February 11, 2014

Eagles Have Last Chance to Qualify at Prestigious Husky Classic

Eastern set to compete against some of the best in the nation in last meet prior to Big Sky Championships

The Eastern Washington University track and field teams will have their last opportunity to meet Big Sky Conference standards this weekend as they head back to Seattle, Wash., for the UW Husky Classic on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 13-14) at the Dempsey Indoor.

“The level of talent and competition the Husky Classic brings in is outstanding,” said head men’s coach Stan Kerr. “It gives our athletes a chance to go toe-to-toe with some of the best in the country, which should lend to some terrific performances.”

Out of each of the meets the University of Washington hosts, the Husky Classic has the most caliber by far as fields are mainly limited to Division I competitors. It is widely considered as the most highly competitive and heavily attended competitions of the entire collegiate indoor season. Several high-end programs from some of the top conferences in the nation will be in attendance. Eastern will also get a good glimpse of several Big Sky schools at the competition.

“I’m hoping Sac State is there because they’re one of the strongest and deepest teams in the Big Sky,” said head women’s coach Mecklenburg. “It’s a good opportunity for our athletes to see where they fit in with other schools from the conference.”

With the Big Sky Championships just a few weeks away, the Eagles will look for more competitors to book their tickets to the meet, whether that is through hitting a conference qualifying mark or solidifying themselves in the top 16 on the conference performance lists.

Eastern has 26 qualifying marks on the season, with 14 for the men and 12 for the women. Additionally, there are 19 EWU men and 16 women who currently rank in the top 16 of their respective events. Several athletes are also on the bubble of cracking into that top 16.

“I really feel like we have potential in all of the event areas that are knocking on the door of qualifying marks,” said Mecklenburg. “I know they’re ready to do it, they just need to bring it.”

Friday’s action begins at 4:00 p.m. in Seattle and will include the distance-medley relays, 5,000’s, 200’s, weight throws and B sections of the pole vault. The remainder of the events will be contested Friday starting at 9:00 a.m. Live Results as well as a live video coverage of the event will be available. The Husky Classic will conclude the regular season for the Eagles, as the Big Sky Indoor Championships will be held two weeks later in Pocatello, Idaho, on Feb. 27- March 1.

“While this is our last opportunity to put up marks, it may not be the last for other teams in the conference,” said Mecklenburg. “So we’re going in knowing we need to do something big at this meet.”

Men’s Qualifiers/Records

Big Sky Championships – Feb. 27- Mar. 1– Pocatello, Idaho
NCAA Championships – Mar. 14-15 – Albuquerque, N.M.
School Records Broken: None
Total Big Sky Championships Qualifying Marks Attained: 14 (New: One – Michael 200)

Nick Stearns
– Pole Vault – 16-2 3/4 – Pahrump, Nev. (Pahrump Valley HS ’11)
Nick Stearns – Heptathlon – 4,729 – Pahrump, Nev. (Pahrump Valley HS ’11)
Jon Buchanan – Shot Put – 56-3 – Yakima, Wash. (East Valley HS ’09)
Trenton Osborn – Long Jump – 23-2 – East Wenatchee, Wash. (Eastmont HS ’13)
Phil Puccino – High Jump – 6-8 – Tacoma, Wash. (Steilacoom HS ‘10/Coffeyville CC)
Steven Warner – 60 hurdles – 8.10 – Kent, Wash. (Kentwood HS ’09)
Phil Puccino – Triple Jump – 47-0 1/4 – Tacoma, Wash. (Steilacoom HS ‘10/Coffeyville CC)
Zack Nielsen – Weight Throw – 63-0 1/4 – Renton, Wash. (Lindbergh HS ’09)
Jordan Arakawa – Weight Throw – 66-1 – Olympia, Wash. (Capital HS ’10)
Jon Buchanan – Weight Throw – 58-10 1/4 – Yakima, Wash. (East Valley HS ’09)
Shaun Lemafa – Weight Throw – 57-7 3/4– Auburn, Wash. (Auburn HS ‘09/Clackamas CC)
Brad Michael – 400 meters – 48.78 – Vancouver, Wash. (Skyview HS ’11)
Phil Puccino – Long Jump – 23-4 – Tacoma, Wash. (Steilacoom HS ‘10/Coffeyville CC)
Brad Michael – 200 meters – 22.02               - Vancouver, Wash. (Skyview HS ’11)

Women’s Qualifiers/Records

Big Sky Championships – Feb. 27- Mar. 1– Pocatello, Idaho
NCAA Championships – Mar. 14-15 – Albuquerque, N.M.
School Records Broken: None
Total Big Sky Championships Qualifying Marks Attained: 12 (New: None)

