Track 2005

UCSB Women’s Track – Bethany’s journal

Bethany Nickless

May 19 2005: Big West Champions!
So it has been almost a week since Big West Conference Championships and I think I am finally starting to recover. Sorry it has taken me so long to get this to you, but it has been a busy week. The end of the school year is quickly approaching. But anyways, on to the important stuff…the information you really want to know about. There are just too many words that could describe this weekend…surreal, exciting, emotional, and incredible; the list goes on and on. Our women’s team WON Big West for the first time in school history. The FIRST time!!! Please bear with me on the excitedness, but I just cannot help it. It’s been a long journey from being injured a year ago to being a part of school history. I am still just in shock. So now… on to the results… it was a crazy weekend. The Gauchos definitely represented well in all events, especially the distances. Our team’s final score was 179 and the distances alone brought in 80 of those points. That is the 1500, steeplechase, 5k, 10k.

I was in the first running event of the meet along with Becka Zamolo and Laura Zung. We knew that we needed to get our team rolling, so we were ready to go. I ended up finishing 4th overall after falling after the water pit (not in the water, but right after) on the second lap. It was still a five second PR, so it all worked out. Becka finished her last steeplechase of her career in 7th place with a time of 11:12, a 12 second PR. Laura Zung finished 12th with a time of 11:45.

Later that evening was the 10k. I was also running this race. My first 10k ever and it was less than four hours after my steeple. I did not know what I was getting myself into! For me personally the race did not go well…I ended up 14th with a time of 39:32. I made it through the first 15 laps pain free and then my right quad slowly started giving out on me. I finished the race, but was definitely disappointed that I could not help out the team the way I had planned. However, all the other Gauchos in the race did incredibly well! Megan Lewis ran an incredible race and finished 1st with a time of 36:15. Hadas Moser stepped up big time and finished 3rd with a time of 37:22. After 28 days in the pool and 3 days of running previous to the meet due to a possible stress fracture in her foot, Stephanie Rothstein came back to finish 4th with a time of 37:27. Seanna Martin also came up big for the Gauchos finishing 5th in a time 37:36. Although she did not score, Christie Farson finished ninth running an awesome race and finishing in a time of 38:46.

The next day the Gaucho ladies started off with the 1500. Lauren Christman finished 2nd with a time of 4:22. This is remarkable considering she had just been diagnosed with strep throat and two nights previous to the meet her body was rejecting the antibiotics. Cosette Smith finished 4th with a new PR of 4:26. Lauren’s twin sister Lindsay finished 5th overall with a time of 4:26.

The Gauchos clinched their victory with a 1, 2, 3, 4 sweep in the 5k. Cosette coming off the 1500 pulled off the victory in a very tactical race with a time of 17:06. Lauren, also coming of the 1500, came in a very close 2nd with a time of 17:06. Megan completed the 10k, 5k double, finishing 3rd with a time of 17:07. Lindsay completed the 5k, 1500 double and finished 4th with a time of 17:11. Hadas Moser finished 7th (17:33) after a huge last lap to take down a girl from UC Irvine. Stephanie Rothstein took one for the team and finished 10th overall in a time of 17:53.

This weekend was amazing. I know it’s a lot of numbers…but I am still amazed at what our team did. We went there on a mission and brought home a championship!

I would just like to say thank you and congratulations to all of the Gaucho coaches and athletes. You are all incredible! You ladies put in the hard work and effort and everyone earned a piece of this victory. Thank you for making my 1st (technically my 2nd) season as a Gaucho one I will never forget. Also, congratulations to Pete Dolan on being named Coach of the Year. This championship could not have been made possible without you!

Next meet is NCAA Regionals in Eugene on May 27-28. Nine girls and eleven boys will be making the trip. The distance girls going are: Megan Lewis, Cosette Smith, Lauren Christman, and Lindsay Christman in the 5k and myself in the steeplechase. I am extremely excited and cannot wait to compete in the same stadium as Steve Prefontaine did. This will honestly be a dream come true. Thank you to all the readers (some of whom I have talked to) for all your support (and patience for my delayed entries) throughout the season.

