Five Eagles Nab Qualifying Marks, Several Hit Seasonal Bests in Nampa/Seattle


Reiter, Penaloza and Kimes make marks in the EWU record books

The Eastern Washington University track and field teams grabbed seven more Big Sky Conference qualifying marks and numerous athletes hit personal or seasonal bests at the Ed Jacoby Invitational in Nampa, Idaho, and the UW Invitational in Seattle, Wash., on Friday (Jan. 31) and Saturday (Feb. 1).

“We had terrific individual efforts across the board that highlighted a solid weekend for us,” said head men’s coach Stan Kerr. “We also experienced a level of competition and a venue that will pay good dividends as we draw nearer to the conference meet.”

“It was important to get to Boise so the sprinters could have some experience in running on a banked-board track,” said head women’s coach Marcia Mecklenburg. “Keeping that in mind, the meet was a great success.”

Sarah Reiter and Berenice Penaloza ran times of 17:26.65 and 17:30.04 in the 5,000 at the UW Invite, moving them up to second and fourth in school history, respectively. Those times also cross-qualify Reiter and Penaloza for both the 5,000 and 3,000 at the Big Sky Championships.

“Our Seattle group of distance runners had some fantastic races,” said Mecklenburg. “We have a solid distance crew and their races each week are proving it.”

Jordan Arakawa launched a personal-best toss of 66-1 in the weight throw at the Ed Jacoby Invite, a mark that continues to rank second in school history only behind school-record holder David Paul, who had a throw of 68-8 1/2 in 2007. Zack Nielsen had a throw of 61-9, completing another 1-2 sweep for the Eastern duo this season.

“Jordan continues to put together outstanding performances week-by-week,” said Kerr. “That mark certainly shows implications of competing at the Division I Championships.”

Jozie 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.

“Jozie increased her personal record by over 350 points, which is a huge improvement,” said Mecklenburg. “That was the performances of the meet for us in Boise.”

Nick Stearns won the pole vault Friday, clearing a height of 15-11. He also competed in the heptathlon, recording a score of 4,529. During the heptathlon competition, Stearns vaulted an indoor-personal best of 16-2 3/4 to earn 895 points in the event.

On Saturday, Phil Puccino leaped a personal-best of 23-4 in the long jump, qualifying him for the Big Sky Championships. He also had an indoor-personal best mark of 47-0 1/4 in the triple jump, placing third. The male jumps captain has now qualified in the long, triple and high jump on the season.

Brad Michael qualified for the Big Sky Championships in the 400, running a time of 48.95 to place fourth. Austin Upmeyer ran a seasonal best of 49.75 in the event.

Morgan Romey had a throw of 44-6 in the shot put, booking her ticket to the conference meet.

“Morgan continues to improve each week which we need her to do,” said Mecklenburg.

Steven Warner ran a seasonal-best time of 8.10 in the 60-meter hurdles, placing second and just being edged by Gunnar Nixon of Chula Vista OTC (8.09). The senior out of Kent, Wash., inched closer to improving his school record of 8.07.

Kyle Caviezel hit a personal-best time of 7.15 in the 60-meter dash, advancing to finals where he placed eighth with a time of 7.18.

In Saturday’s action in Seattle, Paula Gil-Echevarria improved on her seasonal best in the mile with a time of 4:58.92 to place fourth overall, a time that continues to rank third in school history. Stephen Bottoms won his heat in the mile with a time of 4:17.75.

“Paula dropped her mile time by a second and I am sensing there is even more left in the tank,” said Mecklenburg.

Eastern has now collected 25 Big Sky qualifying marks on the season, with 13 for the men and 12 for the women. The Big Sky Indoor Championships are less than a month away on Feb. 27-Mar. 1 in Pocatello, Idaho.

“I’m very proud of the team’s effort today,” said Kerr. “It’s exciting to see their potential unfold in a good competition.”

The Eagles will head back to Moscow, Idaho next weekend for two meets, including the Vandal Indoor (Feb. 7) and Vandal Open (Feb. 8) hosted by the University of Idaho.

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