Olivia Midles – Weight Throw – 55-5 3/4 – Olympia, Wash. (Capital HS ’10)
Vania Tauvela – Weight Throw – 56-6 3/4 – Orting, Wash. (Orting HS ’09)
Keisa Monterola – Pole Vault – 13-5 1/4 – Caracus, Venezuela (Licro Caracas HS ‘06/Clackamas CC)
Courtney Bray – Pole Vault – 12-5 1/2 – Mead, Wash. (Mt. Spokane HS ’13)
Paula Gil-Echevarria – Mile – 4:58.92 – Madrid, Spain
Morena Mannucci – Triple Jump – 37-10 1/2 – Rome, Italy (Anco Marzio HS ’10)
Emma Murillo – Weight Throw – 55-2 – Kennewick, Wash. (Southridge HS ’10)
Sarah Reiter – 5,000 meters – 17:26.65 – Renton, Wash. (Lindbergh HS ‘12/Montana State)
Sarah Reiter – 3,000 meters – (Cross-Qualified in 5,000) – Renton, Wash. (Lindbergh HS ‘12/Montana State)
Berenice Penaloza – 5,000 meters – 17:30.04 – Yakima, Wash. (Eisenhower HS ’11)
Berenice Penaloza – 3,000 meters – (Cross-Qualified in 5,000)  – Yakima, Wash. (Eisenhower HS ’11)
Morgan Romey – Shot Put – 44-6 – Mica, Wash. (Freeman HS ’11)

RETURNING ALL-BIG SKY ATHLETES

The following Eagle athletes have earned All-Big Sky Conference honors (top three finish) in previous Big Sky Conference track and field championships (indoors and outdoors):

Jon Buchanan – (2011 Indoors: 3rd in shot put)
Brad Michael – (2013 Outdoors: 3rd in 400; 2013 Indoors: 2nd in 400;2012 Outdoors: 3rd in 400; 2012 Indoors: 2nd in 400, 3rd in 200)
Zack Nielsen – (2012 Indoors: 3rd in weight throw)
Phil Puccino – (2013 Outdoors: 2nd in triple jump; 2012 Indoors: 3rd in triple jump)
Nick Stearns – (2013 Outdoors: 2nd in pole vault; 2012 Indoors: 3rd in pole vault)
Steven Warner (2012 Outdoors: 3rd in 110 hurdles; 2012 Indoors: Champion in 60 hurdles)
4x400 Relay (2013 Outdoors: 2nd/Kramer Green, Nick Olsson, Brad Michael, Brad Wall; 2012 Indoors: Champion/Collin Green, Michael Okoro, Brad Michael, Brad Wall; 2011 Outdoors: 3rd/Michael Okoro, Kramer Green, Collin Green, Brad Wall)
Jordan Arakawa – (2013 Indoors: 2nd in weight throw)
Joey Payne – (2013 Outdoors: 2nd in javelin)

Keisa Monterola  - (2013 Outdoors: Champion in pole vault; 2012 Outdoors: Champion in pole vault; 2012 Indoors: Champion in pole vault)
Olivia Midles – (2013 Outdoors: 2nd in hammer throw; 2011 Outdoors: 2nd in hammer throw)
Robin Taylor – (2013 Outdoors: 2nd in pole vault; 2012 Outdoors: 2nd in pole vault)
4x400 Relay – (2012 Indoors: 2nd/Whitney Leavitt, Nicole Nida, Angelica Rodriguez, Chelsea Lawhead)
Emma Murillo – (2013 Outdoors: 3rd in hammer throw; 2013 Indoors: 3rd in weight throw)
Katie Mahoney – (2013 Outdoors: 2nd in 3,000 steeplechase)

SEASON NOTES

Big Sky Conference Preseason Polls  Voting is calculated with each team receiving 11 points for a first place vote, 10 points for a second place vote, etc. Coaches are allowed to vote for their respective teams. Below are the final results with the number of first place votes in parenthesis.

Men's Poll 

Team, Points
Northern Arizona, 120 – (10 first-place votes)
Weber State, 98
Sacramento State, 94
Montana State, 90
Southern Utah, 70
Eastern Washington, 67
Montana, 61 (one first-place vote)
Idaho State, 57
North Dakota, 26
Portland State, 23
Northern Colorado, 20

Women's Poll 

Team, Points
Sacramento State, 113 – (six first-place votes)
Northern Arizona, 99 (one first-place vote)
Weber State, 95 (three first-place votes)
Portland State, 79 (one first-place vote)
Montana State, 76
Montana, 64
Idaho State, 60
Southern Utah, 59
Eastern Washington, 46
Northern Colorado, 20
North Dakota, 15

NATIONALLY-RANKED EAGLES – Eastern has five athletes sitting in the top 100 nationally (Division I). Keisa Monterola ranks 25th in the pole vault (13-5 1/2). On the men’s side, Jordan Arakawa ranks 26th in the weight throw (66-1) and Zack Nielsen sits 58th (63-0 1/4). Nick Stearns is 97thin the heptathlon (4,753) and Jon Buchanan ranks 91st in the shot put (56-3).

