Two More Eagles Earn All-Conference Honors at Big Sky Championships

Eastern men finish seventh in team standings, women ninth

The Eastern Washington University track and field team brought its all-conference performance total to four Saturday (Feb. 23) at the Big Sky Indoor Championships in Bozeman, Mont. In team standings, the men finished seventh with 46 points and the women took ninth with 26 points.

“We were hoping for a stronger team effort, but indoor track is a very physical sport,” said head men’s coach Stan Kerr, “I wish we could have scored more points, but we had a number of outstanding individual performances.”

“I’m disappointed because I thought we had a lot of potential to place higher,” said head women’s coach Marcia Mecklenburg.

Highlighting the day for the Eagles was Jordan Arakawa, who had a huge personal-best toss of 65-4 in the weight throw to place second. That mark earned Arakawa all-conference honors and moved him up to second all-time in school history behind school-record holder David Paul (68-8 1/2). His previous personal best was 59-5, giving him a nearly six-foot improvement.

“Jordan had a tremendous meet and lead the way in a stellar effort by our throwers,” said Kerr.

Brad Michael finished second in the 400 meters, running a time of 47.84. He was the runner-up behind the winning time of 47.57 from Weber State’s Matt White. That marks Michael’s third straight all-conference performance since beginning his career at Eastern. He also hit a time of 21.84 in the 200 to place fifth.

“Brad was stellar this weekend,” said Kerr, “He was dynamite in each of his events and he continues to be a very important asset to this team.”

Also performing well in the weight throw was Zack Nielsen, who placed fifth with a personal-best throw of 61-4.

Elise Jepsen placed sixth in the high jump, hitting a mark of 5-5 to tie her season best.

“I was really pleased with Elise because that was a loaded field,” said Mecklenburg, “She moved up on her ranking and we really needed that from her.”

Sophomore Nick Stearns placed fifth in the pole vault, clearing the bar at 15-9.

In the women’s triple jump, freshman Sierra Arlauskas placed eighth with a personal-best jump of 37-3 3/4 that now ranks 10th all-time at Eastern. Alyssa Neal came less than an inch away from scoring, finishing ninth with a mark of 37-3 1/4.

“Anytime a freshman can come in and score is really important for the team,” said Mecklenburg, “It shows us that we have a great future in that event area.”

Freshman David Thor ran a time of 1:56.21 in the 800 final, placing seventh and scoring two points for Eastern.

“David ran against a very talented and seasoned 800 crew and did so very well,” said Kerr, “He’s a great competitor and he will help put some solid foundation among our distance crew.”
The men’s 4x400 relay team of Nick Olsson, Collin Green, Kramer Green and Michael finished fifth with a time of 3:16.84.

“What impressed me most about the relay was that three of the four guys in it are walk-ons,” said Kerr, “It’s very admirable to see a group like that finish that high in a Division I conference meet.”

The women’s 4x400 relay team of Whitney Leavitt, Martha Sanford, Leiran Cornish and Angelica Rodriguez placed sixth in 3:50.30.

“The 4x400 at the Big Sky Championship is a very competitive meet and they handled the pressure well,” said Mecklenburg.

The BSC Indoor Championships capped off the 2013 indoor season for the Eagles. They will begin their outdoor season Mar. 16 at the Dusty Lane Open in Spokane, Wash.

“Moving on to outdoor, we will get some key returners back and bring out some great newcomers,” said Kerr, “That should bode well for us and we will definitely improve as a team.”

“We are a better outdoor team especially because of the additional events offered,” said Mecklenburg, “It will be fun to see us progress as a team and we should certainly improve on our indoor finish.”
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