May 13, 2006
The defending champions concluded day three of the Big West Champions with two individual Champions, a few other All-Conference finishes and qualifying their key athletes into finals tomorrow. The favorites, Cal St. Northridge showed why they are the ones to beat this year putting up 96 points after seven of twenty events scored and Long Beach St. also competed well finishing the day in second with 70 points. The Gauchos came in at third with 49 points and will look to pick up some points from their sprints and distance runners tomorrow as they chase the Matadors for the Championship.
Bethany Nickless (So.) was the first Gaucho to be crowned Big West Champion for UCSB in the first event on the track, the 3,000m Steeplechase. The Conference leader by over thirty seconds going into the race, Nickless took it from the gun building a lead with every step she took. Looking to improve upon her personal best of 10:32.33, today would not be the day with the Northridge valley heat; however she still managed to race to her second best time in the steeple, 10:40.86, and win by twenty eight seconds. Also racing well was Senior Laura Zung who finished in a seasonal best 11:20.99 picking up 6th place, her first time in a scoring position.
The second Conference Champion came from the 10,000m event. A pedestrian pace welcomed the field as is usually the case in a Conference 10k as two Gauchos and three Long Beach St. 49ers led the pack. Coming in as the clear favorite, Stephanie Rothstein (Jr.) with a 33:27.85, the 10th best mark in the country, along with teammate Seanna Martin (Sr.) pulled away from a pack of Long Beach St. athletes with approximately two miles to go to finish first and second by over thirty seconds. Both Gauchos will compete tomorrow in the 5,000m event where they are ranked 2nd and 3rd behind teammate Megan Lewis (So.) who will also be featured at that distance.
Earlier in the day, the meet got underway with the Hammer Throw at noon. Somewhat overcast skies and a breeze kept the scorching heat off the valley floor setting up great competitions. The Gaucho throwing Sophomore duo of Charlene Heaston and Jamie Schwarzbach competed well with Heaston just off her life time best going 152-06 for 7th place and Schwarzbach launching a six inch personal best to take 8th place, six inches ahead of ninth. For both it was their first top eight finishes.
Also out in the field before the start of the track events, the Long Jump got underway with Katie Kramer (Jr.) coming back for more after her Big West Championship Heptathlon last weekend. On her second jump she leaped out to 18-11.50, her second best mark of her career by only half an inch qualifying herself to finals. Unable to improve in finals she would get 6th right behind a strong group of Northridge women who swept the top five positions.
At the High Jump pit, one of the great success stories of the afternoon came from Freshman jumper Jane Doolittle. Jumping consistently over 5-03 this year, her real pop had yet to be seen. Clearing 4-11, 5-01 and 5-03 easily, she went after 5-05 next surprising the field by soaring over the bar on her first attempt. However, she was not done yet. With the bar being raised to 5-07, Doolittle jumped a four inch seasonal best leaving herself and Forsythe of Long Beach as the only one to clear. The two athletes took the bar next to the Regional Qualifying mark of 5-08.75. Doolittle just missed it on her three attempts, but with less misses it was possible that she would win if Forsythe was also not able to clear the height. The 49er did clear it on her last attempt concluding an exciting competition between the two, but still left Doolittle with a 2nd place All-Conference finish as a Freshman.
The final field event of the day, the Women's Javelin saw Senior heptathlete Danielle DeBeaubien grab some more points for the Gauchos as she did last weekend at the multi's finishing 8th with a 118-11. A little shorter than last weekend's javelin toss, DeBeaubien still maintained a level of consistency that allowed her to score one more point for UCSB.
Women's 100m Hurdles
Stellamarie Hall (Jr.) - Heat 1, 6th place, 14.93
Events tomorrow at Cal St. Northridge kick off at Noon with the Men's Shot Put. Track events begin at 3pm.