Wall Claims Big Sky Crown in 400 with New School Record
Individual Eagles stand out as men finish fifth and women place eighth at Big Sky Conference Indoor Championships
Junior Brad Wall from the Eastern Washington University track and field team placed first in the 400 meters at the Big Sky Conference Championships Saturday (Feb. 26) in Pocatello, Idaho.
The Eagle men placed fifth in the team competition with 67 points. The Hornet men grabbed the team title with 133 points, just a half of a point ahead of Northern Arizona (132.5). The Eastern women placed eighth overall with 45.5 points. Sacramento State claimed the team title as they racked up 144 points.
Wall surpassed the favorite in the event, Adel al Nasser from Northern Arizona with a time of 47.58 on the board track. That time also set a new school record in the event, breaking Alex Moon's time of 47.61, which was set in 2006. Freshman Michael Okoro also scored points in his conference debut as he placed fifth in the 400 with a time of 50.15.
"Brad Wall continues to amaze us with his talent," said head men's coach Stan Kerr. "Talk about the will to win. He exemplifies that phrase in my mind. He took on a tough field, on a kind of track we don't get a lot of experience on. We were able to make a few minor adjustments and it worked out well for him."
"I am pleased with the men's team," said Kerr. "We have such a young team and we really wanted to focus on the idea of 'the will to win.' We had a great contribution of scorers from all event areas, which ended in a great conference performance."
Erica Chaney placed second in the shot put with a mark of 47-9 1/4. Chaney, a senior from Spokane,Wash., (Gonzaga Prep HS), placed first in the weight throw Friday (Feb. 25) with a toss of 57-6 1/2. She was ranked second coming in to the competition, behind Nicole Elliot of Northern Arizona, who placed second with a mark of 57-1 3/4.
"Erica's win in the weight throw was a plus," said women's head coach Marcia Mecklenburg. "She placed higher than she was ranked and that was nice. I know she didn't compete as well as she wanted to in the shot put, but she still placed second, which is great."
Kyle King had another all-conference performance Saturday when the junior placed third in the 3,000 with a time of 8.24.41. On Friday (Feb. 25), King won the 5,000 meters with a time of 15:23.63.
"I was really excited for Kyle," said distance coach Chris Zeller. "He really stepped up in a big-time meet like conference. We knew going into the 5K, that it was pretty wide open after Diego Estrada decided not to run. Kyle was one of four men who had a shot at winning it."
"Kyle has a great belief in himself, a great confidence, when he goes into races like that," Zeller continued. "It really showed last night. He ran the race strategically perfect. He was really patience by not trying to force the pace, and he waited until just the right time to make his move."
Andre Moore earned all-conference accolades in the triple jump, placing third with a personal-best mark of 47-7. The junior also broke into EWU's all-time best list, sitting in the 10th position. Kurt Williams placed sixth in the triple jump with a mark of 46-8.
"It was nice to see Andre break up the sweep by the Sacramento men," said Kerr. "He was very composed in a very competitive situation. I think he will look forward to a rematch with the two guys who beat him when we face them on their home track."
The men's 4x400 relay placed fourth with a time of 3:18.33. The team combined of Nick Olsson, Colin Green, Kramer Green and Brad Wall placed first in their heat. The women's team placed eighth with a time of 3:56.82.
Senior Timothy Armstrong placed fifth in the heptathlon, scoring 4,900 points. He was in the eighth-place position up to the last event in the seven-part competition, when the Spokane, Wash., native won the 1,000-meter run and scored 737 points in the event.
Steven Warner placed fourth in the 60-meter hurdles with a season-best time of 8.35.
Sophomore Zach Nielson placed fifth in the weight throw with a mark of 56-1.
Elise Jepsen and Taymussa Miller tied for fifth along with three other competitors in the high jump with marks of 5-3 3/4.
Freshman Morena Manucci placed eighth in the triple jump, leaping a distance of 37-11 1/2, which ranks her fifth on EWU's all-time best list.
In the mile run, Drake da Ponte placed eighth with a time of 4:23.61.
"As individuals, we did well," said Mecklenburg. "The team score is a little disappointing. We always want to place in the top half. We are a lot better than eighth."