April 17, 2008

Busy Weekend Ahead for UCSB Track and Field

April 17, 2008

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The Schedule
Meet No. 10
Friday, April 18, 2008
UCSB competes at the Azusa Pacific Invitational
at Cougar Athletic Stadium, Azusa Pacific University

Meet No. 11
Thursday - Friday, April 17-18, 2008
UCSB competes at the Mt. SAC Relays
at Hilmer Lodge Stadium, Mt. San Antonio College, Walnut, Calif.

Also Ahead
Friday - Saturday, April 25-26, 2008
UCSB Competes at the Oregon Relays
at Hayward Field, University of Oregon, Eugene, Ore.

Also Also Ahead
Friday - Saturday, April 25-26, 2008
UCSB Competes at the Triton Invitational
at UC San Diego, San Diego, Calif.

This Week in Track & Field
Two events are on tap this weekend for the UCSB track programs, with the Mt. SAC Relays taking place the entire weekend at Mt. San Antonio College, and the Azusa Pacific Invitational taking place on Friday, April 18 at Cougar Athletic Stadium on the East Campus of Azusa Pacific University. Most of the team will be competing at the Azusa Pacific Invitational this Friday, a meet that will include teams from all around the country. The meet begins at 9 a.m. with the steeplechase, and will run until about 6 p.m. in the evening. The Mt. SAC Relays is one of the largest and most famous meets on the west coast, and UCSB athletes are on the entry list for Thursday and Friday evening. Thursday's entries are Chris Ashley and Tim Aukshunas in the 10,000m at 9:45 p.m., and Julian DeRubira in the 5000m at 8:25 p.m. Friday's entries are Salim Benmohamed in the 800m at 5:25 p.m., Danielle Domenichelli in the 1500m at 6:04 p.m. and the 5000m at 8:55 p.m., and Bethany Nickless in the steeplechase at 7:05 p.m. Those entries are subject to change, but that's the way they stand as of Wednesday evening.

On The Horizon
With the season winding down and the Conference Championships looming, the Gauchos again will enter two competitive meets in the upcoming weekend of April 25-26. Some members of the team will be travelling up north to Eugene for the Oregon Relays, hosted by the University of Oregon. The rest of the team will head down to San Diego for the Triton Invitational, hosted by UC San Diego. Both meets feature enough teams and athletes to warrant two full days of competition. Information on these two meets will come soon.

We'll Let Them Do the Chasing
One of the biggest strengths for this season's team is the steeplechase, in which the Gauchos have been winning races all season long. Last week marked the return of Bethany Nickless to the circuit, and she won easily at the Big West Challenge Cup meet with a time of 10:44.21. Michael Powers ensured a sweep at the Challenge Cup by winning the men's steeple at 9:11.17. Additionally, Dillon Brook ran well enough to take second in the men's race at 9:28.16. A similar result occurred earlier in the season, when Powers and Brook went 1-2 in the steeple at the All-Cal Challenge. With two Regional-qualifiers in Nickless and Powers, the Gauchos have to be considered among the favorites in this event leading into the Conference Championships.

On the Verge
Christina Nowak and Jane Doolittle have each jumped 5'7" this season, highlighted by a 1-2 finish at the Challenge Cup last week. Nowak's clearance over 5'7" matched a personal best, and Doolittle's clearance over the same bar was just shy of a personal best. Both athletes are creeping up on the Regional-qualifying mark, which is 1.75m. Nowak is currently at 1.70m, and Doolittle is at 1.73m. Both of them had three good looks at a 1.75m crossbar last week at the Challenge Cup, which is important since their attempts were in a competitive setting. With a little more than a month to go until Regionals, the high jumpers will be looking to go big every weekend to secure those spots in the field.

Only Two Laps to Go
Salim Benmohamed continued his solid first season with the Gauchos by running a 1:52.83 in the 800m last week at the Challenge Cup, the second-fastest 800m time for the men this season. Benmohamed was only inches away from winning the race, as he finished neck-and-neck with UC Irvine's Tim Murphy. Benmohamed's personal best coming into this season was 1:53.08, which he set at the College of the Canyons last year. He came close to bettering that time at the Cal-Nevada meet two weeks ago, where he ran a 1:53.54. Another collegiate career best was set in the 800m by Sarah Roth last week, who ran a 2:16.3 (hand-timed) to take third place. Her mark is the first Conference-qualifier in the 800m for the women.

Hayes the Man
A pair of respectable finishes from Jayson Hayes has catapulted him into the mix as Conference draws near. After hovering around 2:00 in the 800m and 4:00 in the 1500m in every race this season, Hayes dropped four seconds in each race at the Challenge Cup meet. He ran a 1:56.85 in the 800m, and a 3:56.29 in the 1500, both personal bests in his first season of collegiate competition. His 1500m time meets the Conference mark as well, ensuring him a spot in the field in his freshman year of eligibility.

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