May 2, 2006
The Gaucho Women continued to dominate team competitions in 2006 as they took down Cal Poly SLO at the Battle of the Central Coast on Saturday afternoon in Santa Barbara 112.5 to 85.5 points. A mild, overcast end to the month of April made the conditions ripe for record breaking performances as the Gauchos head into the exciting Championship month of May.
Always a heated rivalry in any sport in which the Gauchos go head to head against the Mustangs, the Women silenced Cal Poly throughout the afternoon in a concerted team effort in most of the events. In an exciting Dual Meet scoring format, the 3rd edition of the Battle of the Central Coast gave 5 points to the winner of an event, 3 points to 2nd, 2 points to 3rd and 1 point to 4th with only two athletes from a given school able to score in any one event.
Beginning at noon with the Women's 3,000m steeplechase, the Mustangs handed the Gauchos their first eight points by not entering anyone in the event. Laura Zung (Sr.) for UCSB ran away with the win in a seasonal best 11:23.61 as she continues to improve heading into the Big West Championships. Then, up next in the 4x100m Relay the sprinting ladies turned things up blazing around the track in a new UCSB School Record. Kerry Gamble (So.) who has recovered well after a Fall surgery for a torn ACL set the tone for the record breaking attempt with a great lead off leg.
Running neck and neck with SLO, she handed the baton off to Kylie McCuen (Sr.) last year's Big West Track Athlete of the Year. McCuen proceeded to blow the doors off the backstretch ripping up the track as she then passed the stick off to fellow Senior Elise Geiger. Geiger continued the push around turn two leaving the SLO squad behind. Handing off to Leticia Pulido (Sr.) for the anchor she would come home in 46.42, taking down the old record of 46.97 set in 2004. Interestingly, that '04 squad also contained Geiger, McCuen and Pulido as they joined Gaucho star Jasmine Washington for the now #2 UCSB All-Time mark. The Gauchos '06 mark now ranks 2nd in the Big West behind a strong Cal St. Northridge squad.
Putting up an early 13 points to SLO's 3, the Women's 1500m would continue to capitalize on Cal Poly's lack of depth as the distance squad would put six in front of their one. Megan Lewis (Jr.) fresh off her win at Hayward Field in Eugene, OR came away with the win in a new personal best 4:29.26. Lewis is the 3rd ranked Big West athlete as she finished just off the Regional Qualifying mark of 4:27.80.
Stellamarie Hall (Jr.) went up against the 100m Hurldes Big West leader in Willamena Cisco from Cal Poly as Cisco dipped under 14 seconds yet again in 2006. Hall, finished in 2nd just shy of her personal best in 14.91. Hall is currently ranked 6th in the Big West. Also for the Gauchos in the Hurdles, Danielle DeBeaubien (Sr.) began a career day for herself as she set one of a few personal bests with a 15.38 clocking. DeBeaubien a Gaucho heptathlete, will begin the Big West Championships multi competitions this weekend at Northridge, CA ranked 5th.
The Gauchos then got back on their winning track as McCuen and Gamble swept the 400m Dash with McCuen running a conservative race to help her teammate notch a fast time. McCuen would come across the tape in 56.28 with Gamble 2nd in 56.82, just off her 10th ranked Big West mark of 56.65. McCuen is ranked 2nd in 54.97. The other two from the record breaking 4x100m team were featured in the fastest event on the track as Geiger would notch a personal best and #6 UCSB All-Time mark of 12.19 racing away with the win against Poly's Cisco. Pulido, would come in 3rd at 12.47. The Gauchos now had a comfortable lead with half of the Track events still remaining.
Out on the field, a few events began at noon with Gauchos picking up more points to extend their lead. In the Women's High Jump, Jane Doolittle (Fr.) remained consistent at 5-03 as she finished 2nd with a few more misses than 1st place Mustang who also cleared 5-03. In the Women's Pole Vault, Heidi Nyberg (Jr.) improved her season best to 11-05.75 and notched a win heading into the Big West Championships. In '05 Nyberg cleared her personal best mark of 11-11.75 at the Championships. She currently ranked 4th in the Big West. Melanie Sonby (So.) notched a personal best at 10-11.75 grabbing 2nd and the 6th ranked mark in the Big West. Finishing in 3rd, outside of the scoring positions, was also Shannon Moy (Fr.) who also cleared a personal best 10-06.
