Riverside, Calif- Back on the track after a week pause due to finals, the Gauchos quickly found their mid-season stride at the UC Riverside Spring Break Classic. In it's inaugural year, UC Riverside assembled a high caliber field of ten combined teams stretching from as far east as Ithaca, NY and as far north as Fargo, ND. There were five Big West teams in the field including UC Santa Barbara.
The Gaucho men won the men's overall team title with 117pts. The Gauchos have won their first four meets to start the season going back to the Gaucho Round Up (vs. Westmont & Pepperdine), All-Cal Champs (vs. UCSD, UCR & UCI) and also claiming the UC Riverside Dual meet.
Men's Team Scores
Southern Utah 101
Cal St. Norrthridge 99.5
Cal St. Fullerton 93.5
UC Riverside 87
UC Irvine 64.5
North Dakota St. 49.5
Northern Colorado 34
On the women's side, the Gauchos took 6th in overall scoring. Highlighted by several impressive individual performances, the UCSB women added several performance marks to the Gaucho all-time list.
Women's Team Scores
Cal St. Northridge 154.5
North Dakota St. 106.5
Southern Utah 93
Cal St. Fullerton 67
UC Riverside 48
UC Irvine 40
Northern Colorado 35
Combined Event Results
On Friday, the Gauchos wrapped up the multi-event competition. Sophomore Ike Okpara paced the Gauchos with a new lifetime best score of 6254 to take 5th in the men's decathlon. Okpara had personal bests in the first four events to start the second day. His second day marks were 16.66 in the 110HH, 124'6 discus, 10'10 Pole vault, 140'7 javelin and 4:58.41 in the 1500m. Also completing the decathlon were freshman Jeff Oechsli, Darion Williams, Brendan Weaver and Gavin Koehn. Oechsli tallied 5874 to lead the group. In the women's heptathlon, Tori Usgaard used a 111'6 javelin PR to score 4773, the third best score of her career. Competing in a different section, the heptathlon and decathlon did not factor into team scoring for the meet.
Shyan Vaziri provided the performance of the meet by turning in a 3:44.62 effort in the 1500m. At the time of this publication, that time currently sits #6 on this years NCAA Outdoor Performance list. After the first lap, which Vaziri came through in 59.8, all in attendance at the UC Riverside track stadium took notice and by the second 400m split there was a buzz that something special was taking place. Vaziri hit his second split perfectly and crossed the 800m mark in exactly 2:00. Holding his smooth form and light footwork, Vaziri hit the gas pedal crossing the line with one lap to go as the official ringing the bell exuberantly signed the final lap was on. 58 seconds was all it took for the final split and Vaziri broke the tape in a new PR 3:44.62, the metric equivalent of a sub-4 minute mile.
Melissa Rake Leads UCSB Throws Squad
To conclude a six throw series where she exclipsed her previous personal best on each throw, sophomore Melissa Rake unleashed a 144'3 effort in the womens javelin to win the event. That mark moves Rake into third all-time in the UCSB record books and is the current Big West Leading mark at the mid-way point of the season.
In the men's javelin the Gauchos took the 2-3-4 spots highlighted by freshman Jerrick Zhang's mark of 183'2. Freshman Matthew Kuskey took third with a 176'11 and Spencer Neste added a 173'5 performance in a key scoring event to start the day for the Gauchos.
In the men's hammer, Albert Hughes hit a new personal best throwing 184'6 to take third overall. Hughes also threw 156'7 to take fourth in the men's discus.
In the women's hammer, Hanna Person threw a new lifetime best 167'11 to take fourth overall. Person's mark moves her to 8th all-time in the UCSB record book.
Heather Hawes threw 148'1 in the women's discus to crack the UCSB all-time lists for the first time in her career. Hawes took 6th overall in a stellar field of Big West throwers.
In the men's 100m, Evan Walker ran 10.86 to take fourth on a day where a prevailing headwind kept the short sprints from heating up.
Jessica Johnson took fifth in the women's 400m with a 56.64 effort.
In the men's 400m, Eric Severiano cracked the 49 second barrier with a 48.73, sixth place run.
Shannon Trumbull ran 14.46 in the women's 100m hurdles for 9th.
Senior Sean Johnson took fourth with a time of 14.49 in the men's 110HH.
Adam Avila started the track events with an outstanding 9:18.76 effort in the 3,000m steeplechase. Avila ran wire to wire with North Dakota States Brett Kelly and narrowly got edged at the line to Kelly's 9:18.22 as both raced hard to the finish.
In the women's 1500m, Maxine Goyette set a new PR with a time of 4:38.61. So far this spring, Goyette has set new bests in the 3,000m steeplechase and in the open 3k.
Bryce Rausa, stepping down to the 1500m in just his third race of the season, hit a fine 3:51.23 effort to take sixth for the Gauchos. That is the second fastest time of Rausa's career and shows last years Big West bronze medalist in the 1500m is quickly regaining his form.
Freshman Andrew Verdin continues to impress in his debut season with the Gauchos. Verdin ran 3:52.45 in the 1500m to take seventh in a men's field of 29 runners.
Tyler Brady clipped almost a second off his lifetime best in the 800m to win Saturday in 1:52.08. The senior outsprinted a talented group of youngsters which included 6 freshman in the top-10, all at 1:55 or faster. The saavy veteran put his racing skills on display as he closed the race with 300m to go, cutting through the homestretch headwind like a warm knife through butter.
Back in action for the Gauchos was Greg Dotson. Dotson ran 1:55.24 in the men's 800m. That makes seven Gaucho men at 1:55 or faster so far this spring.
In the women's 3000m, Tori Tsolis hit a new lifetime best with a time of 10:08.66. Tsolis took fifth overall in a group of 22 women. Also in the 3k for the Gauchos was Bailey Miller who ran a fine 10:20.33 to take the seventh scoring spot.
In the men's 3,000m, sophomore Bryan Guijarro found himself locked in a battle with Southern Utah's freshman sensation, Mike Tate, who was the 5th place Big Sky finisher this fall in cross country. Trading the lead and racing like two seasoned veterans, Guijarro went on to take second with a time of 8:23.55 to Tate's 8:22.60. Guijarro ran step for step with Tate, a 4:03 mile man, on the last lap, showing incredible range considering he ran the 10,000m in last years NCAA First Round competition.
Not to be outdone in the men's 3,000m was freshman Anthony Monroy. Monroy finished fourth with an impressive time of 8:34.45.
Field Event Notes
Freshman Laurel Shepperd hit a new lifetime best in the women's triple jump with a mark of 38'6.25.
Oscar Pearson and Chris Brooks hit long jump marks of 22'10 and 22.2.25 respectively to take 3rd and fifth for the Gauchos.
Pearson also jumped 45'1.5 in the triple jump to take seventh overall.
Jessica Emde jumped a new season best in the high jump with a mark of 5'6.5, good for third overall.
Junior Katie Lee tied for fifth overall in the women's pole vault with a season best vault of 11'9.75.
In the men's shot put, senior Pat Smith hit a season best mark of 49'3.75, taking sixth for the Gauchos.
Cal Nevada Championships up next for the Gauchos
Next weekend the Gauchos will return to UC San Diego for the Cal Nevada Championships, which is a long time running scored meet between collegiate teams in California and Nevada. The competition will start Friday with running event prelims and select field events and conclude Saturday with the running event finals and other select field events.