Eagles Compete at West Preliminary Round

Twelve Eagles will compete in ten events this Thursday through Saturday in Austin, Texas

A total of 12 members of the Eastern Washington University track and field team will compete at the 2010 NCAA Division I West Preliminary Round at the University of Texas at Austin in Austin, Texas, Thursday - Saturday (May 27-29).

To compete at the meet, the top 48 student-athletes in each event were accepted into the competition. For relay events, the top 24 relay teams were accepted. Athletes who met those requirements are Brad Wall, Kyle King, Paul Limpf, Ben Cogdill, Aaron Mettler, Brianna Okoro, Sarah Frey, Erica Chaney, Nicole Luckenbach, Michelle Coombs, and the women’s 4x100-meter relay team (Okoro, Frey, Shene Davis and Whitney Leavitt).

The top twelve competitors from each individual and relay events advance to the NCAA Division I Championships in Eugene, Ore., on June 9-13.

“Our athletes are very excited about competing in the NCAA Preliminary Round,” said head women’s track and field coach Marcia Mecklenburg.  “Our seniors, Sarah Frey and Nicole Luckenbach, do not want this to be their last meet so they are going in focused and ready to accomplish some goals. We’re ready and it will be exciting to see how we do.”

“Taking 12 athletes to Texas is an accomplishment,” said head men’s track and field coach Stan Kerr. “We think they will come back with even better marks than what they are going into the meet with. Our athletes are excited for the meet and we know nothing is decided until we get there.”

Luckenbach, a 2005 graduate of Snohomish (Wash.) High School, currently sits 10th in the west in the hammer and will compete Saturday at 1 p.m.  She defended her title at the Big Sky Conference Championships in Ogden, Utah, with a throw of 190-5, well short of her school record of 199-8 set at the Cougar Invitational on April 24. Last year at the West Regionals, Luckenbach finished 14th.

The women’s 4x100 team (Okoro, Frey, Davis and Leavitt) rank 18th in the west with a time of 45.43 and will compete Saturday at 4:15 p.m. That team won the conference championship, set a stadium record (the old record was 45.64 set in 1997 by BYU) and broke Eastern’s school record. The previous school record of 45.93 was set in 1994 by Nakia Walker, Christian White, Chundranae Nicholson and Joyce Rainwater.

Coombs is 25th in the javelin with a mark of 155-5 and will compete on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. She finished sixth at West Regionals last year and went on to finish 25th at the NCAA Championships. She ranks third in school history with a mark of 163-1 set last season.

Chaney is 31st in the west in the shot put with a mark of 49-4 1/4 to rank second in school history behind the throw of 50-11 set in 1991 by Nancy Kuiper. Chaney finished third in the shot put at the conference championships with a toss of 48-7 1/2 at the BSC Championships. She will compete in Texas on Thursday at 11 a.m.

Frey is 32nd in the west in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:00.39 and will compete at 2 p.m. on Thursday. She ranks second in school history behind the time of 58.12 set in 1999 by Seville Broussard. Frey had a second-place finish at the conference championships in the 400-meter hurdles.

Okoro will compete on Friday at 6 p.m. in the 200 meters. She is currently 47th with a time of 24.39. She had a winning time in the 200 of 24.32, a personal best that ranks fourth in school history.

On the men’s side, Wall is 23rd in the west in the 400 meters with a time of 46.78 and will compete Thursday at 4:30 p.m. He won the 400 at the BSC Championships with a time of 46.67 to break the school record time of 47.05 set in 1988 by Hogan Wrixon.

Mettler is 29th in the west in the javelin with a mark of 214-0 and will compete at 10 a.m. on Saturday. He is fourth in school history with a throw of 219-9 set last season.

In the 10,000 meters, King is 41st in the west with a time of 29:34.21 and Limpf is 46th with a time of 29:44.08. They will compete on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Cogdill will compete Friday at 11 a.m. in the pole vault. He is currently 37th in the West Region with a mark of 16-8 1/4. Cogdill, a 2006 graduate of Estacada (Ore.) High School and transfer from Portland State University, shattered EWU’s school record with a winning vault of 16-8 1/4 to break Mike Erickson’s 2005 mark of 16-7 1/4.

Among the Eastern women who have advanced to the NCAA Championships, Michelle Coombs finished 25th in the javelin (142-6) in 2009. Carolee Gutierrez finished eighth in the javelin (161-10) in 2007, Stephanie Ulmer was 27th in the javelin (133-4) in 2006, Jordan Baughan finished 19th in the javelin (152-11) in 2005 and Kari McKay was fourth in the 10,000 (34:56.38) in 1992.

On the men's side, Greg Jones took second in the high jump (7-3) back in 1986 for EWU's best-ever finish. Ryan Cole is the only two-time performer, placing eighth in the javelin (223-3) in 2001 and 15th (211-3) in 1999. Also, David Paul finished 25th in the hammer with a throw of 189-1 in 2007, Alex Moon was 24th in 2006 in the 400 hurdles (52.26), Zach Guydish finished 24th in the javelin in 2005 and Kurt Kraemer was 15th in the triple jump in 2003.

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