March 25, 2014

Eastern Back in Full Force for Al Manuel Invitational

Eagles will send full squad to clash with Grizzlies and Bobcats in Missoula

Eastern Washington University track and field will be back at full strength this weekend as the teams travel to Missoula, Mont., for the Al Manuel Invitational on Friday and Saturday (March 28-29). The meet is hosted by the University of Montana and will be held at Dornblaser field.

“We consider the Al Manuel one of our top three meets of the year,” said head women’s coach Marcia Mecklenburg. “It’s an important meet and we’re going in full force looking to outduel the Montana schools.”

“Meets like this really show our team balance,” said men’s head coach Stan Kerr. “Indoors we’re missing a lot of key contributors, so we’re definitely looking forward to having a full team back from spring break.”

The Al Manuel will be the Eagles’ first outdoor meet as a full squad, as the previous Dusty Lane Open (March 15) was an optional meet for Eastern athletes. Several Eagles will be making their season debut in their marquee events.

“The meet this weekend is very competitive, sets a big tone and I think we will come away with a number of qualifiers,” said Kerr. “That being said, it’s a peaking sport and we won’t be putting too big of loads on our athletes event-wise this early in the season.”

In a Big Sky Conference coaches’ poll that was released last week, the Eagle men were selected to finish seventh at the conference championships while the women were picked eighth. This weekend’s competition will give Eastern a chance to see where they stack up against two talented Big Sky schools in Montana (men-third, women-third) and Montana State (men-fifth, women-seventh).

“Both Montana State and Montana build their teams similarly to us and we also come down to the wire with them at the Big Sky Championships,” said Mecklenburg.

The Eagles managed to attain 11 conference qualifying marks at the outdoor-opening Dusty Lane Open, despite fielding a limited squad at the meet. A handful of Eastern athletes will get their first crack at meeting standards for the Big Sky Championships in Flagstaff, Ariz., on May 14-17.

The women’s and men’s hammer throw will be contested Friday starting at 2 p.m. The remainder of the meet will be run Saturday with field events beginning at 9 a.m. and running events going at 10:15 a.m. (PST).

“A lot our athletes will be getting into the mix and that will give us a chance to see where we’re at as a team and an opportunity for more conference qualifiers,” said Mecklenburg.

Men’s Qualifiers/Records

Big Sky Championships – May 14-17– Flagstaff, Ariz.
NCAA Championships Preliminary Round – May 29-31 – Fayetteville, Ark.
NCAA Championships – June 11-14 – Eugene, Ore.
School Records Broken: None
Total Big Sky Championships Qualifying Marks Attained: Seven

Steven Warner – 110 hurdles – 14.74 – Kent, Wash. (Kentwood HS ’09)
Jordan Arakawa – Hammer Throw – 209-6 – Olympia, Wash. (Capital HS ’10)
Zack Nielsen – Hammer Throw – 186-4 – Renton, Wash. (Lindbergh HS ’09)
Jon Buchanan – Hammer Throw – 178-1 – Yakima, Wash. (East Valley HS ’09)
Zack Nielsen – Discus – 159-8 – Renton, Wash. (Lindbergh HS ’09)
Jon Buchanan – Shot Put – 53-11 1/4 – Yakima, Wash. (East Valley HS ’09)
Joey Payne – Javelin – 206-4 – Richland, Wash. (Richland HS ’12)

Women’s Qualifiers/Records

Big Sky Championships – May 14-17– Flagstaff, Ariz.
NCAA Championships Preliminary Round – May 29-31 – Fayetteville, Ark.
NCAA Championships – June 11-14 – Eugene, Ore.
School Records Broken: None
Total Big Sky Championships Qualifying Marks Attained: Four

Olivia Midles – Hammer Throw – 179-5 – Olympia, Wash. (Capital HS ’10)
Kelsie Forcier – Hammer Throw – 164-0 – Port Orchard, Wash. (South Kitsap HS ’12)
Emma Murillo – Javelin – 135-4 – Kennewick, Wash. (Southridge HS ’10)
Courtney Bray – Pole Vault – 11-11 3/4 – Mead, Wash. (Mt. Spokane HS ’13)

