Eastern Notches Handful of Qualifiers in Outdoor Opener

Michelle Coombs highlights list of six Eagles to earn automatic bid to conference championships

It was a solid start for the Eastern Washington University men’s and women’s track and field outdoor season at the Dusty Lane Open in Spokane on Saturday (Mar. 17), as the Eagles saw six athletes qualify for conference championships.

The Big Sky Conference Outdoor Championships will be May 11-12 in Bozeman, Mont.

Brad Michael (400 meters), Steven Warner (110 hurdles), Michelle Coombs (javelin), Cody Humphrey (discus), Haley Tank (javelin) and Taylor Walker (javelin) all qualified for the championships.

Coombs won the javelin with a throw of 147-11, the first time she’s thrown in nearly two years. As a freshman, she was the Big Sky champion in the event, but injuries have slowed her down since then. Tank (133-10) and Walker (134-1) also placed in the event.

“It was good to see Coombs qualify in her first meet back,” said men’s head coach Stan Kerr. “She’s a fighter, so it’s always good to see her rewarded with success.”

Michael, the freshman phenom, continued where he left off from the indoor season, by winning both the 200- and 400-meter dashes. His time of 48.18 met the qualifying mark in the 400. During the indoor season, Michael broke the school record in the 400 and was part of the record-breaking 4x400 relay team. He did not qualify in the 200.

Warner, the Big Sky Indoor champion in the 60-meter hurdles, placed second in the 110 hurdles with a time of 14.91.

Humphrey, who is also an offensive lineman for EWU’s football team, captured fifth place in the discus with his throw of 156-11.

Outside of the qualifiers, Kerr mentioned how many athletes just barely missed the conference qualifying mark. Nick Stearns, the all-conference pole vaulter, just barely missed hitting his mark in the event. Also of note was Nicole Nida, who ran very strong times in the 200 (first place, 25.78) and 400 (second, 58.16), but did not get the automatic standard for conference.

NCAA All-American Keisa Monterola did not compete in the meet.

“The meet went well for us,” said Kerr. “The athletes performed well for this point in the outdoor season.

“It’s a promising start to the outdoor season,” continued Kerr. “I’m proud of the team members who did compete. It’s a good omen going into the outdoor season posting marks like this on a less than ideal (weather) track meet day. Competing in this meet is going to pay big dividends as we go through the season.”

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