Eastern Launches Outdoor Season with Limited Squad in Spokane

Eagles have first chance to attain Big Sky outdoor qualifying marks at Dusty Lane Open

After capping off the indoor season less than two weeks ago, the Eastern Washington University track and field team will begin their outdoor campaign Saturday (March 15) at the Dusty Lane Open in Spokane, Wash.

“I like the Dusty Lane as it meets many early outdoor season needs,” said head men’s coach Stan Kerr. “It is travel friendly and provides opportunities for many of our athletes to compete in events other than their specialties.”

Kerr and head women’s coach Marcia Mecklenburg have declared the meet optional for athletes and the team will not be at full strength until the Al Manuel Invitational in Missoula, Mont., on March 28-29. The Dusty Lane will be held at Spokane Falls Community College.

“Dusty Lane is not a mandatory meet for our athletes as they are trying to get ready for finals,” said Mecklenburg. “Usually the athletes that compete are the ones who didn’t get a chance to do so indoors.”

Athletes choosing to compete this week will look to hit qualifying standards for the Big Sky Outdoor Championships, which will be held in Flagstaff, Ariz., on May 14-17.

For Eastern, Freshmen Evan Banchero (discus, javelin), Aaron Cunningham (shot put, discus, hammer) and Samantha Baker (javelin) will don the red and white for the first time in their careers.

“This will be a great opportunity to see where our younger athletes are at with college implements,” said Mecklenburg.

Fresh of a redshirt season indoors, Katie Mahoney (800) will be back on the track for the Eagles. The sophomore crushed two school records last year (1,500, 3,000-steeplechase) in her first outdoor season with Eastern.

“It will be wonderful to have Katie back,” said Mecklenburg. “The women’s distance crew did great indoors and that was without Katie, so they’re going to be a real force this outdoor season with her back in the mix.”

Many throwers will be taking their first crack at the javelin, hammer and discus, each events that are exclusively outdoors. Jordan Arakawa (hammer), Zack Nielsen (discus, hammer), Jon Buchanan (shot put, hammer) will look to carry momentum from their sweep of the weight throw at the Big Sky indoor meet into the outdoor season.

“The transition from the weight throw to the hammer is an adjustment, but they’re stronger than they were last year and are coming off that sweep,” said Mecklenburg. “It’ll be interesting to see what they do this weekend.”

Javelin-throwers Joey Payne, Max Pratt, Madeline Jacobson and Kacie Seims will be getting their first glimpse of action in 2014. Payne is coming off a second-place finish at last year’s outdoor conference meet.

“Max and Joey have been a great two-some for us as far as training and competing goes,” said Mecklenburg. “I know they’re fired up and ready to get going. The women javelin throwers have had a great indoor training season and I’m excited to see how they’ve progressed.”

The meet will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday.

“I expect a lot of qualifying marks out of this meet,” said Mecklenburg. “That’s not the main goal of the season for most of our athletes, but it is a good stepping stone to get where they want to be.”


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):

Jon Buchanan – (2014 Indoors: 2nd in shot put, 3rd in weight throw; 2011 Indoors: 3rd in shot put)
Brad Michael – (2014 Indoors: 3rd in 400; 2013 Outdoors: 3rd in 400; 2013 Indoors: 2nd in 400;2012 Outdoors: 3rd in 400; 2012 Indoors: 2nd in 400, 3rd in 200)
Zack Nielsen – (2014 Indoors: 2nd in weight throw; 2012 Indoors: 3rd in weight throw)
Phil Puccino – (2013 Outdoors: 2nd in triple jump; 2012 Indoors: 3rd in triple jump)
Nick Stearns – (2013 Outdoors: 2nd in pole vault; 2012 Indoors: 3rd in pole vault)
Steven Warner (2012 Outdoors: 3rd in 110 hurdles; 2012 Indoors: Champion in 60 hurdles)
4x400 Relay (2013 Outdoors: 2nd/Kramer Green, Nick Olsson, Brad Michael, Brad Wall; 2012 Indoors: Champion/Collin Green, Michael Okoro, Brad Michael, Brad Wall; 2011 Outdoors: 3rd/Michael Okoro, Kramer Green, Collin Green, Brad Wall)
Jordan Arakawa – (2014 Indoors: Champion in weight throw; 2013 outdoors: 2nd in hammer throw; 2013 Indoors: 2nd in weight throw)
Joey Payne – (2013 Outdoors: 2nd in javelin)
Trenton Osborn- (2014 Indoors: 2nd in long jump)

Olivia Midles – (2013 Outdoors: 2nd in hammer throw; 2011 Outdoors: 2nd in hammer throw)
Robin Taylor – (2013 Outdoors: 2nd in pole vault; 2012 Outdoors: 2nd in pole vault)
4x400 Relay – (2012 Indoors: 2nd/Whitney Leavitt, Nicole Nida, Angelica Rodriguez, Chelsea Lawhead)
Emma Murillo – (2013 Outdoors: 3rd in hammer throw; 2013 Indoors: 3rd in weight throw)
Katie Mahoney – (2013 Outdoors: 2nd in 3,000 steeplechase)


2013-14 Track & Field Online Guide: http://goeags.com/sports/c-track/onlineguide
EWU Track and Field - http://goeags.com/sports/c-track/index
Big Sky Indoor Track and Field – http://bigskyconf.com/index.aspx?path=itf&
NCAA Track and Field - http://www.ncaa.com
TFRRS- Track & Field Results Reporting System - http://www.tfrrs.org
USTFCCCA- U.S. Track & Field & Cross Country Coaches Association - http://www.ustfccca.org/

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