Eagles Meet Four Big Sky Standards, Win 15 Events in Spokane

Eastern increases Big Sky qualifying mark total to 43 on the season

Competing near home in Spokane, Wash., the Eastern Washington University track and field teams grabbed four more Big Sky Conference qualifying marks, won 15 events and hit several personal/seasonal bests at the Duane Hartman Invitational Friday and Saturday (April 25-26) at Spokane Falls Community College.

“This meet reminded me of the scout motto ‘be prepared’. We knew going into the meet the field sizes were not as deep as some of the meets we’ve been to,” said head men’s coach Stan Kerr. “None-the-less, I felt our teams were prepared to compete hard with anything that came in their way.”

In Friday’s action, Katie Mahoney won the 5,000 with a time of 16:45.92, moving her up to third all-time behind Camille Moseley (16:44.09, 2008) and school-record holder Mattie Bridgmon (16:33.60, 2008). That time also cross-qualifies Mahoney for the 5,000 and 10,000 at the Big Sky Championships. The sophomore is now qualified in all five distance events (800, 1500, 3000-meter steeplechase, 5K, 10K) on the season, a feat she also accomplished last year. Mahoney additionally ran away with a win in the 800, clocking a time of 2:14.01.

In the hammer throw, Jordan Arakawa had a toss of 210-1 to place first. Zack Nielsen was second with a throw of 198-7.

“Our throwers’ consistency once again led the way for our teams today,” said Kerr. “It’s exciting to see our group put up strong performances as we near the Big Sky Championships.”

In the women’s hammer, Olivia Midles (184-3, first), Emma Murillo (179-1, second), Kelsie Forcier (176-10, third) and Vania Tauvela (170-3, fourth) grabbed the top four spots in the event. That throw for Tauvela was a personal best and moved her up to 10th in school history. 

On Saturday, Jozie Kimes won the 400 hurdles, clocking a personal-best time of 1:03.38 and qualifying for the Big Sky meet. That moves Kimes up to ninth all-time at Eastern. That also marked the second-straight week the sophomore has hit a qualifying mark in Spokane, as she also hit the conference standard in the heptathlon at the Spokane Multi 2014 meet on April 15-16. Her hep score of 4,429 ranks fifth in school history. 

"Jozie ran an excellent race, she is really coming on at the right time of the season," said head women's coach Marcia Mecklenburg.

Freshman Austin Upmeyer hit a conference standard in the 400, running 49.03 and placing second. Senior Collin Green was third with a seasonal-best time of 49.82.

Angélica Rodríguez won the 400 with a season best of 56.73, but just missed the Big Sky mark of 56.70. Brooke Monson placed second with a personal-best time of 57.27.

"As an event area I would have to say our sprinters/hurdlers ruled the day," said Mecklenburg. "Angelica and Brooke are both moving up on the Big Sky list."

Courtney Bray cleared another personal-best height of 13-1 1/2 in the pole vault, tying for first with her former teammate Keisa Monterola. That mark continues to rank fourth in school history. 

Samantha Baker threw a collegiate best of 145-2 in the javelin, placing second and just coming short of cracking the top 10 all-time at Eastern.

Quin Olivas placed fourth in the 800, hitting a personal-best time of 1:55.10.

Eastern racked up 15 event wins over the weekend, with the women earning 12 and the men getting three. 

Upmeyer (200, 22.67), Jon Buchanan (shot put, 54-7 1/4), Whitney Leavitt (100-12.58, 200-25.58), Sarah Reiter (1500, 4:41.20), Brooklyn Bellomy (high jump, 5-1 3/4) and Morgan Romey (shot put, 45-5) each grabbed wins in their respective events. The women’s 4x100 relay comprised of Leavitt, Monson, Paige Hammock and Erika Lombardo also placed first with a time of 47.64.

The Eagles have totaled up 43 Big Sky qualifying marks on the season, with 29 for the women and 14 on the men’s side. The Big Sky Outdoor Championships will be contested on May 14-17 in Flagstaff, Ariz.

Eastern will head to Corvallis, Ore., for the first time next weekend to compete in the Oregon State High Performance Meet on May 2. It will be the second-to-last opportunity for the Eagles to hit conference standards.

"As is our expectation, individual athletes in all event areas continue to improve," said Mecklenburg. "Hopefully we can keep that trend going through the Big Sky meet."

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