Gaucho women lose Big West track title by 1/2 point

IRVINE, Calif.–The UCSB women’s track and field team put up a hard-faught weekend of competition and came extremely close to winning their first Conference team title in several decades. Unfortunately, the women were separate by 0.5 points from this year’s 2012 Big West Champions, UC Davis who scored a combined team total of 170 points.

Despite the upset, the Gaucho women have much to be proud of, with many of the athletes claiming individual titles and podium finishes. For example, Barbara Nwaba picked up five individual titles including the high jump, 4x400m relay (assisted by Jenn Carey, Amanda Rodriguez, Justine Diaz), 100m hurdles, the heptathlon from last weekend and second in the javelin.

Justine Diaz earned a title in the women’s 800m race (2:06.65) for a new lifetime best while Irene Kujore picked up a huge win the shot put, throwing nearly five feet farther than her closest competitor (49-4.25) as well as in the hammer throw (185-10) and second in discus (164-00).

Other athletes had podium finishes that contributed greatly to the women’s total team score. The women’s 3k steeplechase event kicked off day two with Andrea Jacobs holding it down for the Gauchos, remaining in the first two spots throughout the entire race. Jacobs crossed the line in 10:30.73 to place second in conference. Cassie Brooker clocked in 10:38.26 to finish third in the steeplechase. Grace Esslinger placed third in the javelin (131-7).

Tayler Williams finished her senior year with a third place podium spot in the triple jump (39-11.5) and fifth in the long jump. Dani Moreno came from behind to secure a third place spot in the 5k (17:00.88) for a new lifetime best. Megan Petkovic and Andrew Jacobs followed closely behind to take 4th and 5th place.

Amanda Rodriguez finished sixth in the 400m hurdles, crossing the line in 61.91 and setting a new personal record.