Monterola Shatters Big Sky Conference Pole Vault Record in Seattle

Seven more Eagles qualify for the Big Sky Conference Championships

It was only a matter of time. 

Junior Keisa Monterola broke the Big Sky Conference indoor record for the women’s pole vault, with a jump of 14-4 on Saturday (Jan. 28), at the UW Team Invitational in Seattle, Wash. The jump automatically qualified her for the NCAA Championships on Mar. 9 in Boise, Idaho.

“The whole Dempsey Center wanted to see a national class jumper perform this weekend,” said head coach Stan Kerr.

And perform she did. Along with breaking the conference record, originally held by Montana State’s Elouise Rudy (14-1 1/4), Monterola improved on her EWU school record and the indoor Venezuelan record. The Clackamas Community College transfer is now just a heartbeat away from the Olympic B-standard of 14-5 1/4.

Monterola wasn’t the only women’s vaulter to have a big meet. Robin Taylor earned herself a new personal record of 12-6 1/4, good enough to be one of Eastern’s seven athletes who qualified for the Big Sky Conference Championships. 

The championships will be held in Flagstaff, Ariz., Feb. 24-25.

“Robin is a talented vaulter,” said Kerr. “We’ve been watching her develop for a bit, and she finally punched through her plateau. She came off the pit with a mile-wide grin on her face. She’ll never forget that feeling. 13 feet is her next goal.”

On the men’s side, Kersee Lind broke his own heptathlon school record of 5,132 with a score of 5,198.

“Kersee is a very seasoned competitor,” said Kerr. “He is very motivated, and is now ready to resume training and get ready for the indoor championships. There’s a lot of good heptathlon athletes in the conference this year, but he’s ready to lace up and go after it.”

Among other qualifiers over the weekend include Brad Wall, who now sits at the top of the conference, and 41st in the country, in the 400-meter dash. He ran a time of 47.72. Brad Michael (49.03) and Michael Okoro (48.52) also hit qualifying times in the same event.

Eastern’s distance runners had a phenomenal showing, with three men qualifying in an event. Graham Vaux qualified in the 3,000 with a time of 8:26.33. Tim Pettit and Jordan Curnutt both qualified in the 800, with times of 1:52.93 and 1:53.13, respectively.

Jordan Arakawa also punched his ticket to the conference championships in the weight throw, with an automatic qualifying-distance of 58-3 1/4. 

“Team wise, it’s really nice to see our added depth in our programs,” said Kerr. “It’s a tactic used to win the conference championship. You need to have three people score in each event. We moved solidly in the direction this weekend.”

Men’s Big Sky Conference Championship Qualifiers

Michael Okoro – 55-meter dash – 6.48

Steven Warner – 55-meter hurdles – 7.72

Steven Warner – 60-meter hurdles – 8.28

Michael Okoro – 200-meter run – 21.90

Michael Okoro – 400-meter run – 48.52

Brad Wall – 400-meter run – 47.72

Brad Michael – 400-meter run – 49.03

Tim Pettit – 800-meter run – 1:52.93

Jordan Curnutt – 800-meter run – 1:53.13

Bowe Ebding – 3,000-meter run – 8:31.06

Graham Vaux – 3,000-meter run – 8:26.33

Kyle King – 1-mile – 4:12.2

Cody Fishel – high jump – 6-08

C.J. Wright – high jump – 6-06 3/4

Zach Nielsen – weight throw – 56-10 3/4

Jordan Arakawa – weight throw – 58-3 1/4

Marlyn Anderson – shot put – 51-9

Marlyn Anderson – weight throw – 52-4 1/2

Jon Buchanan – shot put – 52-2 1/2

Kersee Lind – heptathlon – 5,198

Women’s Big Sky Conference Championship Qualifiers

Michelle Coombs – 55-meter hurdles – 8.70

Shene Davis – triple jump – 37-09 1/2

Shene Davis – long jump – 18-6

Morena Mannucci – triple jump – 38-0

Keisa Monterola – pole vault – 14-4 1/4

Robin Taylor – pole vault – 12-06 1/4

More on Monterola

Monterola made her Eastern debut on Dec. 3 at the Candy Cane Invitational. On her first jump, she broke Eastern’s pole vault record with a height of 13-11 1/4.  She has also been named the Big Sky women’s Field Athlete of the Week twice.

Monterola is also the owner of the Venezuelan national record. She has competed for her country on numerous occasions, including the Pan American Games this past fall. She placed fifth with a mark of 14-1 1/4.

Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Monterola placed first in the pole vault at the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) Championships while competing for Clackamas Community College. She had a personal-best vault of 14-2 1/2 – a mark that improved the sophomore’s Venezuelan national record. She also placed first in the long jump with a mark of 18-0 1/2.

Monterola also claimed titles at the 2009 NWAACC Championships in the pole vault (12-8 1/4) and the long jump (17-8 1/4). While utilizing her redshirt season in 2010, Monterola won the gold medal at the Central American and Caribbean Games, where she set the games record with a mark of 13-9 1/4. In high school, Monterola was the 2005 IAAF World Youth silver medalist and South American Junior Champion. She cleared 13-11 1/4 in both competitions, setting new meet records in both.

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