Throwers lead the way for Eastern in first outdoor meet
The Eastern Washington University track and field teams kicked off the 2014 outdoor season by grabbing 11 Big Sky qualifying marks and walking away with 10 event-winners at the Dusty Lane Open on Saturday (March 15) in Spokane, Wash.
“We had a mixed bag of performances, but I feel that is to be expected as we transition from indoors to outdoors,” said head women’s coach Marcia Mecklenburg.
Eastern showed its depth in the hammer throw, as five Eagles cleared qualifying standards in the event. Jordan Arakawa, who is fresh off a Big Sky title indoors in the weight throw, picked up right where he left off by launching a throw of 209-6 to place first. Zack Nielsen (second, 186-4) and Jon Buchanan (fourth, 178-1) also booked their tickets to the conference meet.
Buchanan and Nielsen weren’t done there however, as Buchanan won the shot put with a throw of 53-11 ¼ and Nielsen was second in the discus with a distance of 159-8, both exceeding qualifying standards.
Olivia Midles won the hammer with a toss of 179-5. Kelsie Forcier, who opened her first outdoor season with the Eagles, also qualified with a mark of 164-0.
“Olivia started the season with a win and one of her best marks ever in the hammer,” said Mecklenburg. “That’s a great way to open.”
Eastern also picked up two qualifiers in the javelin, as Joey Payne (second, 206-4) and Emma Murillo (fourth, 135-4) each added strong performances for the thrower crew.
Courtney Bray won the pole vault, clearing the bar at a conference-qualifying height of 11-11 ¾.
“Courtney picked up another win for us with a very solid vault,” said Mecklenburg. “She will be a great contributor for us as a freshman.”
Steven Warner opened his final outdoor season with Eastern by placing second in the 110-hurdles with a time of 14.74.
In addition to the 11 Big Sky qualifying marks, Eastern also grabbed wins in six other events.
On the women’s side, Janessa Day (200, 25.88), Leiran Cornish (400, 58.45), Katie Mahoney (800, 2:16.85) and Jozie Kimes (400-hurdles, 65.51) each picked up wins in their respective races.
For the men, Obinna Nnadi (100, 11.09) and Austin Upmeyer (200, 22.26) also grabbed the top spots in their events.
“The sprint/hurdle crew had a stellar day,” said Mecklenburg. “Their first outdoor meet is right where they left off indoors.”
Eastern will take the next weekend off before heading to Missoula, Mont., for the Al Manuel Invitational on March 28-29.