May 12 2005: The deep breath before the plunge.
This weekend is what the whole season comes down to… Big West Championships. It is the weekend we have been preparing for since December. This is the big time. Two days from now, the Gauchos will enter the battlefield, fighting against nine other schools to be the best. Everything we have done this season has been for this specific weekend. Everything will be laid out on the line, and hopefully the Gauchos will come out on top. Personally, I cannot wait for this weekend. This is the weekend where champions are made! This is the weekend I have been looking forward to for a really really long time! Thursday evening we will load onto the Santa Barbara Airbus and travel down to UC Irvine. The competition will last two full days. The preliminaries are held on Friday and the finals are held on Saturday. The women have a good chance at taking the title if everyone performs to their capabilities.

One of the main things I love about being a Gaucho is the support I have from every single one of my teammates. On many occasions this weekend, you will hear our cheering section screaming out the “Ole Ole” cheer or beating on drums or banging together thunder sticks with the hopes of helping out a teammate during competition. Our team is loud. That is all there is to it… and I love it.

So as you are out on your morning (or afternoon or evening) jog these next few days… be thinking about us Gauchos. And we will be doing our best to represent Santa Barbara to the best of our abilities.

“The will to win means nothing if you haven’t the will to prepare.” -Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC Marathon winner.
(This is the quote that I have been thinking about all week, and I just thought that I would share it with all of you)

May 12 2005: The band of sisters.
So, in talking to Jim a few days ago, I realized that week after week I talk about the other girls on my team, and yet you guys do not know anything about them. So, here is a list of our team broken down by grade and then the poem that follows was written by the seniors and read to us at the end of this past cross-country season…I will do my best to explain some of the “inside jokes”…

The Seniors: Kristin Chadez, Desiree Leek, Roseann Peters, Cosette Smith, Rebecca Zamolo
The Juniors: Leslie Alexander, Michelle Beritzhoff, Lauren Christman, Lindsay Christman, Alisa Gammon, Seanna Martin, Stephanie Rothstein, Laura Zung
The Sophomores: Ashlee Drady, Christie Farson, Megan Lewis, Caitlyn Morgan, Hadas Moser, Bethany Nickless
The Freshman: Christine Bjelland, Andrea Gruber, Lauren Rugge, Dana Underwood


It’s a common thing we all seem to know
That every year people have to go
And say goodbye to a life and a team
Losing a family is what it may seem

So this chapter ends, and a new one will start
But these pages will be kept oh so near to the heart
We will gladly remind you of some parts of the story
As we each found our path to our personal glory

Cosette was the stud from Manhattan Beach
With success on the track that not many can reach
Her leadership and wisdom is what we did see
And let’s not forget, this old girl’s 23!

Kristin was tiny, so small and petite
But don’t worry ladies, this girl can eat
“Grandma” made sure that we were always good
Lending her knowledge whenever she could

It’s super that this girl could never say anything mean
Desiree Leek burst onto the scene
Always so positive, and incredibly fast
With those crazy stories about those lovely lab rats

You know you’ll miss Becka, her crazy pink style
Think of Bill Bellamy (her original pronunciation of Bill Bowerman) and you’ll get a smile
If you go out with Becka, she’ll dress for the prom
and this little gymnast is majoring in Comm.

And these four had teammates
That were just as crazy
Goofy, and silly, but definitely not lazy

Steph’s mudless shirt (she’s a shuffler) we can never admire enough
And before you know it you’ll be holding her stuff

Hadas on Fayah (fire), what more can we say
At Lagoon race this year, she blew the competition away

Picky Megan would only eat the simplest food
But any type of candy could brighten her mood

Lauren and Lindsay, two peas in a pod (twins)
Together they giggle, laugh, smile, and nod

Seanna and Laura are two of a kind
Looking for one and the other’s close behind

Stealing signs is all we’d think Alisa’d be seeking
talk bad about Half Moon Bay, and you’ll get a beating.
(her hometown)

We will never grow sick of Michelle being so motherish
As Jack Johnson would say, “Christie’s moves like a jellyfish”

Ashlee’s laid back manner, Leslie’s wonderful smile
Getting used to Bethany’s orange outfits can take a while
(I don’t really wear orange THAT much…but it is my favorite color)

Caitlyn and Foxy (nickname for Roseann…Foxy Roxy) are injured right now
We miss them much, get them better somehow!

“It’s my life, it’s now or never”
Freshman girls we’ll remember you forever.

