Buchanan, Puccino and Stearns each become double qualifiers
The Eastern Washington University track and field team had 11 athletes meet conference standards, with three earning two each to attain a total of 14 Big Sky qualifying marks at the Candy Cane VI Invitational Friday and Saturday (Dec. 6-7) at the Jim Thorpe Fieldhouse in Cheney, Wash.
Nick Stearns kicked off the solid weekend for the Eagles, earning a qualifying score of 4,729 points in his first heptathlon. During the heptathlon, Stearns cleared a height of 15-9 in the pole vault, also a qualifying mark. His best performances came in the vault and 55 hurdles (8.11), as he scored 859 and 806 points in those events. That score ranks fifth all-time at Eastern.
Phil Puccino had marks of 6-8 in the high jump and 46-1 1/2 in the triple jump, punching his ticket to the conference meet.
Eastern got five qualifiers out of the weight throw, as Zack Nielsen (62-3 3/4), Jordan Arakawa (62-3 1/4) and Jon Buchanan (58-10 1/4) finished 1,2,3. Olivia Midles uncorked a personal best of 55-5 3/4 in a winning effort, ranking her seventh in school history and Vania Tauvela was second (53-10 1/2).
Buchanan also qualified in the shot put, getting off a winning toss of 54-5 1/4.
In the women’s pole vault, Keisa Monterola and Courtney Bray each cleared conference-qualifying heights, with Monterola getting a mark of 13-5 1/4 and Bray clearing 12-5 1/2 in her debut. Bray’s mark ranks her seventh all-time at Eastern.
Trenton Osborn leaped a distance of 23-2 in his first meet as an Eagle, meeting the Big Sky standard.
Eastern’s lone qualifier in the running events was Steven Warner, who ran times of 7.61 in the prelims and 7.62 in the finals of the 55-meter hurdles, placing first. His preliminary time moves the senior up to fourth in school history.
The Eagles had 11 event winners at the Candy Cane Invite, with seven on the men’s side and four for the women.
Erika Lombardo (7.53) and Obinna Nnadi (6.62) grabbed wins in the 55-meter dash, while Alex Kimsey (4:29.67) and Sarah Reiter (5:15.54) each led EWU sweeps of the mile.
In dual-team scoring, the Eagle men defeated the Grizzlies 53-38, while the Eastern and Montana women tied 52-52.
The Eagles will take over a month off before they head to Seattle, Wash., to compete at the UW Indoor Preview on Jan. 18.