March 28, 2012

Eagles at Full Strength as they Head to Montana For Al Manuel Invitational

Eagles will get an early look at Big Sky foes Montana and Montana State

The Eastern Washington University men’s and women’s track and field team will be at full strength for the first time this outdoor season, as they head to Missoula, Mont., Saturday (March 31) for the Al Manuel Invitational. Eastern’s only other outdoor appearance thus far was at the Dusty Lane Open in Spokane, Wash., on March 17 when only a handful of EWU athletes competed.

 “We only had a partial team compete at the Dusty Lane, but now were taking the majority of the team to Missoula to lead us to a positive start for the outdoor season,” said men’s head coach Stan Kerr. “We’re going to compete very hard and hopefully come away with good qualifying performances.”

Eastern competes in the Al Manuel Invitational each year, with Montana inviting both Eastern and Montana State. It gives all three Big Sky schools an early look at their conference opponents.

“It does give us a good assessment of our conference,” said Kerr. “This is a good indicator to show us where everyone is at early in the outdoor season. We already know both Montana schools have very talented athletes. But we’re kind of all waiting for better spring weather to come in and let us see our top performances.”

Thrower Zach Nielsen, who redshirted outdoor season last year, will be competing for the first time in an outdoor event for nearly two years. He is coming off a third-place finish in the weight throw at the 2012 Big Sky Conference Indoor Championships to earn All-Big Sky honors.

Sprinter Michael Okoro, who was the conference champion in the 200-meter dash as a freshman last year, will start this season with a target on his back.

“Both Zach and Michael are competitive guys,” said Kerr. “They know this is an early-season meet, but they also know how good the competition is. They won’t just sit down.”

Also competing will be Michelle Coombs, who was the Big Sky champion in the javelin as a freshman in 2009. Injuries have slowed her down since then, but she’s back at full strength ready to reclaim her title.

“I’m looking for Michelle to go out and have a very good meet,” said women’s head coach Marcia Mecklenburg. “She’s a hard worker who wants to get more success under her belt.”

Both the men and women will be running the 4x100-meter relay for the first time this season, and they each are looking for a winning performance. Last year the men finished second at the Big Sky Championships with a school-record time of 40.46 seconds. The women placed fifth in the event a year ago. In 2010, they were Big Sky champions and set a school record with a 45.31 time.

“Our relay teams have always been strong, so it’ll be nice for them to go out there and see what they can do,” said Mecklenburg.

“I know they’ll produce a solid, top-of-the-conference performance,” added Kerr.

But when it comes down to it, the Al Manuel is for EWU to see where it stands early in the season.

“This will give us an idea of who we are and what we look like as a team,” said Mecklenburg. “Everybody is ready to give it their all.”

 

Upcoming Meet
Al Manuel Invitational – March 30-31 – Missoula, Mont. (hosted by University of Montana)
Meet Information -- http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/mont/sports/c-otrack/auto_pdf/2011-12/misc_non_event/2012-Al-Manuel-schedule.pdf

Previous Meet
Dusty Lane Invitational – March 17 – Spokane, Wash. (hosted by Community Colleges of Spokane)
Results -- http://www.tfrrs.org/results/23633.html 

 
 

BIG SKY CONFERENCE QUALIFIERS

Men's Qualifiers/Records

Big Sky Conference Championships – May 9-12 – Bozeman, Mont.
First Round NCAA Championships – May 24-26 – Austin, Texas.
NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships – June 6-9 - Des Moines, Iowa
School Records Broken: None

Total Big Sky Championships Qualifying Marks Attained: 3 (New: None since March 17)

400 Meters – 48.18 - Brad Michael  - Sprints – Fr. – HS - Vancouver, Wash.
110-Meter Hurdles – 14.91 – Steven Warner - Hurdles - So. - 1L - Kent, Wash. / Kentwood HS '09
Discus – 156-11 – Cody Humphrey - Throws - Jr. - 1L - Hermiston, Ore. / Hermiston HS '09

Women's Qualifiers/Records

Big Sky Conference Championships – May 9-12 – Bozeman, Mont.
First Round NCAA Championships – May 24-26 – Austin, Texas.
NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships – June 6-9 - Des Moines, Iowa School Records Broken: None

Total Big Sky Championships Qualifying Marks Attained: 3 (New: None since March 17)

Javelin – 147-11 – Michelle Coombs - Throws/Jumps - So. - 1L - Hermiston, Ore. / Hermiston HS '08
Javelin – 134-1 – Taylor Walker - Throws - So. - SQ - Pullman, Wash. / Pullman HS '08
Javelin – 133-10 – Haley Tank - Throws - Fr. - HS - West Richland, Wash.

