Eastern grabs seven more qualifying marks at Mt. SAC Relays and Beach Invitational
The Eastern Washington University track and field teams took advantage of some great weather and competitive fields at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., (April 17-19) and Beach Invitational in Norwalk, Calif., (April 18-19) coming away with seven more Big Sky Conference qualifying marks and a handful of personal/seasonal bests.
“The warm weather and high level of competition were embraced by the team,” said head men’s coach Stan Kerr. “They responded with several outstanding performances.”
“I am very excited about the great performances by all event areas this weekend,” said head women’s coach Marcia Mecklenburg, “We are continuing to show how deep of a team we are week by week.”
Sophomore Katie Mahoney highlighted the weekend for the Eagles, re-breaking two school records she set last season. Mahoney ran 10:17.34 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase Friday, placing third in the elite open section at Mt. SAC and breaking her previous school record of 10:21.53. At the Beach Invite Saturday, she placed second in the 1,500 with a time of 4:25.33 to beat her previous record of 4:25.79 and qualify for the Big Sky Championships. She wasn’t done there, as she ran a personal best of 2:12.40 in the 800, nabbing her third Big Sky standard of the season. Mahoney moved up to the No. 2 spot all-time at Eastern, now only trailing school-record holder Katie Ellison (2:11.41, 2000).
Catie Arrigoni also put together a historic performance in the steeplechase, running a personal-best time of 10:33.52 Thursday at Mt. SAC, which continues to rank second in school history behind Mahoney. She became a quadruple Big Sky qualifier on the season after running 4:33.80 to win her heat in the 1,500 at the Beach Invite. That time ranks seventh all-time at Eastern.
Sarah Reiter, Berenice Penaloza and Paula-Gil Echevarria each also added stellar performances for the woman’s distance crew. Reiter and Penaloza ran personal-best times of 17:02.50 and 17:05.71 in the 5,000 Friday at Mt. SAC, moving them to the No. 4 and No. 6 spots all-time at Eastern.
Gil-Echevarria ran 4:34.11 in the 1,500 at Mt. SAC, just missing the Big Sky standard and ranking eighth all-time behind Arrigoni. The freshman out of Spain followed up by running 10:42.75 in her debut steeplechase race at the Beach Invite, qualifying for the Big Sky meet. Gil-Echevarria joins Mahoney and Arrigoni as just the third female Eagle to break the 11-minute mark in the event.
“Our distance crew was incredible this weekend,” said Mecklenburg. “Katie led yet another strong showing by those ladies."
In other action Friday, Brad Michael ran a seasonal-best time of 47.85 in the 400 at Mt. SAC.
Kramer Green clocked a time of 54.88 in the 400-meter hurdles, meeting the Big Sky standard in the event.
Nick Stearns also hit a conference qualifying mark Friday, clearing 15-11 in the pole vault.
Kelsie Forcier continued her breakout-freshman season, getting off a personal best of 185-2 in the hammer throw at the Beach Invite to place second overall. That mark ranks third in school history.
“For the third week in a row, Kelsie threw a personal best in the hammer and now has a legitimate shot a qualifying for the NCAA preliminary round,” said Mecklenburg.
Competing in an elite section of the hammer throw Saturday at Mt. SAC, Jordan Arakawa had a toss of 209-10.
Saturday in Norwalk, Courtney Bray cleared a personal best of 12-11 3/4 in the pole vault, moving the freshman up to fourth all-time at Eastern.
“Courtney established herself as a contender for the Big Sky title with that performance,” said Mecklenburg,
Morgan Romey became a double qualifier on the season, as she had a throw of 142-11 in the discus.
Zack Nielsen uncorked a personal best of 170-2 in the discus, moving him to 10th in school history.
Freshman Samantha Baker, who met the qualifying standard last weekend at Eastern’s home meet, had a collegiate-best toss of 140-5 in the javelin.
Angelica Rodriguez and Leiran Cornish each ran seasonal-best times of 57.31 and 57.43 in the 400. They joined Whitney Leavitt and Brooke Monson in the 4x400 relay, running a time of 3:51.32 to place third and rank sixth all-time at Eastern.
“The women’s 400 runners are steadily dropping their times and it is not only helping their individual races but also our 1,600 relay,” said Mecklenburg.
Michael and Green teamed up with Collin Green and Austin Upmeyer to run a seasonal best of 3:14.06 in the 4x400 relay, capping the meet for Eastern with a win.
“The 4x400 relays put an exclamation on a long, but stellar day of competition for us,” said Kerr.
Eastern now has 38 conference qualifying marks on the season, with 25 for the women and 13 for the men. The Big Sky Outdoor Championships are just under a month away on May 14-17 in Flagstaff, Ariz.
The Eagles will remain close to home next weekend, as they will compete at the Duane Hartman Invitational in Spokane, Wash., on April 25-26.
“These two meets will pay us back come conference time as the experiences here put you in a position to see how you stack up against other top collegians,” said Kerr.