In the Women's Shot Put, the battle between the Gauchos' Charlene Heaston (So.) and Jamie Schwarzbach (So.) against Poly's DeFresne and DeWeese began as the four would also be clashing in the Discus and Hammer Throw. DeFresne got the upper hand in the first event as she went a mere one inch further than Heaston's seasonal best throw of 44-06. DeWeese would take 3rd as Schwarzbach would throw 42-02.75, just five inches under her best throw. Heaston is currently ranked 6th in the Big West in the Shot.
At 1:00pm a few other field events got underway with the Women's Long Jump concluding first. The Gauchos second heptathlete, Katie Kramer (Jr.) jumped a life-time and #3 UCSB All-Time mark of 19-00. Jumping to the win, Kramer is sandwiched in-between a few other standout Northridge long jumpers in the #4 spot of the Big West. Also, jumping well was Ashley Coelho who finished 4th but nonetheless set a seasonal best of 42-02.75 and DeBeaubien again with her second all-time best of 36-11.
In the Women's Javelin Throw, DeBeaubien competing in her 3rd event, also set her third best, this time a seasonal best at 124-07 good for 2nd place and three points for the Gauchos. Heading into this weekend's Big West Championship multi's competition a few more feet and seconds here and there could result in a few higher places.
Back to the track, in the Women's 800m Run, Cal Poly notched their 2nd win, however, Lewis and Bethany Nickless (So.) doubling back from the 1500m picked up 2nd and 3rd with Nickless in front at 2:17.01, a seasonal best at 800m for the Steeplechase School Record Holder. It would be Poly's last event win on the track.
Hall came back in the 400m Hurdles to win by almost three seconds with a 62.38. Her personal best of 61.89 currently ranks 3rd in the Big West. Then in the 200m Dash McCuen would grab her third win of the afternoon by again helping out a teammate with a conservative 24.51. Geiger who finished 2nd, raced to a 24.60, a personal best and #3 UCSB All-Time mark. She is now 7th in the Big West at the distance. At 5,000m, Seanna Martin would wrap the individual track events by winning in 17:34.26. Martin currently ranks 2nd in the Big West behind teammate Lewis in 16:40.80. The Women then finished off the afternoon by running their 2nd fastest time of 2006 in the 4x400m Relay anchored by McCuen in 3:48.85, almost five seconds ahead of Poly.
As the track events ended so did the final field events. In the Women's Discus Throw, DeFresne and DeWeese of Poly would get the upper hand outdistancing Heaston and Schwarzbach, however, it was the Gauchos capping things off in the last event of the meet by going 1-2 in the Hammer Throw. Heaston launched the hammer 153-06, a personal best and #6 UCSB All-Time mark, while Schwarzbach would not be outdone, also setting a personal best and the #7 All-time mark at 143-08.
Also, competing for the Gauchos over the weekend was Hadas Moser (Jr.) at the Cardinal Invitational. A last chance qualifier in the distances for Regional and National marks, an elite field electrified Palo Alto, CA. In the Women's 5,000m Run, Moser set out to improve upon her 16:57 and go after the Regional mark of 16:52. After a first lap of 77, the field settled into 80's or 16:40 pace. Moser was right in the mix through two miles right on 16:45 pace. A break in the field kept Moser behind as her ninth lap saw a 83 followed by another 83 and then a penultimate lap of 84. Still in striking distance of a qualifier, Moser kicked a 76 second last lap finishing .7 seconds off the mark in 16:52.76. Her time is 5th in the Big West.
The Gauchos will begin the Big West Championships this weekend on Saturday and Sunday at Northridge, CA with the heptathlon and decathlon competitions. Set to go for UCSB will be DeBeaubien and Kramer. The rest of the squad will join them the following weekend in Northridge for the conclusion of the Championships. The Women are defending their title; however a deep squad from Northridge appears to be the early favorite looking to take the team championship on their home turf.