Azusa, Calif- Starting a three day set at three different locations, the UCSB track team is back in action after a block of exciting, team scored meets.
The Gauchos started the week today at Azusa Pacific University for the California Invitational Multi-Events. A few select distance runners will compete at the prestigious Mt. Sac Relays on Thursday and the rest of the squad will conclude the week at Azusa Pacific University for the Brian Clay Invitational. Thursday's Mt. Sac Relays Distance Carnival will include the 3,000m steeplechase and the 10,000m. Friday will include the 1500m, 5000m and the 800m.
Multis Kick Week Off
Tori Usgaard, Ike Okpara and Darion Williams were in action Wednesday at APU for the California Invitational heptathlon and decathlon. One of the biggest multi-event festivals in the world, APU is a gathering place for the best collegiate combined events specialists around.
Tori Usgaard, a Gaucho sophomore, scored a first day personal best 2954 pts. to break into the "A" section at the half-way point. Competing in a field of 56, Usgaard used two first day individual event bests to earn a few extra hours of sleep before Thursday begins with the long jump. (The field of 56 was divided into three different sections based on day one totals- the lowest starting the earliest on day two) Day one started when Usgaard woke up at 6am, had a cup of coffee with breakfast and went on to run a new lifetime best of 14.28 in the 100m hurdles- at 8:30am! An impressive early morning display of focus for the sophomore biology major.
Usgaard also found a new personal best in the shot put of 31'9 on top of a 5'3 high jump and a 26.35 200m. She will compete in the long jump, javelin and 800m on day two.
Starting at 10am, Ike Okpara and Darion Williams each found personal bests within their individual event schedule on day one of the California Invitational decathlon. Okpara hit a new high jump personal best with a leap of 6'6.25, en route to a score of 3367 pts. Williams ran 11.45 in the 100m to start the day and went on to put together a solid string of events while compiling a score of 3313 pts.
Day two will resume at 10am for Okpara and Williams with the 110m high hurdles. They will also contest the discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500m.
Coach Annett Update
Those on campus at UCSB have become familiar seeing Coach Annett Fleming work with the Gaucho Track and Field Program. Annett was a four-time NCAA All-American while studying at the University of Hawaii and is the UH school record holder in the heptathlon and the javelin. She was also an NCAA Women of The Year Nominee and was voted as the WAC Student-Athlete of The Year as a senior. On Wednesday, Annett competed in the Mt. Sac Invitational heptathlon, surpassing her day one personal best score by 91 pts. Annett ran 14.06 in the 100m hurdles, jumped 5'7.75 in the high jump, threw 46' in the shot and ran 25.46 in the 200m. Annett represents her former track club in Germany- LC Jena.
Also competing in the competition was former Gaucho Barbara Nwaba. Representing the Santa Barbara Track Club, Nwaba threw down a new personal best 23.91 in the 200m.
Barb sits in third and Annett in sixth after the first day of the heptathlon, in what could be one of the deepest fields assembled in recent years of this prestigious event.
Mt. Sac Invitational
The Mt. Sac Invitational is one of the best track and field competitions in the world. Assembling an international field of olympians, national champions and budding collegians, Mt. San Antonio College puts on a mid-April dream meet that everyone has circled on their calendars. There will be an electric feel in the stadium all weekend as race after race goes off and the crowds gather to see the very best talent in North America. The Gauchos will send a distance contigent to go toe to toe with the nations best.
Brian Clay Invitational
A growing competition, the Clay Invite has become a solid NCAA qualifying meet for individuals who did not meet the rigorous standards of entry in the Mt. Sac Relays. The Gauchos have seen several all-time bests set at this meet, including the womens discus record of 171'6 set by Irene Kujore in 2010. The evening distance sections have grown in popularity in recent years and this year the Clay Invite boasts some of the best distance fields in meet history. The Gauchos will look to join in that action come Friday evening.