RIVERSIDE, Calif. - The UCSB men captured the team title in convincing fashion at the UCR Spring Track Classic. Thirty men broke into the scoring column, helping the Gauchos run their team total to 174.5, over 30 points ahead of the second place team. The UCSB women put athletes in 18 scoring positions and finished third in the eight team field and second out of five Big West teams in attendance.
UC Riverside 138
Cal St. Fullerton 109
Cal St. Northridge 78
Southern Utah 64
UC Irvine 32
North Dakota St. 28.5
Cal St. Northridge 148
UC Riverside 92
Cal St. Fullerton 70
North Dakota St. 67.5
Southern Utah 53
UC Irvine 50.5
The UCSB men took a 6-0 dual meet record into the weekend. They can now add the UCR Spring Track Classic title to their resume. The Gauchos opened the season with victories over Westmont and Pepperdine at the Round-Up. Next they traveled to UCSD and captured the All-Cal title over UCSD and UC Irvine. At the Big West "Double Dual" the Gauchos took down Cal Poly and host UC Riverside, showcasing their depth in multiple event discliplines. The Gauchos have now toppled five Big West opponents on the year.
The Gauchos finished second out of the five Big West teams attending the UCR Spring Track Classic. Their 4-2 dual meet record came from wins against Westmont and Pepperdine at the Round-Up and by claiming the All-Cal title over UCSD and UC Irvine. Their losses came against Cal Poly and UC Riverside in the "Double Dual." At the UCR Spring Track Classic the Gauchos lost to conference foe Cal St. Northridge but outscored UCR, Cal St. Fullerton and UC Irvine.
UCR Spring Classic Men's Recap
If Friday evening in Riverside wasn't hot enough, Albert Hughes turned up the heat on his fifth throw in the hammer. Hughes attacked his four turns and blasted a homerun out to the center of the sector. Nearly disappearing in the horizon, the 16lb. ball sent a cloud of dust into the air on impact. Knowing the feel of a good throw, Hughes emphatically pumped his fist as he stepped out of the circle. When the officials called out his mark of 209'3, those fist pumps resumed as did a host of high fives and fist bumps.
Hughes won the competition and upped his personal best in the event by nearly ten feet.
His mark moves him up to third all-time in UCSB history. It is the #12 Mark in the NCAA at the time of this publication and the #3 mark in the NCAA West Region.
"This was a great moment for our program. To have Albert, a former walk-on, do something like this, it sends a message to the rest of our team that hard work pays off. For anyone who has walked by our hammer cage in the morning and seen us out there training and turning balls, rain or shine, this was a moment waiting to happen." said throws coach Cody Fleming.
"I couldn't be happier for Albert. Two weeks ago he was honored as a Big West Scholar Athlete and now he has a national ranking in the hammer. He also graduated last week. This guy is on a roll."
Hughes wasn't the only Gaucho firing off hammers. Stephen Leach placed third with a mark of 175'6 and Austin Sahs threw the first 50m throws of his career (he had 2x), placing sixth with a best mark of 164'7.
Back on the team bus early Saturday, Head Coach Pete Dolan showed each athlete the same picture on this headline. The message was simple. Go compete. The cavalry responded.
Thirty men and a relay broke into the scoring column and with scoring hindered by a "three per team" rule on the meet the Gauchos even left points on the table if normal invitational scoring rules were in effect.
The Gauchos placed five men into the top-eight in the 1,500m.
Bryan Guijarro once again led the charge, winning in 3:48.87.
Guijarro now has a seven race win streak going this season, one of the longest NCAA DI streaks in the nation.
Anthony Ortolan placed second in 3:50.33. A former 3,000m steeplechaser and 5,000m athlete, Ortolan is starting to show lethal range across the distance spectrum. He is quickly becoming a threat in any field he lines up in.
Andrew Farkas placed third with a new 3:52.74 PR. Farkas can add this to his new 800m PR, set back at UCR in the "Double Dual." He appears to feel at home in the Inland Empire, which is where the Big West Championships will be held later this spring.
Scott placed second in a season's best 47.54. Johnson, running out of the seldom coveted lane 1, nearly toppled his personal best, finishing in 48.48.
In the 800m, Andrew Verdin placed third in 1:53.33. Verdin is showing rapid speed improvement, a good indication you won't want to take your eye off him with a lap to go in his signature event, the 1,500m.
Freshman Jose Lopez placed seventh in 1:54.26.
