Nov. 18, 2005
An exciting team finish at the Conference Championships capped off the 2005 campaign. After the women had clinched the team title the men were sitting in a three-way battle for third place with only the 4x400m relay remaining. Not only did the Gauchos win the relay but solidified their 3rd position over Utah St. and Idaho. In 2005, three Big West Champions were crowned, one school record was broken and eleven athletes qualified for the NCAA Regional Championships with two moving on the NCAA Div. I Championships.
A little light this year, the Gauchos looked to Max Bellissimo (Fr.) to rise up. This he did surprising the 400m field at the Big West Championships pulling up for a 3rd place All-Conference finish. He would also play a pivotal role in the 4x400m championship team leading off for the Gauchos. Jumper Ryan Donnelly (So.) and middle distance standouts Ben Armel (Sr.) and Tetlo Emmen (Jr.) were the other members of the team that would bring home the title, an NCAA Regional qualifier and the 3rd place team finish.
Always a strong area for the Gauchos, 2005 was no different. At 800m, Armel & Emmen for the second year in a row finished one-two at the Championships. Both qualified for the NCAA Div. I Championships with Emmen bringing home an All-American award. At 1500m, Scott McConville (Jr.) broke the school record at the Stanford Invitational with a time of 3:46.77, a NCAA regional mark, and went onto finish 4th in a stacked 1500m field at the Big West Championships. Mike Chavez (So.) was also a Regional qualifier at 1500m. All-Conference accolades went to standouts Micah Tyhurst (So.), whom had a breakout year holding a personal best 14:17.72 for 5000m, and Scott Brandos (Jr.). Brandos qualified for his second NCAA Regional Championships with a best of 9:00.32 in the 3000m steeplechase.
Over the last couple years the throws squad has undergone a transformation of sorts, which became highly visible at the Big West Championships. In the Shot Put five Gauchos qualified into the Conference finals, taking the 5th-9th spots. In his first year, Freshman Scott Anderson also qualified for Regionals in the Shot. Out in the hammer, Eugene Bradley (Jr.) took home an All-Conference award after he bombed one deep past 200 feet finishing in 2nd. His mark was also good for a trip to Regionals. Gabe Mann (Jr.) showed up on the track to throw Javelin after a stint with the UCSB baseball team. In his first year throwing the Jav, Mann would lead the Conference, finishing a disappointing third at the Championships, but nonetheless All-Conference. He then went onto the West Regional Championships where would let one fly to 210 feet finishing seventh in the West.
The Jumps & Pole Vault
Another Conference surprise, Ryan Donnelly (So.), came into the Championships expected to fall just outside scoring in the Long Jump with a seasonal best 22'11 feet. He would wind up in 4th place after soaring to a Regional qualifying mark and personal best of 24'07 feet. In the Pole Vault, Sean Thomas-Bignami (Jr.) continued to vastly improve soaring over the bar at 16'06.75, not only qualifying for Regionals but winning the Big West title to become the 2nd Big West Champion for the men in 2005.