Indoor Season in Full Swing as Eastern Heads to Boise State

With Big Sky Championships just a month away, Eagles eying more conference standards at Ed Jacoby Invitational

The Eastern Washington University track and field teams will continue to chase after Big Sky standards this weekend as they head to Nampa, Idaho to compete at the Ed Jacoby Invitational & Multi, hosted by Boise State University on Friday and Saturday (Jan. 31-Feb. 1).

“We’ve competed there in the past and know it’s a high-quality track with great fields,” said head men’s coach Stan Kerr. “I’m looking it as a preview of the Conference Championships as it will have that atmosphere as well as some teams we don’t normally see.”

The meet will be held at Jackson’s Indoor Track at the Idaho Center, which features a mondo-synthetic surface track with banked corners and is widely considered to produce high-quality performing marks. Boise State was the site of the 2012 NCAA Division I Indoor Championships, where Keisa Monterola earned All-America honors in the pole vault with a fifth-place finish.

“It’s not a venue that we usually go to indoors, so I think the new atmosphere will help out our crew,” said head women’s coach Marcia Mecklenburg.

Friday’s competition will mainly consist of the heptathlon and pentathlon, which starts at 2:30 with the pentathlon 60-meter hurdles.  Eastern’s Nick Stearns is entered in the heptathlon and Jozie Kimes will take on the pentathlon. The men’s and women’s weight throw and the men’s pole vault will be contested Friday as well.

“Nick is ready and going in excited. He is very new to the heptathlon,” said Kerr. “Now he has a chance to get more skill development across the board.”

“Jozie has another month and a half of training, so she should keep improving on her marks,” said Mecklenburg. “It’s a great opportunity for her to get another pentathlon under her before the conference meet.”

Saturday’s action will begin at 9:00 a.m. with the heptathlon 60-meter hurdles, the fifth of seven events in the competition. Open field events begin at 9:30 with the women’s high jump, while the running events kick off at 11 a.m. with the 60-meter dashes.

The Ed Jacoby Invite will give Eastern their first look at a banked track, as the Big Sky Championships in Pocatello, Idaho on Feb. 27-Mar. 1 will be contested on one.

“Banked tracks have tight radiuses and you can’t run as upright and use a typical stride pattern,” said Kerr. “That will allow us to make adjustments mechanically so we can compete at a level we know we’re capable of at the conference meet.”

Eastern will also be sending a few key distance runners to Seattle for the UW Invitational on Friday and Saturday. On the men’s side, Austin Oser will compete in the 5,000 and Stephen Bottoms will run the mile. For the women, Berenice Penaloza, Catie Arrigoni, Mayra Chavez and Sarah Reiter will take on the 5,000, while Paula Gil-Echevarria will take another crack at the mile.

“Our distance runners did great at the last meet in Seattle,” said Mecklenburg. “They’ll all be back to their strongest events there, so I’m expecting them to improve as well.”

The Eagles have attained 18 Big Sky standards on the season, with 11 for the men and seven on the women’s side. With the conference meet just a month away, Kerr and Mecklenburg expects their squads to continue to take form week by week and earn more qualifying marks.

“I’m expecting to get a lot more qualifiers before we’re done,” said Mecklenburg. “We haven’t really reached a taper stage yet and once we do I know those will start increasing.”

“We’re looking to continue build off of our performances,” said Kerr. “We have a number of athletes in the midst of great seasons and I’m looking for more to perform at a level that will get them to the conference meet.”

Live stats in Nampa will be available at http://www.broncosports.com/livestats/c-track/index/index.htm . The UW Invitational will also have live stats at http://www.gohuskies.com/fls/30200/trackresults/020214/index.htm .

“A number of our athletes’ goals weren’t just to qualify, so we’ll continue working on improving their marks in order to be competitive at conference,” said Mecklenburg. “If we can get our other athletes to qualify, that will give us more opportunities for points and experience for them in a conference atmosphere. That is invaluable to our crew.”

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: 11 (New: One – Lemafa WT)

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)
Shaun Lemafa – Weight Throw – 56-4 – Auburn, Wash. (Auburn HS ‘09/Clackamas CC)

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: Seven (New: One – Murillo WT)

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)
Paula Gil-Echevarria – Mile – 4:59.48 – Madrid, Spain
Morena Mannucci – Triple Jump – 37-10 – Rome, Italy (Anco Marzio HS ’10)
Emma Murillo – Weight Throw – 55-2 – Kennewick, Wash. (Southridge HS ’10)

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

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.

Jon Buchanan – Throws – Yakima, Wash. (East Valley HS ’09)
Buchanan uncorked a personal best of 55-7 in the shot put at the UW Indoor Preview, placing third 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 ninth 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 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. He improved on that triple jump mark with a leap of 46-4 1/4 at the UW Indoor Preview

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 time of 8.20 in the prelims of the 60-meter hurdles at the UW Indoor Preview, advancing him to finals.

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. 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)
After coming just inches away at the UW Indoor Preview, 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.

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.

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

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.

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)
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. The Montana State transfer was also just under eight seconds off the Big Sky qualifying standard of 10:00.

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.

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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