Santa Barbara, Calif. - The first day of competition for the Big West Multi-Event Championships concluded this Friday at the Pauley Track and Field Facility with senior duo Hope Bender and Tyler Nelson leading both the women's heptathlon and the men's decathlon respectively.
Hope Bender was able to start the day off strong in the women's 100m hurdles with a 13.48 (-.07 m/s ) clocking, the second fastest time in her Gaucho career that would best the next fastest finisher by almost 0.7 seconds. She'd take second in the high jump with a mark of 1.65m shortly after behind UC Davis' Erin Beattie, who'd claim the lead temporarily from Bender after a 1.77m clearing. Hope would snatch the lead back soon after in the shot put by throwing 12.47m (40' 11") to win that event. Afterwards, she would cap off the day with a 24.03 (+1.4 m/s) clocking in the 200m, finishing with a total score of 3518 points, a day one heptathlon personal best that is on school record pace.
Tyler Nelson had a more back and forth affair in the decathlon thanks to the likes of UC Davis' Kyle Clancy and Long Beach State's Herman Day with the first place position being traded back and forth between these three during all five events on day one. Nelson would take the initial lead after winning the 100m in 11.06 (-0.5 m/s), but Clancy would respond right after with a 7.15m mark in the long jump to claim the first place position after two events. A throw of 14.70m in the shot put would put Nelson back into first, but Day would respond with a 14.47m shot put mark along with a 2.01m (6' 7") in the high jump to take the lead from Nelson heading into the 400m. Seemingly unperturbed by the constant lead exchanges, Nelson would blast a 48.66 personal best clocking in the 400m to reclaim first place at the end of day one with a total score of 3943. Clancy still lurks behind in second with a score of 3819 (Day would unfortunately pull up in the 400m with a hamstring issue), so expect more lead changes once day two gets underway.
Behind Nelson, young sophomore Samuel Pica sits in fourth place overall after yo-yoing back and forth in the placings throughout the course of day one. Pica would start the day off with a fourth place finish in the 100m with an 11.21 (-0.5 m/s). A 6.99m mark in the long jump would slot him into third overall, but he would slowly fall back in the rankings after the shot put (11.12m/22' 11.75") and the high jump (1.86m/6' 1.75"). Pica would eventually move back up into fourth after dropping a 48.47 clocking in the 400m to take first in arguably his best event of the two day series.
The Multis will continue tomorrow at 12 pm PST for day two starting with the men's 110m hurdles followed by the women's long jump at 12:30 pm. Check back at UCSBGauchos.com for future coverage and follow the team on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for additional photos and news.