Rodríguez and trio of male throwers hit conference standards
Split up between competition at the Randall Cunningham Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev., and the WAR VI in Spokane, Wash., the Eastern Washington University track and field team saw a number of improved marks as well as four more Big Sky Conference qualifying marks Friday and Saturday (April 12-13).
“I like to take a hard look at athletes who really understand what it takes to get to the championships and do so regardless of the conditions,” said head men’s coach Stan Kerr. “I got a good glimpse of that this weekend. They perform like champions and that’s what we expect from them.”
In Las Vegas, Jordan Arakawa, Marlyn Anderson, Zack Nielsen, Jon Buchanan and Emma Murillo each walked away with personal bests.
Arakawa won the hammer throw with a toss of 211-1, a mark that continues to lead the conference. Nielsen (190-1) and Buchanan (184-11) also hit personal-best marks in the event.
“We are immensely proud of that group of hammer throwers,” said Kerr, “it’s great to see them getting it done and they certainly will be a threat at the conference meet.”
Anderson reached an outdoor personal best in the shot put with a winning effort of 56-6 3/4, a mark that now ranks fifth in school history. His father, Bruce, is the current school record holder outdoors as he had a throw of 60-10 1//2 in 1983.
“Marlyn is a guy we’ve had in the program from the start and it’s always outstanding to see our seniors have seasons like his, “said Kerr. “He is such a great supporter to the rest of the team as well and he’s working hard to improve his marks.”
Murillo hit personal bests in both the discus (149-6) and hammer throw (171-10). That mark in the hammer moved her up to sixth all-time at Eastern.
The Eagles also hit a couple season bests at the Randall Cunningham Invite.
Brad Michael ran a time of 47.69 in the 400, placing first overall.
Senior Michelle Coombs got the win in the javelin with a throw of 155-4.
Phil Puccino matched season bests in the high jump (6-6 3/4) and triple jump (47-11 1/4).
At the WAR VI in Spokane, Eastern snatched four more qualifiers for the Big Sky Championships.
Junior Angélica Rodríguez placed second in the 400, running a Big Sky qualifying time of 56.59.
Shaun Lemafa hit a personal best in the hammer, getting off a throw of 175-2 to book his ticket for the conference meet.
Sophomore Max Pratt hit the Big Sky standard in the javelin with a mark of 188-5.
“Both Shaun and Max are younger guys on the team and both are still relatively new to the Big Sky,” said Kerr, “they’ll certainly add some depth to both of those events for us at conference.”
Jaime Alnassim competed at the WWU Ralph Vernacchia Invitational in Bellingham, Wash., and took first in the hammer throw with a conference qualifying mark of 181-7 1/2.
“For Jaime to compete individually and get a qualifying mark is a great testimony to his focus,” said Kerr. “He was clearly able to get it together and punch his ticket to Portland.”
Eastern has now reached 33 qualifying marks on the season with 19 for the men and 14 on the women’s side. The BSC Outdoor Championships will be contested in Portland, Ore., on May 8-11.
The Eagles will head down to California next weekend for two different meets including the prestigious Mt. SAC Relays (April 17-20) and Beach Invitational (April 19-20).
“I love going to Mt. SAC and Long Beach because it is a really great preview of who we will take to the conference meet,” said Kerr, “It will be fantastic to see some of our individuals go up against some of the best athletes in the country.”