You’ll miss Becka’s comments, Des’s LAAADY, and Chaudy’s glare
But most importantly, you’ll miss Cosette’s hair

It’s hard to imagine
It’s hard to believe
It’s hard to let go
When we don’t want to leave

It’s all this that we’ll miss, and it’s fair to be sad
But what a memorable and amazing journey we’ve had
We’ll miss the 7am drills, the road trips, the races
But mostly at 3:15, we’ll be missing your faces

Never forget all the gaucho magic that went on
And that our “band of sisters” will never be gone

It’s really random…I know. But this is just kind of what we do. We are one big family, and get along like sisters. Each of us has our own little quirks, but that’s what works. (Sorry, the rhyming got to me) Hopefully this may help in giving you a little picture of each one of us. I guess in the midst of all the seriousness of being Division 1 college athletes, we do find time for a little fun every now and then!

May 05 2005: California whole.
This past weekend we had Gauchos all over California. Most of our team went to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to compete in a 5-way meet with Cal Poly, Sacramento State, Cal State Northridge, and Fresno State. A few of our elite athletes traveled to Palo Alto to compete in the Cardinal Invitational at Stanford University. The Cal Poly meet did not have a steeplechase, so the steeplers traveled down to UC Irvine to compete in the Steve Scott Invitational.
At Cal Poly, Megan Lewis won the 1500 in a time of 4:30, a 9 second PR. Other Gauchos in that race were Seanna Martin (4:42), Hadas Moser (4:43), Ashlee Drady (4:43), Leslie Alexander (4:48), Michelle Beritzhoff (4:49), and Christie Farson (4:55).
We sent Lauren Christman, Lindsay Christman, and Cosette Smith up to Stanford to race the 1500. Lauren ran 4:23, Lindsay ran 4:26, and Cosette ran 4:27 setting a new PR.
Laura Zung, Rebecca Zamolo, and myself went down to Irvine in hopes of getting a better conference mark, and to get one last steeple in before conference. It was not the greatest of days for us. We all felt pretty tired going into the race, after a tough week of competition and practice. Becka ended up running 11:31 and Laura finished in 11:35. I ran a 10:48 and won the race. While it was a new PR and a win, I was not very happy with the race. Normally the tired feeling kicks in about lap 4 or 5, but I felt tired from the beginning. My splits were pretty off, and I didn’t really have anyone to push me. So, I was a little disappointed after the race. Looking back on this weekend, many things did not play out in my favor. I am really looking forward to conference because I know that I will be challenged and I am really anxious to come back with a good race!
I would have to say that it was not a great weekend overall for our team, but we all have learned something from it and I know we are all looking forward to the Conference meet a week from now. (May 11-14) This Saturday is the Occidental Invitational where a few Gauchos will be going to compete in their last chance to get the conference qualifier. The season is winding down; I cannot believe how fast it has gone by. We’ve put in all the work, so this next week will be all about fine tuning and getting mentally ready.

April 28 2005: Cal-Nevada Champs
Six of my distance teammates and I traveled to Fresno State University this past weekend to compete in the Cal-Nevada Championships. The competition was not as solid as it has been in past years, but it was definitely a good weekend for us Gaucho girls! Most of the team had the weekend off after such a big weekend last weekend. Out of the seven of ussix of us set personal bests. We had six girls entered in the 1500 meters and one girl entered in the 5000 meters. This was a Championship style meet, so for the 1500, we had to run in a pre-lims on Friday to qualify for the finals on Saturday. There were two heats, three gauchos in each heat. Five of us made it to the finals on Saturday. Rebecca Zamolo was the only Gaucho entered in the 5000 meters that Friday evening. She finished in 18:16, a four second personal best. On Saturday, we had the finals for the 1500 meters. The Gauchos represented almost half the field. We made up five out of the total twelve. Being more of a distance runner, I was very nervous for the 1500. The race went out really fast the first hundred meters as everyone was battling for position. I fell in to the back of the lead pack and basically just hung on. I knew I could stay in there because I had the base. It was just a matter of mentally staying tough and handling the quick pace. With two hundred meters to go, I passed one of our Big West rivals and from that point on was just running for dear life because I knew everyone was coming after me! I ended up finishing second overall in a personal best of 4:34, a ten second PR. The other four girls also set personal bests. Seanna Martin finished sixth overall and ran 4:40, a seven second PR. Ashlee Drady missed the conference qualifier by one second in a time of 4:44, but she will be running it this weekend looking for that mark! Christie Farson coming off of injury ran a personal best of 4:49 and Leslie Alexander, also running a personal best, finished in a time of 4:50.
This next weekend we have Gauchos spread out everywhere! The majority of our team is traveling to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to compete in a 5-way meet against Cal Poly, Fresno State, Sacramento State, and Cal State Northridge. The 5-way meet, however, does not have a steeplechase, so the steeplechasers, including myself, will be traveling down to UC Irvine to compete in the Steve Scott Invitational. Also, a few Gauchos will be traveling to Stanford to compete in the Cardinal Invitational. These athletes are looking to better their time and improve their chances of going to nationals. So, I will give you guys an update as soon as I get all the results in!

