Trio of Eagles Cap Stellar Seasons at NCAA Championships
Murillo becomes second team All-American, Arrigoni & Arakawa earn third team honors
They may have come in as underdogs, but the Eastern Washington University track and field team once again maintained their reputation of proving the rankings wrong. Emma Murillo, Catie Arrigoni and Jordan Arakawa each concluded stellar seasons by improving on their original rankings at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore., on Wednesday and Thursday (June 11-12).
In Wednesday’s action, Murillo got off a throw of 156-3 in the javelin on her first attempt. After fouling her second try, she had a toss of 147-8 on her third. Murillo was in position to make finals after the first flight, ranking ninth, but got bumped down to 16th after the second flight, missing the cut by seven spots.
Murillo did however improve on her ranking of 22nd coming in and claimed second team All-American honors. She had the fifth-best placing by an Eastern female athlete ever and becomes just the third to claim second team honors (two claimed first team- Carolee Gutierrez- eighth in javelin in 2007, Kari McKay- fourth in 10,000 in 1992).
“Emma had a solid performance in the javelin,” said head women’s coach Marcia Mecklenburg. “She earned second team All-American honors, a great accomplishment for her and a wonderful honor for our program.”
The junior entered the postseason with a seasonal best of 137-7, but popped off throws of 158-2 (first at Big Sky Championships), 156-11 (10th at West Regionals) and had her third straight meet with a mark exceeding the mid-150’s at the NCAA’s biggest stage.
“Emma had three straight meets with throws over 156 feet,” said Mecklenburg. “She really came on in the postseason and she will come back ready to contend even more as a senior.”
Arrigoni also improved on her ranking, placing ninth in her heat of the 3,000-meter steeplechase and finishing 20th overall to claim third team All-American honors with a time of 10:24.66, her third-best time on the year. The Everett Community College transfer came into the meet ranked 24th after a school-record performance in Arkansas to claim the final qualifying spot.
“Catie finished higher than what she was ranked going into the meet,” said Mecklenburg. “It was a good way to end an amazing year for her.”
Arrigoni’s placing of 20th is the seventh-best finish by an Eastern female at the outdoor championships behind Murillo and Jordan Baughan, who placed 19th in the javelin in 2005. Arrigoni headlined a breakthrough season by the women’s steeplechase crew, claiming the Big Sky title in the event and running the fastest time in school history of 10:14.99 two weeks later at the West Preliminary Rounds.
Competing Thursday in the hammer throw, Arakawa struggled as he fouled on his first two attempts. He had a toss of 181-7 on his third try to get on the board, but it was not enough to move on to finals.
“As a coaching staff, we love having Jordan on our team,” said Kerr. “He contributes to the team on many levels, especially in the classroom and the ring. For him to reach the national championships was a huge accomplishment.”
Arakawa finished 23rd overall, claiming third team All-American honors jumping a place from his original ranking of 24th coming in. The top nine marks went into finals, with the final spot going to Texas A&M’s Casey Strong. Strong had a throw of 211-0, a mark Arakawa had exceeded on three different occasions this season.
Arakawa’s placing of 23rd was the sixth-best in school history by an EWU male outdoors. He was Eastern’s first male competitor at the meet since 2007, when hammer throw school-record holder David Paul placed 25th in the hammer. Arakawa’s personal best of 219-3 ranks second all-time at Eastern behind Paul, who had a throw of 226-2 in a Big Sky winning effort during the 2007 season. Arakawa will get one more season to chase after Paul’s record.
The NCAA Championships closed the season for the Eagles. Eastern will now look on to the 2014-15 season, which will be highlighted by the Big Sky Outdoor Championships, a meet EWU will host for the first time since 2006.
“The silver lining in this year’s concluding meet is that each of our national qualifiers: Jordan, Emma and Catie will all return next year,” said Kerr.