett Chinn (Poway High School) Distance
Colton Clark (Cuyamaca College) Throws
Gabriel Coronado (Golden Valley High School) Throws
Elisha Edwards (Moorpark) Hurdles
Eric Guerrero (Los Osos High School) Throws
George Harris (San Diego High School) Throws
Elijah Hodge (Loyola High School) Middle Distance
Chris Howard (Los Alamitos High School) Sprints
Tristan Miller (Monta Vista High School) Distance
Samuel Pica (Valencia High School) Decathlon
Michael Purdy (Moorpark Junior College) Sprints
Nick Randazzo (Ventura High School) Distance
Matt Richardson (Bellarmine Prep) Distance
Brian Schulz (El Molino High School) Distance
Thomas Wilfert (Dana Hills High School) Distance
A product of Scripps Ranch High School, Barr looks to follow in the footsteps of former Scripps brethren Shyan Vaziri and Bradford Littooy to Santa Barbara where looks to find his signature event somewhere in the middle to long distances. He's shown a wide array of versatility, garnering personal bests of 1:53.88, 4:12.85, and 9:14.09 in the 800m, 1600m, and 3200m, along with placing 17th at the Division 2 California State Meet in cross country his senior year. His 1600m time was good enough for to break Shyan Vaziri's former school record of 4:13.23. He was also a State Meet Qualifier in the 1600m his senior year as well, placing 19th overall in the preliminary rounds.
Making his way down from rival territory in San Luis Obispo, Cheek will be coming in with some added experienced having already competed for two years at the junior collegiate level at Cuesta College. The junior college transfer will be looking to make an immediate impact with his decathlon prowess, owning a score of 6329, which he set after winning the California Community College State Championships his sophomore year.
Jarrett makes his way from Poway High School to join the distance squad at UCSB with a well decorated pedigree at the State Meet level. He is a three time qualifier for the state meet in the 800m, having made the final his junior year, capturing two San Diego Section titles in the process of qualifying. A change in focus would have him also qualify to the State Meet in the 1600m his senior year, taking 10th overall in the final. Along with owning personal best of 1:53.21 and 4:14.91, Jarrett also has decent cross country strength, having placed 16th at the Division 2 California State Meet, coincidentally just ahead of future teammate Alex Barr.
With a year of junior collegiate exposure under his belt, the Cuyamaca Coyote will set course for UCSB to integrate into the throws program, likely to focus on the shot put and discus. At Cuyamaca, he was able to qualify for the California Community College State Meet in both the shot put and the discus, placing 8th and 6th respectively in those events. Clark was also a standout at Poway High School before his junior collegiate venturing, having qualified for the State Meet his senior year in those same events, placing 15th overall in the preliminary rounds for the discus and placing 9th in the final for the shot put.
Coming from a small way away in Santa Clarita, Gabriel will look to focus on the shot put and discus come his first season as a Gaucho. Having qualified up to the CIF Division 2 Southern Section Finals for both events his junior year, the Golden Valley senior would finally pave his way to 4th in the discus a year later, qualifying for the Masters Meet. It was there where he would launch a personal best throw of 176' 4" with the 1.6 kg discus to finish third overall, resulting in him qualifying for the State Meet for the first time. He would go on to finish 13th overall in the preliminary rounds, just outside of the final qualifying spot to move onto the final.
Elisha comes to UCSB from Moorpark College where he focused on the decathlon. At his best, he would score 6264 points at the CCCAA SoCal Regional Meet, and a week later finish 3rd at the California Community College State Meet, just behind fellow transfer Aaron Cheek. Despite this, Edwards will be looking to make his transition to both the short and long hurdle events when he gets here. Even as a full time decathlete, Edwards would be putting down some respectable hurdle times, putting up marks like 14.55 for the 110m hurdles and 54.62 for the 400m hurdles. He's also displayed some flat 400m speed running 49.30 in the middle of a decathlon, so Edwards may have his share at the 4x400m relay as well.
The Los Osos Grizzly comes to Santa Barbara to find his approach in the throwing events, likely the shot put and discus. Competing in the highly volatile Division 1 of the Southern Section, Guerrero comes in sporting a 55' 10 ¼" personal best in the shot put, having thrown 50+ feet over 12 times throughout the course of his senior year.
