May 1, 2008

Gaucho Track Faces Rival Cal Poly in a Dual Meet This Weekend

May 1, 2008

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Cal Poly Dual Meet Schedule

The Schedule
Meet No. 13
Saturday, May 3, 2008
UCSB competes against Cal Poly in a dual meet
at Cal Poly | San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Meet No. 14
Sunday, May 4, 2008
UCSB Competes at the Payton Jordan Invitational
at Stanford University | Stanford, Calif.

Also Ahead
Saturday, May 10, 2008
UCSB Competes at the Claremont Invitational
at Claremont Mudd-Scripps | Claremont, Calif.

This Week In Track & Field
This upcoming Saturday, the Gauchos will participate in their second and final dual meet of the season. The meet is the annual clash against central coast rivals Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and it will take place at Cal Poly this year. Last season, the men came away with a 108-94 victory, while the women came up just short in a hard-fought 107-96 decision. Returning winners from last season's meet include Michael Powers, who ran a 9:03.15 in the steeplechase and will be looking to have another strong performance at this year's meeting. Likewise, Bethany Nickless won the women's steeplechase last year by a 35-second margin. Elmer Guzman and Brian Sung swept the hurdles last time, winning the 400m hurdles and 110m hurdles respectively. It's also worth mentioning that David Hoff (high jump), Jason Newland (200m), and Jeff Stewart (shot, hammer) had second-place finishes in events that the Gauchos won.

A small contingent of the track team may compete at Stanford this weekend in the Payton Jordan Invitational. As of April 30, the only athlete entered in an event is Bethany Nickless in the women's steeplechase. That race takes place on Sunday, May 4.

On The Horizon
The Big West Championships begin next weekend with the multi-event (decathlon and heptathlon) competitions on Friday, May 9 through Saturday, May 10 at Cal State Northridge. Points scored in the decathlon and heptathlon are applied to the final team scores for the Conference Championships. UCSB's entrants are expected to be Lauri Schakett in the heptathlon, and Nick deBeaubien in the decathlon. Both have been entering a variety of events at invitationals to prepare for the competition. Additionally, they have taken part in two multi-event competitions this season: the Northridge Multis on March 20-21, and the Cal Invite Multis on April 17-18.

Also taking place next weekend will be the Claremont Invitational on Saturday, May 10. That meet will be run in Claremont, Calif. at Claremont Mudd-Scripps University. More information on this meet will come sometime next week.

What Ever Happened To Jane Doolittle?
She's had a breakout season and she's going to be competing late into May. At last weekend's Oregon Relays, Doolittle set a new lifetime best in the high jump by clearing 5' 8.75" (1.75m), which meets the NCAA Regional-qualifying standard. She is currently the seventh-best high jumper in the West Region, and is tied for 22nd on the national list. Considering that there are over 700 NCAA schools with a track program, and that each team probably fields at least two high jumpers, that's pretty impressive. Additionally, she moves into third place on UCSB's all-time women's high jump list. Doolittle has been consistent this year, having cleared 1.73 meters earlier in the season at the Soka Invite and 1.70 meters on several occasions.

More Power To You
Michael Powers has continued to drop his times as the season has progressed, and this past weekend he set a lifetime best in the steeplechase. Powers ran in the top section at the Oregon Relays , crossing the line in 9:02.26 to finish in eighth place overall and fourth amongst collegiate athletes. Powers will be the favorite to win the steeplechase this weekend and is also one of the top contenders for the Conference title. The only Big West athlete who has run faster than Powers this season is UC Irvine's Sky Johnston, who squeaked under the 9-minute barrier by running an 8:59.47 earlier in the season. Their meeting at Conference will be one of the most anticipated matchups and should come down to the wire.

The Long Haul
Two members of the distance squad entered their first 10,000 meter race of the season two weekends ago at Mt. SAC. Both of them ran well, setting new personal bests in a grueling race. With his strong performance, Chris Ashley etched his name into the record books in yet another event. His time of 29:39.23 is good for the fifth all-time mark in UCSB history. Tim Aukshunas also ran in the same race, setting a new personal best at 30:20.21. Both Chris and Tim will be major contenders in the Big West 5000m and 10,000m races, depending on which race they run. Both could potentially go for the double and compete in both races, as well.

Hurling the Spear
Quietly entering the Conference scene this year has been freshman Michael Guerra, who spent his high school years competing in football and baseball. Guerra walked-on to the track squad in January and began to learn how to throw the javelin. His excellent level of strength and fitness has helped him to already throw 199 feet this season, which he did at at the Cal Nevada meet. He later proved that his performance was no fluke by winning the javelin at the Azusa Pacific Invitational on April 18, with a best mark of 185' 03" (56.46m). Guerra's marks are some of the best in the Conference and are close to the Regional-qualifying standard. He looks to keep improving as the most important portion of the season looms ahead.

2008 Regional Qualifiers
As of April 30
Chris Ashley - 5000m
Matt Barkley - Shot Put
Danielle Domenichelli - 5000m
Jane Doolittle - High Jump
Bethany Nickless - Steeplechase
Michael Powers - Steeplechase
Jeff Stewart - Shot Put

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