 
 

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):

Jonathan Buchanan – (2011 Indoors: 3rd in shot put)
Kyle King – (2011 Indoors: Champion in 5,000, 3rd in 3,000)
Kersee Lind (2012 Indoors: 3rd in heptathlon)
Brad Michael – (2012 Indoors: 2nd in 400, 3rd in 200)
Andre Moore – (2011 Indoors: 3rd in triple jump)
Zach Nielsen – (2012 Indoors: 3rd in weight throw)
Michael Okoro (2011 Outdoors: Champion in 200)
Phillip Puccino – (2012 Indoors: 3rd in triple jump)
Nick Stearns – (2012 Indoors: 3rd in pole vault)
Brad Wall – (2012 Indoors: 3rd in 400; 2011 Outdoors: Champion in 400; 2011 Indoors: Champion in 400; 2010 Outdoors: Champion in 400)
Steven Warner (2012 Indoors: Champion in 110 hurdles)
4x400 Relay (2011 Outdoors: 3rd/Michael Okoro, Kramer Green, Collin Green, Brad Wall; 2012 Indoors: Champion/Collin Green, Michael Okoro, Brad Michael, Brad Wall)
4x100 Relay (2011 Outdoors: 2nd/Alex Flores, Michael Okoro, Kurt Williams, Brad Wall)

Michelle Coombs – (2009 Outdoors: Champion in Javelin)
Shene Davis – (2012 Indoors: 2nd in long jump; 2011 Outdoors: 2nd in long jump)
Keisa Monterola  - (2012 Indoors: Champion in pole vault)
Olivia Midles – (2011 Outdoors: 2nd in hammer throw)
Brianna Okoro - (2011 Outdoors: 3rd in long jump; 2010 Outdoors: Champion in 200, 3rd in 100, 3rd in long jump)
4x400 Relay – (2012 Indoors: 2nd/Whitney Leavitt, Nicole Nida, Angelica Rodriguez, Chelsea Lawhead)

 
 

SEASON NOTES

Big Sky Conference Preseason Polls
Voting is calculated with each team receiving nine points for a first place vote, eight 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 (last year’s place)
Northern Arizona, 77 – 6 first-place votes (2nd, 167 points)
Montana State, 72 – 2 first-place votes (3rd, 116.5)
Sacramento State 55 – 1 first-place vote (1st, 204.5)
Eastern Washington 53 (4th, 96)
Weber State 47 (5th, 74)
Montana 37 (3rd, 116.5)
Idaho State 35 (7th, 44)
Northern Colorado 16 (8th, 38)
Portland State 13 (9th, 28.5)

Women's Poll 

Team, Points (last year’s place)
Sacramento State, 77 – 5 first-place votes (1st, 236 points)
Weber State, 73 – 4 first-place votes (5th, 66)
Northern Arizona 54 (8th, 63)
Portland State 47 (6th, 65)
Montana State 46 (4th, 75)
Montana 42 (2nd, 133)
Idaho State 28 (7th, 64.5)
Eastern Washington 27 (3rd, 78)
Northern Colorado 11 (9th, 33.5)

 
 

TOP SEASON PERFORMANCES

Michelle Coombs - Throws/Jumps - So. - 1L - Hermiston, Ore. / Hermiston HS '08
Coombs won the javelin with a throw of 147-11 at the Dusty Lane Invitational on March 17, the first time she’s thrown in nearly two years. As a freshman in 2009, she was the Big Sky champion in the event, but injuries have slowed her down since then. She ranks third in school history with a 163-1 throw in 2009.

Brad Michael – Sprints – Fr. – HS - Vancouver, Wash.
Michael, EWU’s freshman phenom, continued where he left off from the indoor season, by winning both the 200- and 400-meter dashes at the Dusty Lane Invitational. His time of 48.18 in the 400 met the Big Sky qualifying mark. During the indoor season, Michael broke the school record in the 400 (46.97) en route to a second-place finish, and he placed third in the 200 with a time of 21.63 that ranks third in school history. He was also was part of the 4x400 relay team which won the Big Sky title with a school-record time of 3:11.04.

Steven Warner - Hurdles - So. - 1L - Kent, Wash. / Kentwood HS '09
Warner, the 2012 Big Sky Indoor champion in the 60-meter hurdles, opened his outdoor season March 17 at the Dusty Lane Open with time of 14.91 in the 110-meter hurdles.  His career best in that event is 14.60 set as a freshman in 2010. Warner had a school-record time of 8.07 in the 60-meter hurdles indoors earlier this season, good for second all-time.

Cody Humphrey – Throws - Jr. - 1L - Hermiston, Ore. / Hermiston HS '09
Humphrey, who is also an tight end for EWU’s football team, qualified for the Big Sky Championships with a career-best throw of 156-11 in the discus at the Dusty Lane Open on March 17.

 

LINKS

EWU Track and Field - http://goeags.com/sports/c-track/index
Big Sky Conference Men's Track and Field - http://www.bigskyconf.com/index.aspx?tab=outdoortrackandfield&path=motrack
Big Sky Conference Women's Track and Field - http://www.bigskyconf.com/index.aspx?tab=outdoortrackandfield2&path=wotrack
NCAA Track and Field - http://www.ncaa.com
Direct Athletics Performance List - http://www.directathletics.com/lists/track/63_919.html
More Information and Links are Available at - HTTP://WWW.GOEAGS.COM

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