BIG SKY LEADERS – Eastern currently leads the Big Sky in two events on the season: Jordan Arakawa in the weight throw (66-1) and Keisa Monterola in the pole vault (13-5 1/4).

REGIONALLY-RANKED – In the latest USTFCCCA NCAA Division I Rankings by Region (Week #3), EWU’s men are ranked 11th in the West Region, while the Eagle Women are 15th.

TOP SEASON PERFORMANCES

Men

Nick Stearns – Jumps/Multi.  – Pahrump, Nev. (Pahrump Valley HS ’11)
Stearns competed in his first career heptathlon and finished in great fashion, qualifying for the Big Sky Championships with a score of 4,729 at the Candy Cane VI Invite to rank fifth in school history. His top scoring event was the pole vault in which he had a clearance of 15-9, also hitting a conference standard. Stearns’ next best scoring event was the 55 hurdles, running 8.11 for 806 points. At the Ed Jacoby Invitational, Stearns cleared an indoor personal best of 16-2 3/4 in the pole vault during the heptathlon competition.

Jon Buchanan – Throws – Yakima, Wash. (East Valley HS ’09)
Buchanan uncorked a personal best of 56-3 in the shot put at the Vandal Indoor, placing second overall. He also had a qualifying toss of 58-10 1/4 in the weight throw at the Candy Cane VI, placing third and completing a 1, 2, 3 sweep in the event for Eastern. Those marks rank Buchanan seventh in the shot put and 10th in the weight throw all-time at Eastern.

Phil Puccino – Jumps – Tacoma, Wash. (Steilacoom HS ‘10/Coffeyville CC)
Puccino has qualified in the triple, long and high jump this season. He cleared the bar at 6-8 to place second at the Candy Cane VI. At the Ed Jacoby Invitational, Puccino leaped a personal-best distance of 23-4 in the long jump. The male jumps captain also had a seasonal best mark of 47-0 1/4 in the triple jump at the Ed Jacoby Invite. He ranks first in the long jump and second in the triple amongst the Big Sky with those marks.

Zack Nielsen – Throws – Renton, Wash. (Lindbergh HS ’09)
Nielsen uncorked a personal-best toss of 62-3 3/4 in the weight throw at the Candy Cane VI, placing first and edging teammate Jordan Arakawa by half an inch. The mark preserved Nielsen’s meet record and also booked his ticket to the conference meet.

Steven Warner – Hurdles/Sprints – Kent, Wash. (Kentwood HS ’09)
Warner qualified for the Big Sky Championships in the 55-meter hurdles, running a personal best of 7.61 in the prelims and 7.63 in the finals to place first at the Candy Cane VI Invite. His preliminary time moved the senior up to fourth in school history. Warner ran a season-best time of 8.10 in the 60-meter hurdles at the Ed Jacoby Invitational, placing second by .01 seconds and inching closer to his school record of 8.07 set in 2012 when he won the Big Sky Indoor title in the event.

Jordan Arakawa – Throws – Olympia, Wash. (Capital HS ’10)
Going into the Ed Jacoby Invitational with a seasonal best of 62-3 1/4, Arakawa launched a personal-best toss of 66-1, placing first overall. The junior moved atop the conference with that mark and was also named Big Sky men’s field Athlete of the Week for that performance. Arakawa was second in the weight and hammer throw last season at the Big Sky indoor and outdoor meets and ranks second in school history in both events.

Trenton Osborn – Jumps – East Wenatchee, Wash. (Eastmont HS ’13)
In his debut as an Eagle, Osborn leaped a winning distance of 23-2 in the long jump at the Candy Cane VI, qualifying the freshman for his first Big Sky Championships. At the Idaho Collegiate, Osborn had a mark of 23-0 1/2 on his last attempt, edging the runner-up by half an inch.

Shaun Lemafa – Throws  - Auburn, Wash. (Auburn HS ‘09/Clackamas CC)
Lemafa eclipsed the Big Sky standard in the weight throw at the Idaho Collegiate, getting off a toss of 56-4 to place fourth overall. He improved on that mark with a throw of 57-7 3/4 at the Vandal Indoor, placing fifth.

Brad Michael – Sprints – Vancouver, Wash. (Skyview HS ’11)
Michael has qualified in both the 400 and 200 on the season. He recorded seasonal bests of 22.02 (200) and 48.78 (400) at the Vandal Indoor. The junior is coming off of two straight second-place finishes indoors in the 400.