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 – (2014 Indoors: 2nd in shot put, 3rd in weight throw; 2011 Indoors: 3rd in shot put)
Brad Michael – (2014 Indoors: 3rd in 400; 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 – (2014 Indoors: 2nd in weight throw; 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 – (2014 Indoors: Champion in weight throw; 2013 outdoors: 2nd in hammer throw; 2013 Indoors: 2nd in weight throw)
Joey Payne – (2013 Outdoors: 2nd in javelin)
Trenton Osborn- (2014 Indoors: 2nd in long jump)

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, 121– (11 first-place votes)
Sacramento State, 104
Montana, 88
Weber State, 80
Montana State, 78
Southern Utah, 74
Eastern Washington, 64
Idaho State, 41
Portland State, 37
North Dakota, 23
Northern Colorado, 16

Women's Poll 

Team, Points
Northern Arizona, 116 – (seven first-place votes)
Sacramento State, 104 – (four first-place votes)
Montana, 94
Weber State, 94
Portland State, 76
Southern Utah, 68
Montana State, 55
Eastern Washington, 46
Idaho State, 30
Northern Colorado, 25
North Dakota, 18

TOP SEASON PERFORMANCES

Men

Jordan Arakawa – Throws – Olympia, Wash. (Capital HS ’10)
Coming off a Big Sky title indoors in the weight throw, Arakawa picked up right where he left off, winning the hammer throw at the Dusty Lane Open with a mark of 209-6 to book his ticket for the Big Sky Championships.

Zack Nielsen – Throws – Renton, Wash. (Lindbergh HS ’09)
Nielsen, who placed second in an EWU 1,2,3 sweep indoors in the weight throw, qualified in the hammer with a mark of  186-4 at the Dusty Lane Open. He wasn’t done there, as he also qualified in the discus with a toss of 159-8.

Jon Buchanan – Throws – Yakima, Wash. (East Valley HS ’09)
Fresh off of two All-Big Sky performances indoors, Buchanan stamped his ticket to the conference meet , qualifying in both the shot put (53-11 1/4) and hammer throw (178-1) at the Dusty Lane Open.

Joey Payne – Throws – Richland, Wash. (Richland HS ’12)
Payne, who was second in the javelin at last year’s Big Sky Championships, opened up his sophomore season with a personal-best mark of 206-4 to qualify for the conference meet and place second overall at the Dusty Lane Open.

Steven Warner – Hurdles Kent, Wash. (Kentwood HS ’09)
Competing in his final outdoor season for the Eagles, Warner opened up with a Big Sky qualifying time of 14.74 in the 110 hurdles at the Dusty Lane Open.

Women

Olivia Midles – Throws – Olympia, Wash. (Capital HS ’10)
Midles kicked off the outdoor season with a bang, winning the hammer throw with a mark of 179-5 at the Dusty Lane Open to qualify for the Big Sky Championships.

Kelsie Forcier – Throws – Port Orchard, Wash. (South Kitsap HS ’12)
Forcier opened her first outdoor season with the Eagles in great fashion, qualifying in the hammer throw with a toss of 164-0 at the Dusty Lane Open.

Courtney Bray – Pole Vault – Mead, Wash. (Mt. Spokane HS ’13)
Bray won the pole vault at the Dusty Lane Open with a clearance of 11-11 3/4, qualifying the freshman for the Big Sky meet and moving her up to eighth all-time at Eastern outdoors.

Emma Murillo – Throws – Kennewick, Wash. (Southridge HS ’10)
Murillo opened her outdoor season with a qualifying mark of 135-4 in the javelin, placing fourth overall at the Dusty Lane Open.

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 Outdoor Track and Field – http://bigskyconf.com/index.aspx?path=otf&
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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