2006 Season Schedule Preview

Feb. 15, 2006

The 2006 UCSB Men's & Women's Track & Field Schedule has been announced and the Gauchos are set to roll. After a thrilling 2005, an exciting schedule welcomes UCSB as they host two home meets at Pauley Track and visit a few new invites throughout the year.

Pre-Season Kick-Off
Opening up at home on February 18th, a fantastic day welcomes Gaucho family friends with the season kick-off versus Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and local rivals Westmont College. The field events are set to go at 10am and the running events will begin at 1pm. Following the meet is the always-eventful annual Winter Crab Feed Fundraiser featuring great food, excellent entertainment and bigger and better silent auction items. Doors open at approximately 5:00pm.

Warming Up
Entering the month of March, things begin to warm up as the Gauchos travel to Irvine, CA for the All-Cal Cup on the 4th. The Women will be defending their title as the men hope to move into the one spot after last year's second. The following weekend will witness a new Benny Brown Invitational hosted by Cal St. Fullerton. On Friday the throwers will enjoy their now traditional hammer and hot dogs as the rest of the athletes compete on Saturday at the prestigious Mt. SAC track & field complex, a move from CSF's track & field venue.

Then on Thursday the 16th and Friday the 17th the Gaucho Multi athletes will go to Northridge, CA for their first attempt at either the decathlon for the men or the heptathlon for the women. The rest of the squad will be competing on March 18th at the Cal Poly SLO Invitational, the start to UCSB's academic finals week. As finals finish and the athletes look forward to Spring Break, Gaucho Track & Field style, this year's start to the break will take the team to the Campus of University of Southern California for the USC Open. This will be the Gauchos first trip to USC in recent memory. The men and women will then spend a week training in beautiful Santa Barbara until departing to either the Stanford Invitational, where some of the top middle and long distance runners in the United States will clash, or the Cal-Nev Championships being held in Fresno, CA at Fresno State.

Spring Fever
April marks the start of Spring quarter and the first major test for the Gauchos as they battle some of the top Big West teams at the Big West Challenge Cup. The 14th edition of the Challenge Cup will take place this year on a Friday, April 7th under the lights at UC Irvine. The Women will be defending their title for the second year in a row and earning their 5th title. The men look to improve upon their 3rd place finish from 2005 and look to take home their first Cup.

Continuing the month of April the athletes will begin to get to their peak fitness levels. The week following the Challenge Cup the Gauchos will be busy with the California International Multi event kicking off the week on Wednesday and Thursday at Azusa, CA. Then most of the squad will be competing at the Pomona Invitational on Friday, while selected athletes will be at the nationally renowned Mt. SAC invitational from Thursday through Saturday. This weekend is usually synonymous with qualifying marks (see Men / Women) for both the Big West Championships and the NCAA Regional Championships.

The third week of April will witness a few selected Gauchos flying out to Eugene, OR for the Oregon Invitational. This will be the first squad under Pete Dolan's watch to go out to an Invitational at U of O and it will be homecoming of sorts for 1st year Assistant Coach Jenny Kenyon whom graduated in 2002 from Oregon. The month will end with a last chance-qualifying meet for some of the top distance athletes at the Cardinal Invitational on Friday the 28th and the exciting Cal Poly SLO-UCSB Dual Meet at Santa Barbara on Saturday afternoon. This will be the third meeting since 2003 for the central coast rivals with the Gaucho Women winning the first two encounters and the Cal Poly Men taking two from the Gauchos.

Championship Month
In May - Track & Field Championship Month, May Madness, Mayhem in May, or Christmas in Spring - welcomes Track & Field fans as all over the country as athletes turn it up as they attempt to bring home titles for their respective universities. For UCSB, the first weekend will take them to Occidental College for the last opportunity to hit a qualifying mark. However, for the multi event athletes, they will be kick-off the Big West Championship meet with the decathlon and heptathlon competitions in Northridge, CA. The rest of the squad joins them the following weekend as the women defend their 2005 title and the men look to continue their move up the Big West ladder from last year's exciting third place finish.

Those with the coveted NCAA Regional qualifying marks (based on the 100th mark in each event of 2005) or a Big West Championship will move into the state of Utah two weekends later on May 26th and 27th for the NCAA Div. I West Regional Championships. At an altitude of 4,627ft, Provo, UT and BYU University will be this year's hosts after a great Regional meet in Eugene, OR the year before. The top five athletes in each event will automatically be invited to the National Championships to be held in Sacramento, CA with the next three in each event to be chosen based on their top 2006 marks. Last year the Gauchos qualified twenty athletes (2nd most in Big West) to Regionals with five moving onto the NCAA Div. I Championships.

The National Championships
Concluding the 2006 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field season will showcase the top collegiate athletes from June 7th through June 10th. The site of the last two Olympic Trials and the 2005 NCAA Championships, Sacramento again will play host to the National Championships. For the Gauchos Tetlo Emmen in '05 earned All-American honors, while on the women's side both Lauren Christman and Cosette Smith were finalists at 5,000m. Also qualifying were Amy Haapanen in the Hammer Throw and Ben Armel in the 800m.

Those who meet the USA Outdoor Championship standards will be invited to Indianapolis, IN for the US National Track & Field Championships. 2006 is a non-international Championship year describing a year in which there are no World Championships nor an Olympic Games, therefore this year's National Championships are just and do not serve as a qualifying meet for Team USA. After the USA National Championships some of the top athletes will resume competition in July and August throughout Europe in search of international competition and big prizes such as those found in the Golden League Meets.

Schedules & Results
Schedules and Results throughout the year can be found through UCSBGauchos.com and our more comprehensive website, UCSBTrack.com. National and International schedules and results can be found through LetsRun.com and TrackShark.com as well as through national and international bodies such as USA Track & Field and the International Association of Athletics Federation.

Look for the Men's & Women's Gaucho Preview two weeks from today to learn more about the 2006 squad.

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