Women

Keisa Monterola – Pole Vault – Caracus, Venezuela (Licro Caracas HS ‘06/Clackamas CC)
Monterola, who is competing in her final indoor season at EWU, cleared a height of 13-5 1/4 in the pole vault at the Candy Cane VI to win the event and qualify for the conference meet. The three-time Big Sky Champion matched that mark at the UW Indoor Preview for a second-place finish. Monterola has claimed Big Sky Field Athlete of the Week honors for each of those performances.

Courtney Bray – Pole Vault – Mead, Wash. (Mt. Spokane HS ’13)
Competing for the first time as an Eagle, Bray had a runner-up finish behind EWU teammate Keisa Monterola in the pole vault at the Candy Cane VI Invite, clearing the bar at 12-5 1/2 to nab her first career Big Sky qualifying mark. That clearance ranks the freshman seventh all-time at Eastern. She matched that seasonal best at the Runner’s Soul Open, placing third.

Olivia Midles – Throws – Olympia, Wash. (Capital HS ’10)
Midles launched a personal best of 55-5 3/4 in the weight throw at the Candy Cane VI Invite, placing first and qualifying the junior for the Big Sky meet. That mark also moves Midles up to seventh in school history.

Vania Tauvela – Throws – Orting, Wash. (Orting HS ’09)
Tauvela, who qualified for the conference meet at the opening Candy Cane VI, got off a seasonal best of 56-6 3/4 in the weight throw at the Runner’s Soul Open. She is coming off of two straight fourth-place finishes in the weight at the Big Sky indoor meet and her mark of 58-8 1/2 ranks third in school history

Paula Gil-Echevarria – Distance – Madrid, Spain
Competing in her first indoor meet for the Eagles, Gil-Echevarria ran a time of 4:59.48 in the mile at the UW Indoor Preview to qualify for the Big Sky Championships and also put the Spain-native third all-time at Eastern. Gil-Echevarria also clocked a time of 2:17.35 in the 800 at the Idaho Collegiate, ranking her ninth in school history. She improved on her mile time at the UW Invitational with an effort of 4:58.92.

Morena Mannucci – Jumps – Rome, Italy (Anco Marzio HS ’10)
Mannucci booked her ticket to the conference meet with a leap of 37-10 in the triple jump at the UW Indoor Preview. The Italian-native ranks fourth in school history with a jump of 38-6 1/2.

Sarah Reiter – Distance – Renton, Wash. (Lindbergh HS ’12)
At the UW Invitational, Reiter ran a time of 17:26.65 in the 5,000 to rank second in school history only behind Eagle legend Kari McKay (16:35.08, ‘92). That time also cross-qualifies her for both the 5,000 and the 3,000 at the Big Sky Indoor Championships. Reiter won her heat in the 3,000 at the UW Indoor Preview, clocking a time of 10:07.96 to rank fifth in school history.

Emma Murillo – Throws – Kennewick Wash. (Southridge HS ’10)
After flirting with the Big Sky qualifying mark in previous two meets, Murillo launched a throw of 55-2 in the weight throw at the Idaho Collegiate to book her ticket to the Big Sky Championships.

Berenice Penaloza – Distance – Yakima, Wash. (Eisenhower HS’11)
Penaloza ran a time of 17:30.04 in the 5,000 at the UW Invitational, ranking the women’s distance captain fourth all-time at Eastern. That time also cross-qualifies her for both the 3,000 and 5,000 at the conference meet.

Morgan Romey – Throws – Mica, Wash. (Freeman HS ’11)
Romey qualified for the Big Sky Championships in the shot put after getting off a toss of 44-6 at the Ed Jacoby Invitational.

Jozie Kimes – Jumps/Multi. – Cashmere, Wash. (Cashmere HS ’12)
Kimes recorded a new-personal best score of 3,279 in the pentathlon, placing fifth and moving the sophomore up to third all-time at Eastern. She was also just 21 points off of meeting the Big Sky standard of 3,300. Kimes’ best event in the pentathlon was the high jump, in which she cleared 5-4 1/4 (771 points), setting a new personal best and also coming within less than an inch of the Big Sky qualifying mark of 5-5 for the open high jump.

LINKS

2013-14 Track & Field Online Guide: http://goeags.com/sports/c-track/onlineguide
EWU Track and Field - http://goeags.com/sports/c-track/index
Big Sky Indoor Track and Field – http://bigskyconf.com/index.aspx?path=itf&
NCAA Track and Field - http://www.ncaa.com
TFRRS- Track & Field Results Reporting System - http://www.tfrrs.org
USTFCCCA- U.S. Track & Field & Cross Country Coaches Association - http://www.ustfccca.org/

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