Irvine, Calif- One week after setting a new lifetime best in the hammer throw at the Cal-Nevada Championships, UCSB junior Albert Hughes kept his momentum rolling right into his first throw at the Big West Challenge Cup where he blasted a 199'1 effort to take the win and set the tone for the Gauchos.
"Coming into the meet we knew we were going to have our handsful after looking at the entries. In dual meet scoring it is important to cover the events and make sure your second and third athletes compete well because often times they can make or break a meet" said Associate Head Coach Cody Fleming.
"Coach Dolan called a men's team meeting on Thursday evening, asking our men to compete for each other and realize the potential of the talent we had in the room. And our men responded. We had a really solid meet on both sides and the energy UCSB brought into the stadium was what we've been used to from Gauchos teams in the past. On paper we were outmatched in some areas but our athletes responded well and we had a few surprises from some individuals waiting to break out. We showed better than we expected."
UCSB finished second on the men's side in overall team scoring to Long Beach St. 194.5 to 186.5. In a see-saw battle in which the two teams traded the lead throughout the evening, Long Beach St. took the final lead late and held on for the win despite a valiant effort from the 3,000m runners who went on to take 1st and 3rd in the penultimate event before the 4 x 400m.
On the women's side, UCSB took third with a score of 160. Holding on tight for half of the meet, the Gauchos fell to eventual winner Long Beach St. who went on to score 194 team points, taking the Big West Challenge Cup trophy back from the Gauchos after last years big win from UCSB.
One of the biggest surprises of the evening came from a runner who has had a hot hand as of late, Tori Tsolis. Running in the 1500m, Tori went on to win the event with a new lifetime best of 4:31.50, almost a nine second PR from her best time set one week ago. Tsolis jumped up the Big West list and now sits 5th, up 15 spots from her PR of one week ago! Running an inspiring race, Tsolis doubled back in the 800m and clipped a 2:13.63 to take third overall.
In the men's 800m, Shyan Vaziri kept his win streak alive as he has now won his last four races dating back to the UCR dual meet. Vaziri fired off another finishing kick to record a new personal best of 1:50.08, narrowly missing the 1:50 barrier for the win.
In the early field events several Gauchos hit new bests or top-3 finishes. Tori Usgaard took second in the women's long jump with a mark of 18'2.5.
Albert Hughes hit 199'1 in the men's hammer and also had a throw of 196'9 to cap off a stellar series with all of his throws over 57m. Austin Sahs also threw a new best of 155'4 to score for the Gauchos.
In the women's javelin, Melissa Rake took third with a throw of 127'4.
In the men's long jump, Oscar Pearson hit a season best jump of 23'0.5 to take second. Pearson gave a riveting speech to his peers at Thursday's team meeting and responded himself by leaping over the 23 foot barrier. He also took second in the triple jump with a mark of 44'10. Chris Brooks took fourth with a mark of 22'4.25.
In the women's high jump Jessica Emde too the win with a leap of 5'5. Emde has now won seven collegiate competitions in just her second year as a Gaucho.
In the women's discus Hanna Person and Kathleen Guzman tied for third with a mark of 139'7.
In the running events, Maxine Goyette took the win with a time of 11:16.20 to start the evening section on the track.
In the men's 3,000m steeplechase, Austin Goodheart lit up the track well before the lights came on in Anteater stadium, leading a 1-2 effort in the event. Goodheart ran 9:10.57, a seven second PR for last year's 5th place Big West finisher in the event. Adam Avila came in second at 9:16.75, a new lifetime best for the sophomore.
Not to be outdone by the steeplers, Tyler Brady and Bryce Rausa led a 1-2 finish in the men's 1500m. Brady ran 3:48.80 with Rausa breaking the tape at 3:51.45. Rausa, last years third place finisher in the 1500m is also a steeplechase threat and sits second on the Big West list in the event.
In the men's 110HH, Sean Johnson took fifth in a time of 14.57.
Evan Walker took third in the men's 100m in 10.87.
Three Gauchos followed Vaziri in the men's 800m, breaking 1:55- bringing the yearly total to 8 men at or under 1:55 for the Gauchos distance squad. Dotson at 1:54.36, Andrew Verdin at 1:54.65 and Paul Mohr at 1:54.97.
Hallie Brauner took 5th in the women's 400m hurdles with a time of 63.16.
Humberto Garcia took fifth in the men's 400m hurdles with a time of 55.13.
In the women's 200m, Jessica Johnson ran 24,60, a new lifetime best to take fourth overall.
Eric Serviano took fourth in the men's 200m at 22.09. Winton Nguyen finished in seventh at 22.28.
In the women's 3,000m, Baily Miller took second with a new lifetime best of 10:08.55. Ali Palmer was fourth with a new lifetime best of 10:11.79.
In the men's 3,000m the Gauchos went 1-3-4-5-6 pulling the men back in the team hunt for a brief while. Bryan Guijarro won in 8:31.16. Abel Mogesse was third in 8:38.94. Patric Bourke was foruth in 8:39.94. Tyler Brady was fifth in 8:40.19. Jackson Bright took sixth with a time of 8:40.82.
In the 4 x 40m relay, the Gaucho men closed out the meet with a 3:15.02 effort, for second overall in the event.
Next up for the Gauchos will be the Mt. Sac Combined Events held at Azusa Pacific on Wednesday and Thursday, April 16-17. A few select runenrs will race at the Mt. Sac Invitational on Friday April 18th. The rest of the squad will be at the Brian Clay Invitational held at Azusa Pacific on Friday as well.