Vandal Collegiate is last opportunity for athletes to hit automatic qualifying marks for the Big Sky Conference Indoor Championships
The Eastern Washington University men’s and women’s track team will travel to Moscow, Idaho, to compete in the Vandal Collegiate Friday and Saturday (Feb. 17-18) for their last chance to automatically qualify for the pinnacle event of the season, the Big Sky Conference Championships.
The conference championships are Feb. 25-26 in Flagstaff, Ariz.
“The Vandal Collegiate is essentially a tune up meet, and there are a number of Big Sky schools doing that this weekend,” said men’s head coach Stan Kerr. “It’s now to the point where you have to hit the automatic mark to get to conference. Nobody can just hope they get in by being in the top 12.”
In order to participate in the conference championships without qualifying, an athlete must be ranked in the top 12 in their event based on previous marks achieved throughout the season.
For the women’s team, which is ranked 45th in the nation, women’s head coach Marcia Mecklenberg is hoping to see the 400-meter runners – Chelsea Lawhead, Nicole Nida and Angelica Rodriguez – reach automatic qualifying marks. Elise Jepsen is also close to qualifying in the high jump.
Keisa Monterola, the Big Sky Conference pole vault record holder, will be competing in the pole vault and long jump. She is currently aiming for the Olympic B standard (14-5 1/4) in the pole vault. Her season-best is 14-4.
“They’ve been working hard this season, so hopefully it pays off for them,” said Mecklenberg. “Practice has been going really well.”
For the men’s team, which is currently ranked 10th in the west region, Kerr is looking for Collin Green and Nick Ollson to qualify in the 400, while seeing Kramer Green and Brad Michael hit the automatic mark in the 200.
“If (Kramer) Green and Brad, who specialize in the 400, qualify in the 200 … that would just be the icing on the cake for their indoor season,” said Kerr.
Not only are the coaches looking for first-time qualifying marks, they’re also hoping to see some improved marks from the athletes who have already qualified.
“It’s about getting them in that sense of mind and body so they’re as strong as possible and ready to compete in Flagstaff,” said Kerr. “We hope that throughout practice, the athletes can sustain that high quality of performance.”
Men’s Big Sky Conference Championship Qualifiers
Michael Okoro – 55-meter dash – 6.48
Steven Warner – 55-meter hurdles – 7.72
Steven Warner – 60-meter hurdles – 8.28
Michael Okoro – 200-meter run – 21.90
Michael Okoro – 400-meter run – 48.52
Brad Wall – 400-meter run – 47.72
Brad Michael – 400-meter run – 49.03
Tim Pettit – 800-meter run – 1:52.93
Jordan Curnutt – 800-meter run – 1:53.13
Bowe Ebding – 3,000-meter run – 8:31.06
Graham Vaux – 3,000-meter run – 8:26.33
Kyle King – 1-mile – 4:12.2
Cody Fishel – high jump – 6-08
Zach Nielsen – weight throw – 56-10 3/4
Jordan Arakawa – weight throw – 58-3 1/4
Marlyn Anderson – shot put – 51-9
Marlyn Anderson – weight throw – 52-4 1/2
Jon Buchanan – shot put – 52-2 1/2
Kersee Lind – heptathlon – 5,198
Kersee Lind – pole vault – 14-09
Kersee Lind – high jump – 6-05
Women’s Big Sky Conference Championship Qualifiers
Shene Davis – triple jump – 37-09 1/2
Shene Davis – long jump – 18-6
Morena Mannucci – triple jump – 38-0
Keisa Monterola – pole vault – 14-4
Robin Taylor – pole vault – 12-06 1/4
Olivia Midles – weight throw – 52-07 1/2
Emma Murillo – weight throw – 52-07 ¼
Berenice Penaloza – 5,000-meter – 18:08.99
Notes on Keisa Monterola
Junior Keisa Monterola broke the Big Sky Conference indoor record for the women’s pole vault, with a jump of 14-4 on Jan. 28 at the UW Team Invitational in Seattle, Wash. The jump automatically qualified her for the NCAA Championships on Mar. 9 in Boise, Idaho.
Along with breaking the conference record, Monterola improved on her EWU school record and the indoor Venezuelan record. The Clackamas Community College transfer is now just a heartbeat away from the Olympic B-standard of 14-5 1/4.
Monterola made her Eastern debut on Dec. 3 at the Candy Cane Invitational. On her first jump, she broke Eastern’s pole vault record with a height of 13-11 1/4. She has also been named the Big Sky women’s Field Athlete of the Week three separate times.
Monterola is also the owner of the Venezuelan national record. She has competed for her country on numerous occasions, including the Pan American Games this past fall. She placed fifth with a mark of 14-1 1/4.
Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Monterola placed first in the pole vault at the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) Championships while competing for Clackamas Community College. She had a personal-best vault of 14-2 1/2 – a mark that improved the sophomore’s Venezuelan national record. She also placed first in the long jump with a mark of 18-0 1/2.
Monterola also claimed titles at the 2009 NWAACC Championships in the pole vault (12-8 1/4) and the long jump (17-8 1/4). While utilizing her redshirt season in 2010, Monterola won the gold medal at the Central American and Caribbean Games, where she set the games record with a mark of 13-9 1/4. In high school, Monterola was the 2005 IAAF World Youth silver medalist and South American Junior Champion. She cleared 13-11 1/4 in both competitions, setting new meet records in both.