April 20 2005: My Life as a Student Athlete…
Two words…TIME MANAGEMENT!!! Without this, I would not be able to survive. I am trying to balance being a student at a major university, an athlete on a Division 1 team, work, act as a student leader with Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and a social life. As you can imagine, the social life tends to get pushed to the side many a time.
I am a Math major at UCSB. I have just started taking my first upper-division classes, and it is rough. It is a whole new world of math that I never even knew existed until now. (So, if any of you know about the theory behind linear algebra… please let me know.) As you already know by now, I am on the Cross Country and Track teams at UCSB also, which is a whole lifestyle in itself. It is more than just going to practice and races. Everything outside of academics and extra-curricular involvement basically revolves around running also. I always have to be careful of what I eat, how much sleep I am getting, and what I am doing when I am not at practice. Running here is so competitive that there is little room for error in the outside world. Now, I’m not saying that running is my life 24/7, but it is pretty darn close.
We run seven days a week, two of which are double days, with drills (plyometrics) at 7 a.m. and daily afternoon practice. To most other college students, 7 a.m. does not even exist on their clock. I enjoy them though; it is a good start to the day. So, a typical practice week for us is…Monday-3:15 workout, Tuesday-7 a.m. drills and 3:15 recovery run, Wednesday-workout, Thursday-7 a.m. drills and 3:15 recovery run, Friday-3:15 pre-race run, Saturday-race, Sunday-long run.
When I say workout, I am talking about intervals or repeats, mostly track workouts now. For me, a recovery run is usually about 5-7 miles at an 8-minute pace, depending on how I feel. A pre-race run for me is an easy 4 miles with some strides. A long run is a deuce (2-hour run) at the beginning of the season (about 15 miles) and as the season progresses, it gets cut down to about an hour and twenty minutes to an hour and a half (about 10-12 miles).
I have battled injury for the past year and a half, so my miles are a little bit less than the girls on my team who are the same year as me in school. I maxed out at about 60 weekly miles this past winter, whereas the other girls maxed out at 70.
Besides running and school, I also work as a desk attendant at the dorms I lived in last year, and for the athletics department here as event staff. I don’t have very many work hours for these jobs, but every little bit helps. Plus, I am an active member in Fellowship of Christian Athletes. I just recently started helping out as a student leader. So, most of my friends here at school are either on the team or through FCA, which is perfectly fine with me. It’s nice to have people in the same boat as I am.
All those Friday nights, when a good percentage of my peers are all out partying while I have a race the next day; it’s good to have friends who I can enjoy a good movie with instead. I think everything helps to keep my head in the right place, and focused on the important things in my life. While the typical college student might think I am “missing out on the college experience,” I feel that I am getting the perfect college experience that will help to prepare me for post-graduation.
Most people think that I am crazy for doing so many things, but that is the way I like it. I don’t know what I would do with myself if I weren’t busy all the time. Plus, being in such a time crunch helps me to focus more on my studies because I only have so many hours of the day to do that.
This weekend is the Cal-Nevada Championships in Fresno where I’m scheduled to run the 1500. I’ll let you know how it goes!

