March 2, 2008
IRVINE, Calif. -- The UCSB Track and Field team traveled to UC Irvine this weekend to compete in the All-Cal Challenge. Included in this meet were UCSB, UC Irvine, UC Davis, UC San Diego, and UC Riverside. The Gaucho men took home a second-place finish, and the women came in fourth.
Several athletes from the Gauchos obtained Conference-qualifying marks in this early season meet. Freshman Ryan Martin had a great race in the 800m, taking an early lead and setting the pace by running a 55.70 first lap. He had a good kick on the home stretch of the final lap, and held off several attacks from UC Davis's Ben Johnson to take the victory in 1:52.41. Another good showing came from Michael Powers and Dillon Brook, who overpowered the rest of the field in the steeplechase. They broke away from the pack with two laps to go and cruised to a one-two finish, with Powers crossing the line in 9:22.98 and Brook in 9:24.91.
For the women, Jane Doolittle was the lone event winner of the afternoon. She took the title in the high jump by posting a mark of 5'5", which also qualifies her for Conference. She cleared the bar on her final attempt at that height, after an opening clearance over 5'3". Fellow high jumper Christina Nowak also qualified for Conference with a jump of 5'3", which was good for third place in the meet.
In the men's field events, Jeff Stewart took home two All-Cal titles by winning the shot put and the hammer throw. Stewart's mark in the shot was 54'10.75", and his mark in the hammer was 174'6". Matt Barkley was second in the shot put with a heave of 54'4". Freshman Michael Guerra had a commendable debut in the javelin, throwing 180'7" to take second place and qualify for Conference.
Danielle Domenichelli had a respectable day in the women's distance races, taking third in the 1500m and second in the 3000m. In the 1500m, Danielle managed to stay on the shoulder of UC Davis's Lorin Scott for three laps, but was unable to keep pace in the final 200 meters. In the 3000m, Danielle and teammate Bethany Nickless were able to catch Scott and UC San Diego's Emily McGregor, who had broken away from the pack earlier in the race, but Scott would again finish strongly to take the victory.
Lauri Schakett and Elmer Guzman both nabbed Conference-qualifying marks in the 400m hurdles, with Schakett crossing the line in 64.75 in the women's race and Guzman finishing the men's race in 55.20. Kayla Smith also qualified for Conference in the shot put with a best throw of 43'10.75, as did David Hoff in the men's high jump with a clearance of 6'6.75".
The final individual race of the day featured seniors Chris Ashley and Tim Aukshunas in the 3000m. After a tight start, Aukshunas made his way to the front with Ashley close behind. UC Davis's Jonathan Peterson overtook both of them with two laps remaining, but Ashley would battle back to take the bell. Ashley and Peterson would exchange the lead several times during the final lap, but Peterson saved enough energy for a strong break-away in the final 200 meters. Ashley finished in second place, and Aukshunas was third.
The team titles were won by UC Irvine on the men's side, and UC San Diego on the women's side. Irvine scored 245.5 points to finish ahead of the Gauchos' 207.5 points, and San Diego was third with 199 points. For the women, San Diego had 243, Davis had 235, Irvine had 165, and UCSB had 126.
The Gauchos will be back in Irvine next weekend for the Soka University Peace Invitational. The meet is on Saturday, March 8, and begins at 12:00 noon.
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