April 12, 2008
IRVINE, Calif. -- Bethany Nickless qualified for Regionals in the steeplechase as the Gauchos competed at the Big West Challenge Cup on Friday evening. The Gauchos picked up more Conference and Regional marks to prepare for the upcoming championships. In the team competitions, both teams came away with fourth-place finishes.
Nickless ran in her first steeplechase of the season and cruised to an easy victory, winning by more than 100 meters over her nearest competitor with a time of 10:44.21. That is good for the Regional-qualifying time, which makes Nickless the sixth Gaucho to qualify for Regionals so far this season.
The men's steeplechase featured Michael Powers and Dillon Brook, who controlled the entire race en route to a 1-2 finish. Powers was the first to cross the line at 9:11.17, and Brook was second at 9:28.16.
The Gauchos had another 1-2 finish in the women's high jump, courtesy of Christina Nowak tying her personal best with a clearance over 5'7" (1.70m) and Jane Doolittle clearing the same height. Both of them had good looks at the Regional-qualifying bar at 1.75m.
Chris Ashley was the winner of the 3000m by a wide margin, finishing more than ten seconds ahead of his nearest competitor at 8:17.97. He and Tim Aukshunas went to the front of the pack and traded the lead throughout the race, with Ashley breaking away with 800 meters to go. Aukshunas finished in third.
Salim Benmohamed gave it his all in the 800m but was out-leaned at the line by UC Irvine's Tim Murphy. Benmohamed did, however, set a new personal best at 1:52.83. Sarah Roth was third in the 800m for the women, finishing with a time of 2:16.30. That is the fastest 800m time for the women all season and is the first Conference mark for the lady Gauchos in the 800m as well.
In the men's 400m hurdles, Elmer Guzman had his best race of the season so far by running a 54.18, good for fourth place. Alvin Go also competed in the 400m hurdles and ran a 55.67, which qualifies him for the Conference Championships.
Jean Lightfoot qualified for Conference in the women's hammer throw with a best throw of 147'9" (45.03m), bettering her previous mark in the hammer by almost five meters.
Jeff Stewart and Matt Barkley notched another 1-2 finish in the shot put. Stewart threw 55'8.25" (16.52m) for the win, and Barkley threw 54'2.50" (16.52m) to come in second. The Gauchos took four of the top five spots in the shot put, with Alex Umstead coming in fourth and Hector Serrano coming in fifth.
Other good performances came from Jayson Hayes, who qualified for the Conference Championships in the 1500m by running a 3:56.29, Sheneice Vargas, who took second place in the 400m by running a 57.49, and Danielle Domenichelli, who set a seasonal best in the 1500m at 4:30.82.
Next weekend features two meets, with the Mt. SAC Relays and the Azusa Pacific Invitational. Information will be posted later in the week.
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