TRK: Gauchos win both sides at All-UC Championships

La Jolla – With daytime temperatures in the high 70’s, La Jolla and host UC San Diego put together another memorable All-UC Championship on Saturday. The meet was already underway when the National Anthem echoed out from Triton Stadium into the West Field where the hammer competition was taking place. When the last chord played through the sound system, the Gauchos and Tritons locked into a fierce, exciting dual meet that wasn’t decided until the final events of the afternoon.

Collecting eleven event wins each, the UCSB men’s and women’s track and field teams won the 2015 All-UC Championship while showing their depth across the board. With important second and third place points (7-5-4-3-2-1 scoring format), the meet stayed close on both sides and came down to the final events for the women.

Men’s Team Scores: UCSB 168, UCSD 151, UCI 42

Women’s Team Scores: UCSB 169, UCSD 160, UCI 48

The Gaucho men held the lead throughout the afternoon and closed any late scoring chances for the Tritons in the 3,000m, when Bryan Guijarro and Anthony Ortolan finished in a rare tie. Leaning across the line in 8:23.61, the FinishLynx timing system couldn’t decide the winner so both men left as event champions. They also cracked into the 3,000m UCSB all-time list at #8 for their effort, a place they will have to share for the time being.

For the Gaucho women it was a different story as a late rally by UCSD made for an exciting last three events. Sprinter Jessica Johnson ran a new lifetime best in the 200m at 24.54 to win the event, but with two Tritons taking the next two spots it wasn’t enough for the Gauchos to pull away. Senior Dani Moreno then took the track for the penultimate event of the afternoon, the 3,000m, taking 20+ seconds off her Westmont performance for the win at 9:56.08. Yet again, a Triton held pace and took the second spot, preventing the Gauchos from adding all important dual meet points. In the last field event to be scored, the women’s shot put, the Gauchos secured the team win with Heather Hawes’ winning throw of 42’5.25.

Both the Gaucho 4 x 400m relays teams put on a show to close the competition. The women’s squad consisting of Shamara Carney, Hallie Brauner, Betsy Armitage and Jessica Johnson blazed around the track in 3:45.39, a terrific early season run bettering their season’s best from a year ago. Johnson delivered a 54.7 split on the anchor leg and was helped by an early 56 split from Branuer.

The men assembled two relay squads, one with new comers and the other with all veterans, the later giving the remaining crowd in Triton Stadium another look at one of the finest 400m men around in Jordan Scott. The veteran squad put long hurdle specialist Humberto Garcia in the blocks and he gave a small lead to Myles McDonald for the second leg. McDonald, an event winner in the 400m hurdles (54.54) delivered another smooth relay performance, showing his strength from all of the long training over the barriers. He added a few meters to the lead as he exchanged the baton with the Gauchos 6’9 sprinter, Karlon Johnson. As the baton hit his palm, Johnson blasted around the first turn and opened up the throttle down the back stretch. When he took to the home straight his stride remained wide open as an eager Scott waved him in. Scott took the baton on the anchor leg and looked relaxed throughout. With perfect upright posture, minimal arm action and blurring leg turnover Scott closed the final lap in 46.5, helping the Gauchos clock in at 3:13.46.

The highlight of the rookie 4 x 400m squad was Rufus Wollo’s 48.8 split on the third leg. Wollo took the baton nearly 30m out of the lead but closed strong and brought his squad back into contention going into the final leg. They would go on to place third at 3:22.70.

One of the finest track and field announcers in the country was on hand to call the meet in Dixon Farmer. A veteran coach and former athletic director, Farmer’s insights behind the microphone make for an outstanding fan experience. As a staple in Big West Championship Meets, Farmer has grown accustomed to calling Bryan Guijarro’s name. The Gauchos junior harrier provided plenty of commentary by winning the 1,500m to go with his tie in the 3,000m.

Taking on a field of mid-distance threats, Guijarro ran in third and fourth for most of the way until dropping the hammer on the final lap, out sprinting the field, pacing a top-nine sweep for the Gauchos in the event. Guijarro’s time of 3:52.05 was just off his lifetime best in the event and a terrific indication his speed reserves are in place for a run at 5,000m and 10,000m races later this season.

Bryace Rausa placed second in 3:52.74 with Andrew Verdin not far behind coming in third at 3:52.95.

In other men’s distance action, Adam Avila won the 3,000m steeplechase in 9:16.70. Paul Mohrtook an important second in the 800m at 1:54.69 and Anthony Monroy took home a new personal best in the 3,000m in 8:25.43. Monroy narrowly missed the UCSB all-time list by 1.31 seconds.

Jordan Scott took home the win in the 400m in the first race of the season in his signature event. Scott finished in 47.86 while teammate Karlon Johnson placed third in 48.87. Freshman Rufus Wollo placed fifth in 49.17.

In the women’s 400m, Jessica Johnson led a 1-2 finish for the Gauchos, winning in 55.55. Sophomore Betsy Armitage placed second in 56.86.

The Gauchos won both short hurdle events with decathlete Darion Williams winning the 110 hurdles with a 14.95 performance. On the women’s side, Shannon Trumbull took the win in 14.51. Trumbull would go on to place second in the 400m hurdles at 64.58 behind teammate Hallie Brauner in 63.67.

Lee Duncan won the men’s 100m in 10.96. This was the first collegiate win for Duncan.

Rebekah Ent placed second in the women’s 800m in a time of 2:13.54.

Tori Tsolis won the women’s 1,500m in 4:39.34, leading a Gaucho sweep of the top three places. Finishing in second, freshman Jenna Hinkle came in at 4:40.76 while long range weapon Dani Moreno clocked 4:42.71 in a rare appearance working on her finishing speed to place third.

One of the best field event duals of the day came in the men’s javelin with Big West runner-up Thomas Gore-Schreck squaring off with UCSD All-American Nash Howe. Firing out of the Gate, Howe launched a mark of 210’4. Schreck came back in the second round and challenged but his mark of 210’3 wouldn’t be enough on the day as both men finished the remaining rounds chasing longer throws to no avail.

Jessica Emde kept her hot streak in the high jump alive, winning her third straight competition with a height of 5’8. Teammate Hannah O’Connor took an important third at 5’4.25.

Hannah Person repeated as the All-UC Champion in the women’s hammer throw with a throw of 162’11.

Heather Hawes added a discus event win to go along with her shot title with a throw of 147’6. Freshman Kayla O’Brine placed second in the discus with a great early season mark of 141’11.

Albert Hughes won the men’s hammer and discus with marks of 186’9 and 157’4 respectively.

Afolabi Olabode took the second win of his collegiate career in the men’s shot, firing a toss of 52’9.5 for the win. Olabode led a 1-4 Gaucho sweep in the event and was followed by Deion Dayao(48’7), Stephen Leach (48’0.5) and Denley Rodriguez (47’10.5).

An early meet highlight for the Gauchos came from freshman pole vaulter Parker Curry as he won the event at 15’5 and went on to take three solid attempts at a new best of 16’1. Curry is an electric performer and one to keep an eye on as the Gauchos progress through the season.

“Our hat goes off to Coach Solerno, Coach Ahner and their staff over at UCSD. They put on a great meet and they have assembled some tough teams. We wish them the best of luck the rest of the way. We love scored meets and the camaraderie and competitiveness from the teams made this meet a memorable experience for fans, parents and the athletes” said Associate Head Coach Cody Fleming.

Next up for the Gauchos will be a double dual meet with Cal Poly and host UC Riverside on Saturday, March 14th.