Santa Barbara, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara Track and Field will be heading up north this weekend to compete at the UW Invitational, hosted at the Dempsey Indoor Facility on the University of Washington campus. Considered one of the fastest indoor tracks in the country, the 307 meter mondo surfacing and 100 yard field turf will serve as an ideal location for the Gaucho women to crush some indoor bests as they continue their preparation for the outdoor season starting in mid-February. The Dempsey has become a staple to US indoor track and field with numerous top level Division 1 programs and professional athletes flocking to Seattle to drop some quality marks and times, and it should be no different this weekend with plenty of action both Friday and Saturday.
Gauchos to Watch
Senior Hope Bender will be competing in the pentathlon this weekend in hopes of getting an NCAA Indoor Championship qualifying mark. Fresh off a new personal best in the 60m hurdles from last week's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Invitational, Hope is in prime form to aim for some big numbers after qualifying for Indoor Nationals in 2018 with her 4149 point performance at the USATF Indoor Championships. She'll need to achieve a mark that maintains her in the top 16 in the nation for Division 1 in the pentathlon, so those at home may want to keeps their eyes peeled on a score of around 4100 or more for Hope to be in the conversation for the national meet.
Junior Josephine Graeber and true freshman Jiana Boston will be highlighting the women's long jump after both posted up indoor bests just last week at 5.78m and 5.65m respectively. Graeber's mark would come up as her second farthest jump in her entire athletic career, while Boston was able to surpass her high school personal best in her first meet as a Gaucho by nearly 0.2 meters. The Dempsey Indoor Facility was more than generous to the Gauchos last year when 2018 alum Kiely Gode equalled the outdoor school record last year in this event, so the two might catch a glimpse of that Dempsey magic if their progress continues.
Astrid Rosvall is coming off a strong cross country season after placing fifth at the Big West Conference Cross Country Championships in the fall, but she will be dropping down in distance on Saturday as she competes in the full mile. Traditionally better at the middle distances such as the 800 and 1500, Rosvall should feel right at home with some reassurance from her newfound cross country strength.