Eastern Caps Regular Season with Strong Big Sky Tune-Up in Seattle


Eagles grab one more qualifying mark, shake up record books at Husky Classic

The Eastern Washington University track and field teams closed the regular season Friday and Saturday (Feb. 14-15) at the Husky Classic in Seattle, Wash., grabbing their 27th Big Sky qualifying mark and putting together several strong performances to springboard momentum into the Indoor Conference Championships.

“Overall I was pleased with the team’s effort,” said head men’s coach Stan Kerr. “They started strong and stayed that way through two long days of competition.”

In Friday’s action, Erin Clark qualified in the pole vault, clearing a personal-best height of 12-0 and moving her up to ninth all-time at Eastern.

“Erin is a walk-on from Cheney and put together a great meet when we needed it most,” said head women’s coach Marcia Mecklenburg. “That also adds some solid depth to one of our best events.”

Zack Nielsen (63-1 ¼, fourth) and Jon Buchanan (60-7 ¼, ninth) each had personal bests in the weight throw. Jordan Arakawa had a throw of 61-9 ¾ to place seventh. With that mark, Buchanan joins Nielsen, Arakawa and three former Eagles as the sixth to eclipse the 60-foot plateau in the event. Buchanan also had a throw of 55-5 3/4 in the shot put Saturday, placing fifth.

“Our throwers continue to put together performances that exemplify excellence in Eastern Athletics,” said Kerr. “I know they’ll be looking to do so again at the Championships in two weeks.”

Catie Arrigoni ran a time of 17:41.97 in the 5,000, just barely missing the Big Sky standard (17:40), but now ranking her fifth in school history.

Vania Tauvela (58-7 ½) and Emma Murillo (55-7 ¾) each had seasonal bests in the weight throw, placing sixth and ninth, respectively. Tauvela inched closer to her personal best of 58-8 ½ that ranks third all-time at Eastern.

Steven Kutsch, Duane Dahl, Quin Olivas and Stephen Bottoms teamed up in the distance medley relay and ran a time of 10:17.46, placing sixth overall and also ranking sixth in school history.

On Saturday, Sarah Reiter (10:00.57) and Berenice Penaloza (10:07.83) each ran personal bests in the 3,000. That moves Reiter up to third all-time at Eastern, while Penaloza jumped up to sixth, respectively.

“I continue to be impressed with Coach Zeller’s distance crew,” said Mecklenburg. “Our distance runners have improved their times at each UW meet and made big jumps on the EWU all-time lists.”

In the 60-meter hurdles, Steven Warner ran times of 8.24 (prelims) and 8.17 (finals) to place fourth overall.

Freshman Paula Gil-Echevarria ran a personal-best time of 4:54.78 in the mile, finishing just milliseconds off of Caitlin Prunty’s school record of 4:54.67 set in 2004.

“Paula’s near-school record was the highlight of the meet,” said Mecklenburg. “For her to be inching so close to it as a freshman is outstanding.”

Trenton Osborn had a mark of 23-2 ½ in the long jump, beating his previous collegiate best by half an inch and placing fifth overall.

Competing in the invite section of the 400, Brad Michael clocked a seasonal-best time of 48.12 to place third in his heat and fourth overall. In the open section, Austin Upmeyer (49.71) and Kramer Green (49.83) each hit indoor-personal bests.

“The sprint/hurdle crew competed great as well with Steven and Brad showing why they are contenders for conference titles in Pocatello,” said Kerr.

Angelica Rodriguez ran a seasonal-best time of 58.02 in the 400, placing fourth in her heat and 22nd overall in a competitive field. Janessa Day ran her second-best time of the season, clocking 58.59.

“Angelica and Janessa have been very consistent and continue to chip down on their times,” said Mecklenburg.

Keisa Monterola finished third in the pole vault, clearing a height of 12-11 ¾.

Andrew Morgan cleared a collegiate-best height of 6-4 ¾ in the high jump, but just came short of hitting the Big Sky standard of 6-6 ¾.

Morena Mannucci leaped a seasonal-best of 38-11/4 in the triple jump, moving closer to her indoor personal best of 38-6 ½. Phil Puccino had a mark of 46-4.

“Our distance team and jumpers contributed to the cause with the DMR putting together a top-10 mark and Phil with his steadfast showings in the triple jump,” said Kerr.

Eastern finishes the regular season with 27 Big Sky standards met, including 14 for the men and 13 for the women. Athletes can also make it to the conference meet by sitting in the top 16 in their respective events, and will await results from around the conference this weekend and next weekend to learn their fate.

In just over a week, the Eagles will make the bus venture over to Pocatello, Idaho, for the Big Sky Indoor Championships, which will be contested Feb. 27-March 1 and hosted by Idaho State in Holt Arena.

“Our team balance is taking shape at the right time,” said Kerr. “I look forward to preparing for the Conference Championships at month’s end.”

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