Hailing all the way from San Diego, George makes his way up to UCSB with a knack for the shot put as well as the discus. He holds himself up as a two time qualifier for the San Diego Section Finals in the shot put as well as a one time qualifier for the Finals in the discus. Harris would clutch out two personal bests in a row from the prelims to the finals, which would lead him to finishing second overall and on his way to the State Meet. One last clutch performance would give George his personal best of 55' 3 ½" for the 12lb shot put to finish 11th in the preliminaries, qualifying him for the State Meet final where he would ultimately finish 11th overall.
The Loyola Cub comes to UCSB aiming to be an 800m specialist as well as a contributing leg to the 4x400m relay. Transitioning his focus late in the game from the long jump to 400m, Elijah would ultimately chop four seconds off his 400m time, going from 52.64 to 48.45, qualifying all the way to the Division 1 Southern Section Finals in the 400m. He would go on to the State Meet as part of the 4x400m squad, where he would go on to split an incredible time of 47.2 for the anchor leg. With only one official 800m under his belt at a low key dual meet, it will be interesting to see how Elijah makes the transition from the one lap to two lap event.
Chris will be joining the Gauchos from Los Alamitos High School. He will be looking to add to the sprinting side of the team, owning personal bests of 22.51 in the 200m and 50.11 in the 400m. His times may seem a bit modest, but the former basketball star will be coming in with only two years of track experience, only joining the sport late in his junior year.
The North Coast Section standout will be set to make his mark in the distance events when he joins his fellow Gauchos in the Fall. Tristan has twice finished in 3rd at the North Coast Section Championships in cross country, and he's finished as high as 15th at the Division 2 California State Meet his senior year in 15:41.2, just ahead of his fellow future teammates Jarrett Chinn and Alex Barr. He also owns a 1600m personal best of 4:17.15, a time he set while finishing 5th at the North Coast Section Meet of Champions.
Pica comes to UCSB from Valencia High School where he excelled in both the 400m and the long jump. The one lapper will be set on broadening his horizons as he plans to take a crack at the decathlon come track season. He has already thrown down some solid marks of 48.08 for 400m and 22' 11" in the long jump. Along with some previous dabbling in the high jump, 200m, and even 800m, one can look forward to seeing how his talent will translate to the grueling two-day event.
Michael will be heading to Santa Barbara with fellow teammate Elisha Edwards as he also comes as a transfer from Moorpark College. Focusing on the 200m and 400m, he holds personal best marks of 22.52 and 49.15 for each event respectively. Look for him to be another possible candidate to buckle down for the 4x400m relay.
Nick is as local as it gets, coming only a 40 minute drive away from Ventura. The distance recruit will come in sporting personal bests of 4:19.66 for 1600m and 9:21.88 for 3200m, the former set while winning the Ventura County Championships. His more notable prowess has been in cross country, where we finished 30th at the State Meet in Division 1 his junior year, and 12th his senior year after the team was moved to Division 2. If you've been paying attention at home, then you'll know that Nick finished just ahead of some other future Gauchos mentioned earlier in the article.
All the way from San Jose, Matt will be joining the Gauchos from Bellarmine Prep High School where he excelled in the 1600m. Although he was unfortunately sidelined his senior year, Matt still posted some excellent marks in cross country as well as track prior to that. In cross, he would finish third at the CIF Central Coast Section Championships in 2015, in which he would help his team to a sixth place finish at the Division 1 State Meet with an individual finish of 43rd in 15:53.0. In the following track season he would finish 1st at the CIF Central Coast Championships in a personal best time of 4:17.39 for 1600m, qualifying for the State Meet in the process.
Hailing from the small town of Forestville up in Northern California, Brian comes to UCSB with an admirable resume from his cross country exploits, being a four time individual qualifier for the State Meet (3 times for Division 4 and once for Division 5), his highest placing being 3rd his senior year in 15:39.3. He has also placed in the top five all four years in high school at the CIF North Coast Section Championships, twice finishing second. Schulz has also demonstrated admirable strength for the 3200, running 9:09.47 to win the NCS Redwood Empire Area Championship his senior year.
A well rounded specimen from the Southern California juggernaut known as Dana Hills High School, Wilfert comes in with potential ranging from 800m to 5000m in cross country. He has twice been on the State Meet squad for the dolphins, scoring his senior year with a 22nd place finish at the State Meet for Division 1. On the track, Wilfert has gone all the way to the Southern Section Masters Meet in the 1600m, placing 10th overall in 4:16.97. Carrying a 4:15.75 personal best, Wilfert has run under 4:20 a total of five times over the course of his senior year. He's also shown some prowess in the 3200m with a time of 9:11.23.