Multiple Eagles looking to book their tickets to the NCAA Division I National Championships
The season continues for nine athletes on the Eastern Washington University track and field team as it ventures to Austin, Texas for the NCAA Division I West Region Preliminary Rounds on May 23-25 (Thursday-Saturday).
The meet is hosted by the University of Texas and serves as a preliminary round for the NCAA Division I Championships, which will be held on June 5-8 in Eugene, Ore. Athletes who manage a top-12 placing in their event will advance to the National Championship meet.
“It will be a thrill for our athletes to perform in a field where the competitors are so skilled and talented,” said head men’s coach Stan Kerr.
“We have some athletes who are definitely in contention for a top-12 spot,” said head women’s coach Marcia Mecklenburg. “It’s a very competitive field but I feel that each individual is prepared to have a great performance.”
The EWU men will take a trio of throwers, highlighted by Jordan Arakawa, who heads into the meet ranked ninth in the region in the hammer throw. The sophomore out of Olympia, Wash., has a personal best of 213-8 this season, which is the 17th-best mark in the nation among Division I competitors. Arakawa is coming off a second-place finish in the hammer throw at the 2013 Big Sky Outdoor Championships (208-4).
“Jordan has been on this stage before and I would not be surprised to see him uncork a big throw,” said Kerr. “He can certainly put himself in a position to earn a spot to the National meet.”
Potentially competing in his last meet as an Eagle is senior Marlyn Anderson in the shot put. He is ranked 42nd in the event with his season best of 56-6 3/4.
“Marlyn wants to go out with a phenomenal performance and he’s been gearing himself up to do so,” said Kerr.
Freshman Joey Payne is ranked 46th in the javelin throw with a personal best of 205-9. He earned all-conference honors in the event at the BSC Championships with a second-place finish (205-6).
“For Joey, this meet will pay big dividends and he will get some great experience out of this,” said Kerr.
On the women’s side, Cora Kellerman (sixth), Michelle Coombs (ninth) and Emma Murillo (44th) will square off with 45 other athletes in the javelin throw. Kellerman had a personal-best throw of 170-0 at the Duane Hartman Invitational to rank second in school history. Coombs finished second at the BSC Championships and will look to make the National Championship meet for a second time in her career.
“Michelle has the most experience with this being her fourth regional meet,” said Mecklenburg. “She’s going in knowing what she needs to do and she has a great shot at moving on.”
“Cora has thrown far and knows what it takes to do so,” said Mecklenburg, “She certainly has a chance at getting off another big one.”
“Emma has thrown well and she’s overdue for another great one,” said Mecklenburg.
Keisa Monterola and Robin Taylor will represent Eastern in the pole vault as they enter the weekend ranked 25th and 40th, respectively. The duo completed their second-consecutive one, two sweep of the pole vault at the BSC Outdoor Championships. Monterola, who holds the school records both indoors and outdoors, has a season best of 13-3 1/2. Taylor’s best mark this season came at the conference meet, where she vaulted 12-11 1/2.
“Keisa really had a breakthrough at the conference meet and I think she will go into the meet with a renewed confidence,” said Mecklenburg. “Robin has been on this stage as well and she knows what it takes and will look to prove something.”
Katie Mahoney will be the Eagles’ lone runner in the track events as she is ranked 32nd in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. The redshirt-freshman has rewritten the record books this season, breaking school records in the steeplechase (10:28.52) and 1,500 (4:25.79) and also moving up the top ten lists in the 800 (2:12.87, third all-time) and 5,000 (17:14.91, sixth all-time).
“It’s going to be a great experience for Katie down the road,” said Mecklenburg. “If she can overcome some technical aspects of her race she may be in the hunt.”
Action begins at Mike A. Myers Stadium Thursday at noon. The meet will be streamed live at http://ulive.cbssports.com/index-ncaa.html?media=389157 . More information is available at http://www.texassports.com/ot/2013-ncaa-tf-west-prelims.html .
“This is a very exciting meet and anything can happen,” said Mecklenburg, “if you’re there, you can improve and have a chance.”
“This will be one of the biggest meets of these athletes’ lives,” said Kerr. “In terms of numbers there are approximately 1,700 athletes competing and we’re going to see some outstanding talent.”
Regional Qualifiers (followed by event, ranking and time of competition [CST])
Marlyn Anderson- Shot Put (42nd) Friday @ 6 p.m.
Jordan Arakawa- Hammer Throw (9th) Friday @ 2 p.m.
Joey Payne – Javelin (46th) Saturday @ Noon
Katie Mahoney – 3,000-meter steeplechase (32nd) Friday @ 9:30 p.m.
Keisa Monterola – Pole Vault (25th) Friday @ 1 p.m.
Robin Taylor – Pole Vault (40th) Friday @ 1 p.m.
Cora Kellerman – Javelin (6th) Saturday @ 5 p.m.
Michelle Coombs – Javelin (9th) Saturday @ 5 p.m.
Emma Murillo – Javelin (44th) Saturday @ 5 p.m.