In second to last meet, Eastern looking to qualify more athletes
With only two chances left to qualify for the Big Sky Conference Championships on Feb. 25-26 in Flagstaff Ariz., the Eastern Washington University men’s and women’s track and field teams will travel to Seattle, Wash., for the third time this season for the UW Open on Friday and Saturday (Feb. 10-11).
“This is our last big meet before the conference championships,” said men’s head coach Stan Kerr. “The field at this meet is traditionally very competitive; most athletes will only compete in their specialty. In a sense, it’s a preview to what to expect at conference since the majority of our athletes who have qualified won’t be making the trip to the Vandal Collegiate the following week.”
Among the many athletes who are still competing to qualify include Shene Davis in the 60- and 200-meter dashes. Davis has already qualified for the triple and long jump. Three throwers, Emma Murillo, Olivia Midles and Jaime Alnassim, are also on the brink of qualifying. Graham Vaux and Bowe Ebding will be running the 5,000 in hopes of securing an improved mark, and Kyle King will also be competing in the “very stacked” race.
“We’re just looking for improved marks and some more qualifiers for the conference championships,” said women’s head coach Marcia Mecklenberg. “We’ve reached the point in the year where athletes have the training behind them to allow them to hit those marks.
“They all train hard and are focused from the get-go. They know what they need to do to qualify.”
Two of the top athletes in EWU’s program, Keisa Monterola and Brad Wall, will be looking to improve their season-best marks. Monterola, who broke the Big Sky Conference record in the women’s pole vault with a jump of 14-4 this season, will be attempting to top her NCAA-qualifying mark with an Olympic-B standard performance (14-5 1/4).
Wall has been in a back-and-forth battle all season with Northern Arizona’s Adel al Nasser for the conference’s top 400-meter time. This past weekend, al Nasser retook the top spot in the Big Sky.
“Brad’s work ethic is stellar,” said Kerr. “He’s right at the top of the conference. NAU’s al Nasser took over the top spot last weekend – for now.”
With this meet being the third time in five weeks the Eagles have traveled to UW, they have grasped a familiarity with Seattle and the Dempsey Center.
“Many of the athletes are west-side athletes,” said Kerr. “They have a lot of friends and family come cheer them on. It’s outstanding. It’s a great recruiting point too. When people hear ‘Eastern Washington University wins’ over the speakers, it gets the attention of high school kids. It sends out the message that we have a great program and that we’re going to continue doing what we’ve been doing.”
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