Santa Barbara, Calif. - The hardships of finals week will be long forgotten for the majority of UC Santa Barbara's track and field athletes this weekend as they will be heading down to San Diego for the 40th Annual Aztec Invitational hosted by San Diego State. The meet will begin for the Gauchos on Friday the 23rd and continue on into Saturday the 24th, with some athletes competing on both days in preparation for the preliminary and final rounds they will have to face at the Big West conference meet.
Festivities will be divided between 2 venues with most of the events being held at San Diego State; the invitational hammer throw and the open sections of the javelin will be held at UC San Diego. The first event on Friday will begin at 8:00 am starting with the men's invitational hammer throw, while the last event will conclude the meet Saturday at 4:50 pm with the men's invitational 4x400m relay.
The Aztec Sports Deck is located on the corner of Montezuma Rd. & 55th St.
SDSU is easily accessible from the I-8 Freeway (Exit Fairmont Ave., continue on Montezuma if coming from the west) (Exit College Ave. South, make a Right on Montezuma if coming from the east).
Track parking is available in Parking Structure (PS) 7, located directly underneath the track. Parking passes can be purchased from the yellow parking kiosk located on the top level of the parking structure for $2/hr or $10/day. Admission to the meet for spectators will be $5.
Gauchos to Watch
SR Jenna Hinkle will be the one to look for in the invitational sections of the women's 1500m and 800m. She comes off a school record set last month in the 3000m at 9:24.41 and dual wins in the 1500m and 3000m at the UC Riverside/Cal Poly Tri Meet.
JR Hope Bender will open up her outdoor campaign this weekend in the 100m hurdles after placing 12th overall and receiving 2nd Team All American Honors in the women's pentathlon at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships two weeks ago. She will also be competing in the open sections of the long jump and the shot put to stay sharp for an upcoming heptathlon effort at the Mt. SAC Relays in April.
SR Morgan Simpson and JR Shamara Carney will be looking to lower their personal bests in the 200m on Friday as well as the 400m on Saturday after coming off wins in the 200m (Simpson) and 400m (Carney) at the UC Riverside/Cal Poly Tri Meet. Both have been winning fairly comfortably in their respective races so far this year, so look for them to possibly drop their times with the presence of stronger competition around them.
SR Kiely Gode will be catching a break for once this weekend with a decent amount of time between the invitational hammer throw and the long jump. The competition will be stiff in both events so look for her to put up some strange marks in retaliation.
SR Sike Azu-Irondi will be running for the first time this season in the 100m and the 200m this weekend, so he'll be eager to get on the track and put down some fast marks in both invitational heats.
SR Myles McDonald will be set to run the flat 400m, opting to not go over hurdles for the first time in a long while. The 400m hurdles school record holder should put down something exciting based off his credentials in the hurdles and his relay splits.
JR Joshua Rennick will be looking to flirt with his personal bests this weekend in the high jump and triple jumps, having not lost a single event he's participated in so far this year.
Newly minted javelin duo SR Chris Ross and FR Chase Tarr will hope to continue their momentum heading into this weekend. Both throwers have thrown 180+ feet the past two meets, so the quality of the field should get their marks farther down the field this time around.
Lastly, SR Kordell Hampton is slated to compete in three events this weekend, including the hammer, shot put, and his signature discus event. San Diego has been good to Kordell in the past as last year he set the school record in the discus of 182' 1" at this meet.