The Gauchos placed well in the hurdles. Darion Williams took third in the 110m hurdles in 15.01. In the 400m hurdles, Humberto Garcia used a solid 54.64 to place third. Dave McBride placed fifth in 55.35, a PR for the former San Marcos HS sprinter.
Joseph Rivera was the lone Gaucho in the 3,000m steeplechase. He placed third in 9:40.96.
The Gauchos ran an underclassmen on their long relay for the first time this season, welcoming Rufus Wollo to the "A" team. They responded with a season best time of 3:13.12. Wollo took the stick out of the blocks and handed off to Myles McDonald for the second leg. McDonald held ground and exchanged with Karlon Johnson on the third leg. Johnson couldn't break free from a spirited home UCR squad. He gave Scott the stick on the anchor leg with a deficit of nearly 5m. Scott couldn't overcome the kick of UCR's Michael Koger, a former Big West 400m hurdle champion. The two men battled over the lap, with Koger outleanning Scott at the tape.
In the field...
Oscar Pearson took the event win in the long jump with a new lifetime best leap of 23'6. Pearson made the change to his opposite foot due to an early season injury. By the looks of it, the change was planned by Coach Anderson. Pearson had multiple big jumps and big fouls, all in negligible wind conditions.
Freshman Andrei Kasten placed third with a leap of 22'4.5.
In the triple jump, freshman Grant Bush hit 45'6.25 to place third.
Williams placed fourth in his first javelin competition since winning bronze at last years Big West Championships. His best throw of 189'8 is a good indication he is in good form in the event. Williams also threw 42'10 in the shot put for a new personal best.
Decathlete Billy Britt notched a new personal best with a throw of 167'1. Britt also hit a PR in the shot at 39'9 and ran 15.90 in the 110m hurdles.
In the discus, Hughes hit a season's best to place second at 162'5. Three other Gauchos followed him into the event final.
UCR Spring Classic Women's Recap
The Gauchos women were led by their usually group of stars but this weekend a new cast of athletes were welcomed onto the scene.
Ashley Alama added 14 feet to her discus personal best, placing third overall with a mark of 157'11. Alama now sits sixth all-time in UCSB history in the event. She broke the 150 foot barrier three times on the afternoon, showing newfound consistency and strength.
In what turned out to be the deepest event in the entire meet, Freshman Kayla O'Brine threw a new lifetime best in the discus of 150'3. O'Brine finished in eighth overall and also found herself in new territory- joining Alama on the UCSB all-time list in ninth.
In the 1,500m Rebekah Ent finished in 4:41.82 in the first time she contested the event. Ent placed 11th overall.
Aside from a few new surprises, the veterans showed well.
Jessica Johnson lowered her season best in the 400m, placing second in 54.23. This was the third fastest time in Johnson's career, a good indication she is nearing a run at her personal best of 53.77.
Sophomore Betsy Armitage placed eighth in the 400m in 56.48. This was a personal best for Armitage who is now .3 away from cracking the UCSB all-time list in her main event.
Sara Schreck took second in the 3,000m in 10:23.17. She was followed in fourth by senior Bailey Miller in 10:47.40. Look for Schreck and Miller to step up to the 5,000m and 10,000m distances in the very near future.
Shannon Trumbull placed third in the 100m hurdles in 14.40, running into a slight headwind.
In the 400m hurdles, Hallie Brauner placed fifth in 63.71. Freshman Jennifer Burks ran a great first half but faded late, placing eighth in 66.28. Look for Burks to continue to develop in the grueling long hurdle event.
Kelsey O'Connell was the lone entrant in the 3,000m steeplechase, placing third in 11:23.30.
In the field...
Jessica Emde took her fifth win of the season in the high jump at 5'7. This was the 13th collegiate win for Emde in the high jump.
Freshman Kelsey Remige cleared 5'3 to place third for the Gauchos.
Melissa Rake won the javelin with a throw of 139. This was a season's best for the former NCAA First Round qualifier in the event. This was the sixth collegiate win for Rake in the javelin.
Lara Lewis placed fifth with a mark of 121.
In the hammer, Hanna Person cracked the 50m barrier for the first time this season, placing eighth in 164'5.
Lauren Larson cleared 11'5.75 in the pole vault, placing ninth overall.
UCSB will now set their sights on the Stanford Invitational which will take place on April 3rd and 4th. A non-scoring contest, the Gauchos will use this competition to improve Big West and NCAA marks in what appears to be one of the top collections of talent assembled in the NCAA regular season across the nation. The Gauchos will also compete select athletes who did not meet qualifying standards for the Stanford Invitational at the San Francisco State Distance Carnival, held Friday, April 3rd.