TRK: Six Gauchos win Big West Conference titles

Thomas Gore-Schreck - UCSB Gauchos

UCSB’s Thomas Gore-Schreck is the 2015 Big West Conference champion in the javelin. (Presidio File Photo)


RIVERSIDE  – A twenty-one point javelin performance, highlighted by Thomas Gore-Schreck’s win, led the Gaucho men to a second place team showing at the Big West Championships on Saturday. Event wins by Jessica Johnson in the 400m and Jessica Emde in the high jump helped the Gaucho women hold on to their fourth place position from day one all the way to the end.

Scoring their second highest team total in school history, the UCSB men held the lead throughout the final day but with three events left, Long Beach State pulled away thanks to a pair of late meet 1-2 event finishes in the discus and triple jump.

Bryce Rausa, Dani Moreno and Bryan Guijarro won conference titles on Friday.

Men’s Team Scores

Long Beach State 185
UCSB 167
Cal Poly 95
Cal State Northridge 94
UC Davis 92
Cal State Fullerton 66
UC Riverside 63
UC Irvine 55

On the women’s side, a pair of event wins by Johnson and Emde helped the Gauchos hold ground and record a fourth place team finish, bettering their fifth place showing from one year ago.

Women’s Team Scores

Cal State Northridge 212
UC Davis 168
Cal Poly 102
UC Riverside 69
Hawaii 55
Long Beach State 52
Cal State Fullerton 42
UC Irvine 39

Jessica’s Capture Gold

Jessica Johnson delivered one of the best performances of the meet in winning the 400m.

Firing out strong at the gun, Johnson found her stride on the backstretch. With 180m to go she held off all challengers, giving her a slight lead onto the final straight. Johnson defended all challenges against her position as she drove for the line. Her lead grew to 5 meters when she crossed the line first in a numbing time of 52.50- #2 All-Time in UCSB history.

Johnson’s time catapults her to #16 in the NCAA.

Johnson bounced back for the 200m final, looking like a million bucks when she took the blocks. For an encore performance, Johnson exploded off the curve, lowering her personal best over half a second to 23.79, finishing in fourth. Johnson moves to #2 All-Time in UCSB history in the 200m for her effort.

She wasn’t the only Jessica making headlines for the Gauchos.

Jessica Emde cleared a personal best height of 5’10.5 to win the first Big West title of her career. Emde used a second attempt clearance at the height to win on the countback rule as CSUN’s Lydia French would clear the same bar only on her third attempt.

Emde moves up a spot on the UCSB All-Time list to #4 and to #35 on the NCAA list.

After a clearance at 5’9.25, Emde paced out onto the infield, regaining composure for her attempts at the next bar. When she returned for her looks at 5’10.5, she wasted no time on the runway, immediately attacking her approach as soon as her name was called by the official. On her second attempt she struck gold.

Men’s Recap

In the first event of the day in Riverside Stadium, UCSB locked into a fierce javelin competition. With less than five feet separating second to eighth place, each round became more intense as each competitor took to the runway in search of precious gains in distance.

First place was a different story.

Competing in his first (and last) Big West Championship as a Gaucho, senior Thomas Gore-Schreck threw 218’3, earning him the Big West title. Gore-Schreck, a UC Davis transfer, put together a solid series of throws, all six bettering the second place mark.

Matthew Kuskey found the Big West podium with a second round throw of 202’8, a Bronze medal effort. Kuskey exceeded the 200 foot mark on his final attempt but it wasn’t enough to move up in placings.

Darion Williams entered the event fresh off winning the decathlon the week before. On his third throw of the competition he was welcomed into the 200 foot club with a throw of 200’10, good for fourth overall. Williams would later place seventh in the 110m Hurdle final with a time of 15.06.

Williams would score 17 total Big West points in the competition.

In the men’s 1,500m, Bryce Rausa returned to action for the Gauchos fresh off his 3,000m steeplechase win. If his legs were still fatigued from yesterday’s action he didn’t show it as he would go on to add a Silver medal to his collection. Rausa kicked like a veteran and nearly caught CSUN’s Anass Zouhry, settling for second in a time of 3:54.22.

Tommy Poston executed a great race, coming from tenth place all the way up to fourth over the course of the final lap. Poston made great positional moves with 200m to go and would finish in fourth place with a time of 3:55.06. Andrew Verdin finished in seventh with a time of 3:56.22. Verdin navigated a charging pack of Cal Poly Mustangs, splitting them up at the tape.

Rausa closed the meet with 18 team points.

In the men’s 800m, Andrew Farkas and Greg Dotson teamed up for a memorable performance. Running in a heat with four UC Davis athletes, all ranked higher, Farkas and Dotson executed individual strategies to finish 3-4, ahead of all but one Aggie. Farkas went hard wire to wire while Dotson sat back and kicked late. The two Gauchos moved up several spots from their pre-race seedings and kept the team score close into the late afternoon.

Farkas crossed the line in 1:50.87 and Dotson followed closely in 1:51.01.

Myles McDonald added to the scoring efforts with a surprise sixth place showing in the 400m hurdles. McDonald attacked the first half of the race well and held on to finish in 52.76. With a long stride and sleek acceleration, McDonald will look to be a mainstay for the Gauchos in the long hurdles and on the long relay.

The UCSB pole vaulters broke the form chart wide open with their 2-6 performance. Freshman Parker Curry finished in a tie for second with a leap of 16’0.75 with no misses up to that point, while his sophomore teammate Clint Gallivan cleared the same bar for sixth only with three misses. The duo became the first two UCSB athletes to place in a Big West pole vault final in over fifteen years.

With Long Beach State taking over the lead, the Gauchos sent out their finest distance runners in the 5,000m in an attempt to close the gap. Bryan Guijarro ran well, holding onto the font edge of the peloton until the final kick. Guijarro and Cal Poly’s Nick Woolf engaged in an epic finish- Woolf would hold on for the win while Guijarro gave it everything he had to place second. Anthony Monroy came from out of nowhere to outkick several athletes, working his way into the eighth scoring spot.

Guijarro ran 14:43.14 to Woolf’s 14:42.45. Monroy finished in 14:48.39.

Guijarro finished the competition in a tie with Rausa for the team lead at 18 points.

In the triple jump, Oscar Pearson hit a distance of 46’6 to place seventh overall.

Albert Hughes placed eighth in the discus with a mark of 159’4.

The men’s 4 x 400m and 4 x 100m relays each placed sixth.

Women’s Recap

Tori Tsolis competed in the one heat final of the 1,500m, finishing fourth with a time of 4:27.17. Tsolis went with the pack but the trio of Lambdin (UCD), Hefflin (UCR) and Windsor (CP) went out with their hair on fire, each women crossing the line under the national class time 4:20. It will go down as one of the fastest Big West 1,500m finals on record.

Tsolis has likely secured an NCAA qualifying time from her Occidental performance and will compete in the First Round competition in Austin.

Rebekah Ent executed her race strategy in the 800m, placing fifth with a new personal best time of 2:10.18. Ent ran even splits, closing hard to make up time on the second lap. Her performance moves her to #5 All-Time in UCSB history.

Dani Moreno returned to action in the 5,000m, looking to make a return trip to the award stand. She did just that by placing second in a blistering finish with Cal Poly’s Molly Haar.

Moreno finished in 17:38.10.

Next Up- NCAA West Regional

The Gauchos will now turn their attention to the NCAA First Round competition held in Austin, TX from May 27-30.