Feb. 27, 2007
The UCSB Track and Field program has never before seen a stronger group of female athletes. The women's team will be gaining a little extra muscle this year as they return nearly all of their top performers, while regaining the dynamic duo of Heather Quinn and Amy Haapanen. Though legendary 4-time Conference Champion Kylie McCuen leaves the team, taking 20 key points with her, Quinn and Haapanen, returning from a red-shirt year, quite possibly could tally up a combined 54 points at this year's Big West Conference Championship meet. 2007 truly has all the makings for another Conference Team Championship for the lady Gauchos.
The roll call for the Gauchos distance squad is simply stunning. Just between Stephanie Rothstein, the school and Conference record-holder and 10th-ranked 10,000m runner in the nation in 2006, Bethany Nickless, the Steeplechase school record-holder and NCAA qualifier, and Megan Lewis, one of the greatest all-around runners in UCSB history, the Gauchos could conceivably rack up 50 points, having already combined for 46 points at last year's Conference Championships. Added to that, Hadas Moser is climbing the ranks well after her 6th place finish in the 5,000m last year. Sophomore Danielle Domenichelli, who scored in last year's Conference 1,500m could be a serious threat this year, as well.
The Sprints, Jumps, and Vault
With the loss of the great Kylie McCuen, one might think that the Gauchos sprint squad would be in dire straights. On the contrary, this crew will likely set a new precedent in points scored and records broken, with Kerry Gamble nipping at the 400m school record, she is more than ready to fill McCuen's spikes. In the Long Jump and Heptathlon, Katie Kramer looks to be a major player. Already the 3rd best Long Jumper in school history, Katie looks to also score big in the multi's, along with fellow heptathlete Lauri Schakett. The duo has enough determination and athleticism to shock the Conference and score some key points for the Gauchos this year. In the hurdles, the dominant Stellamarie Hall looks stronger than ever as she strides closer and closer to the school records in the 100m and 400m Hurdles, the latter being a virtual lock this year. Ashley Coelho, in the best shape of her life, looks to reclaim the school record in the Triple Jump, and strong freshman, Kasey Kearin, has her eyes on records in both the Triple and Long Jumps. In the vaults, the dynamic Heidi Nyberg and Melanie Sonby both look to score big again at this year's Conference Championships.
The Throws and High Jump
Never has the women's throws squad packed a bigger wallop. With the triumphant return of red-shirting Amy Haapanen and Heather Quinn, the Gauchos regain the school record-holder and 2nd all-time throwers in the Shot Put, Discus, and Hammer. But, as if their potential 54 combined points wouldn't be enough, they are supported by an exceptionally strong crop of freshman throwers, including Jean Lightfoot and Kayla Smith in the Shot Put, Daniella Thu in the Hammer and Discus, and Ingrid Sutherland in the discus. The irrepressible Jamie Schwarzbach, who gave clutch performances in the Shot Put, Hammer, and Discus returns as another key point-scorer for the Gauchos. In the Javelin, Kara Matthews returns in fantastic shape, looking to score points at Conference Championships. Kara is joined by the explosive Kit Jablonski, a rocket-armed transfer from the US Merchant Marine Academy. In the High Jump, the young All-Conference finisher, Jane Doolittle, looks to take that one last step up the Conference Podium as she returns in fantastic shape.