Eastern Continues Indoor Season at UW Preview

Eagles look to add to list of 14 Big Sky qualifying marks in Seattle

After hitting pause on the indoor season for over a month, the Eastern Washington University track and field teams will look to pick up where they left off as they compete at the UW Indoor Preview Saturday (Jan. 18) in Seattle, Wash.

“This is an opportunity for our athletes to get back into it and get some more marks,” said head women’s coach Marcia Mecklenburg, “It’s a meet that we train through, but even with that I think there’s a great chance of our athletes to get some conference qualifying marks.”

The meet is hosted by the University of Washington and held at the Dempsey indoor facility, a venue that often brings in a wide range of talent.

“We always go into meets looking for qualifying marks, but we also have a big freshmen class who will get their initiation to a high level meet,” said head men’s coach Stan Kerr. “We’ll also be taking some veterans that know this is a great facility that lends itself to great competition.”

The Eagles capped 2013 with a bang at the Candy Cane VI Invite on Dec. 6-7, nabbing 14 qualifying standards for the Big Sky Championships on Feb.27-Mar. 1 in Pocatello, Idaho. Both Kerr and Mecklenburg plan to see their athletes springboard off that effort and increase those numbers this weekend.

In a Big Sky coaches’ poll that was released last week, the Eagle men were selected to finish sixth at the conference championships while the women were picked ninth.

“I think it’s a good sign that we’re picked so far down because we always do better than they have us ranked,” Mecklenburg said, “In one sense it’s disappointing, but we just have to keep proving them wrong.”

While the Candy Cane VI gave most EWU field athletes their first chance at hitting marks in their strongest events, the UW Indoor Preview will give several runners and sprinters their first crack in their marquee events other than the mile, 55 dash and 55 hurdles.

“One of the big reasons we go to the University of Washington is because it’s at sea level and that is huge for our distance runners,” said Mecklenburg. “The distance events are always really stacked, so our runners will get to compete in some strong fields.”

Brad Michael, EWU’s indoor school-record holder and four-time all-conference performer in the 400,  will make his season debut in the event. Freshman Austin Upmeyer will join Michael in the 400

“Brad is already a legitimate contender for the conference championship, but a solid mark this weekend would get him in a great frame of mind and move him towards the conference meet,” said Kerr.

Angelica Rodriguez along with newcomers Janessa Day and Paige Monson will look to show Eastern’s depth in the quarter mile.

In the distance events, Chris Schroll and newcomers Alex Kimsey and Austin Oser are scheduled to compete in the 3,000. Stephen Bottoms and Steven Kutsch will run the mile.

Sarah Reiter, Mayra Chavez, Berenice Penaloza and Catie Arrigoni will be taking on the 3,000, while Paula Gil-Echevarria and Katie Lynch are entered in the mile.

In the field events, Senior Robin Taylor will make her season debut in the pole vault.

“The women’s vault is definitely the strength of the team right now,” said Mecklenburg. “Robin has done very well for us in the past so it will be interesting to see where she fits in. “

Running events will begin at 8:00 a.m. with the 3,000-meter run, while the field events will start at 9:00 a.m. with the pole vault and long jump. More meet information and live stats are available at this link: http://www.gohuskies.com/SportSelect.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=30200&SPID=126618&SPSID=777712&DB_OEM_ID=30200

“The depth of the competition at this meet is a really big attraction,” said Kerr. “There will be a lot of great Division I teams and fields and our athletes know they can post a really good mark early in the season and continue to work on their technical development.”

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: 10

Nick Stearns
– Pole Vault – 15-9 – Pahrump, Nev. (Pahrump Valley HS ’11)
Nick Stearns – Heptathlon – 4,729 – Pahrump, Nev. (Pahrump Valley HS ’11)
Jon Buchanan – Shot Put – 54-5 1/4 – 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 – 55 hurdles – 7.61 – Kent, Wash. (Kentwood HS ’09)
Phil Puccino – Triple Jump – 46-1 1/2 – Tacoma, Wash. (Steilacoom HS ‘10/Coffeyville CC)
Zack Nielsen – Weight Throw – 62-3 3/4 – Renton, Wash. (Lindbergh HS ’09)
Jordan Arakawa – Weight Throw – 62-3 1/4 – Olympia, Wash. (Capital HS ’10)
Jon Buchanan – Weight Throw – 58-10 1/4 – Yakima, Wash. (East Valley HS ’09)

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: Four

Olivia Midles – Weight Throw – 55-5 3/4 – Olympia, Wash. (Capital HS ’10)
Vania Tauvela – Weight Throw – 53-10 1/2 – 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)


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)


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



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.

Jon Buchanan – Throws – Yakima, Wash. (East Valley HS ’09)
Buchanan had a winning throw of 54-5 1/4 in the shot put at the Candy Cane VI, qualifying him for the conference meet. He also had a qualifying toss of 58-10 1/4 in the weight throw, placing third and completing a 1, 2, 3 sweep in the event for Eastern. That mark in the weight throw ranks Buchanan 10th in school history.

Phil Puccino – Jumps – Tacoma, Wash. (Steilacoom HS ‘10/Coffeyville CC)
Puccino had a first-place finish in the triple jump (46-1 1/2) and a runner-up finish in the high jump (6-8) at the Candy Cane VI Invite, qualifying the male jumps captain in both events for the Big Sky Championships.

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.

Jordan Arakawa – Throws – Olympia, Wash. (Capital HS ’10)
Arakawa got off a toss of 62-3 1/4 in the weight throw to place second just behind teammate Zack Nielsen (62-3 3/4) at the Candy Cane VI and qualify for the conference championships. 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.


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 in the event received Big Sky Athlete of the Week Honors for the performance.

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.

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 kicked off her senior campaign with a second-place finish in the weight throw, getting off a toss of 53-10 1/2 and meeting a conference standard. 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


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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