April 16 2005: Mt Sac
This weekend was an awesome weekend to be a Gaucho. Our women ran really well overall. We split our squad and half of us traveled to Pomona Pitzer to compete in the Pomona Pitzer Invitational, and the other half went to Mt. Sac to compete at the Mt. Sac Invitational. This was a very exciting weekend for me personally because I was competing in my first ever steeplechase. I have wanted to do the steeplechase since I was in high school, so I couldn’t wait!
It turned out to be a REALLY good day! I ended up running 10:50, which is a school record and an NCAA Regional qualifier. I was so excited! I was just smiling all day long. Also, regionals is in Eugene, Oregon this year at Hayward Field (the home track of Steve Prefontaine). Running at Hayward has been a life long dream of mine and now it is finally coming true! Also, in the steeplechase, Rebecca Zamolo ran an 11:24, which is a conference qualifier. So, now we will have three Gauchos in the women’s steeplechase at Big West Conference Championships next month.
At Mt. Sac we had four other girls qualify for Regionals in the distance events. Megan Lewis ran 16:51 in the 5k, Lauren Christman ran 4:20 in the 1500, Lindsay Christman ran 4:23 in the 1500, and Cosette Smith ran 4:27 in the 1500. Lauren also set the school record in the 1500. So, overall it was a successful weekend for the UCSB Gauchos. If you would like to see full results from the races you can go to UCSB Track, where you can also find out more information on our program and the other track events.

11 April 2005: Hello!
I want to start this online journal off by saying hello to all the Santa Barbara runners out there! I am going to try to show you what the life of a collegiate runner is like.
My name is Bethany Nickless and I currently am in my second year at UC Santa Barbara. I run cross-country and track at the university. Eligibility wise, I will be a sophomore next cross-country season and am currently a freshman in track. Before I start in on what is happening now, I would like to share a little about how I got here. I am originally from Orange County, Huntington Beach to be exact. I have been athletic all my life. I started playing sports when I was four. My first sport was baseball, which was soon to be followed by soccer and basketball. I played baseball and basketball until I was about eleven or twelve in which time, it just became too much playing three sports at one time and my parents made me choose. I chose soccer. Just before I started high school, I decided I wanted to play tennis and started taking lessons. My freshman year of high school, I played tennis in the fall, soccer in the winter, and off-season field hockey in the spring. I always saw the cross-country team out running and could not believe how much they ran. I thought they were crazy. Little did I know that I would shortly be joining them in their craziness… and enjoying it.
My sophomore year started out just like my first year, until I got to my history class. You see, my teacher was the cross-country and track coach of my high school. When he found out I was a soccer player, he offered me extra credit in his class to come out and try running. Now, history is definitely not my strongest subject, so I jumped on the opportunity to help out my grade. I took him up on his offer and ran my first cross-country race three days later. I ran the Junior Varsity race at Orange County Championships. I was extremely nervous before the race and was really worried about not getting last place… turns out, I finished 2nd with a time of 20:35 for 3 miles. I was so excited. It was so much fun, and I got a medal too!!! So, I decided to stick with running.
My sophomore year, I played tennis and ran cross-country in the fall, played soccer in the winter, and ran track in the spring. After a successful track season my sophomore year, I decided to give up tennis and just focus on running and soccer for my last two years of high school. During cross-country of my junior year, the college recruiting letters started coming in. I did not think too much about it, but I was excited that colleges actually wanted me to run for them. That year I ended up winning our league championship in cross-country and winning CIF in the 2-mile in track. It was at this point that competing at the collegiate level became a reality.
It was then that I also had to decide what sport I was going to play in college. Soccer had been such a huge part of my life for so long, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to give it up. I was, however, not getting any letters for soccer, and decided that I would run because it could financially help more with my education. Having to choose between soccer and running was one of the toughest decisions I had ever made. Little did I know that deciding on a college was going to be a million times harder. I knew immediately that I wanted to stay in California, which helped narrow down my choices. By the time senior year of cross-country ended, I had narrowed my choices down to UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara with Cal State Fullerton as my fallback school in case something happened.
All of soccer season and the beginning of track season was a constant battle. One week I was going to Irvine, the next week I was going to Santa Barbara. The recruit trips only made the decision even tougher. Both coaches were awesome, both teams awesome, both campuses were awesome too. Well, after many sleepless nights, weeks of going back and forth, and praying a lot, I settled on Santa Barbara. There was not one specific thing that stood out in my mind that made me choose one over the other; it was just a feeling. Santa Barbara just felt right to me. So, here I am today… two years later and I could not be happier. It’s definitely been a long journey to get here, but as for the moment, I am just enjoying the ride.
So that is a little bit about how I got to where I am right now. I will be back in a few days with the more interesting stuff; the running part. Thank you for bearing with the rambling. I have never written anything like this before, so I will do my best to keep you all informed of what is going on. If there is anything specific you would like to know about, feel free to contact Jim with your questions and he can relay them to me.

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