King Starts His Final Big Sky Championship with Winning Performance in 10K
Steven Warner nearly breaks school record in 110 hurdles and Mari Bingham earns All-Big Sky honors in the discus in Bozeman
Senior Kyle King made history Friday (May 11) on the first day of his final Big Sky Conference Outdoor Championship as a member of the Eastern Washington University track and field team.
En route to winning Eastern’s first-ever outdoor men’s distance title, the senior from Coupeville, Wash., was crowned conference champion in the 10,000 meters in Bozeman, Mont. He finished the race in 30:52.23 to win by nearly 16 seconds.
Since Eastern became a member of the Big Sky Conference in the 1987-88 season, no Eagle has won a men’s title outdoors of longer than 800 meters. King, who is set to transfer to Oklahoma after the season and compete as a graduate student, will be running in the 5,000 meters on the final day of the meet on Saturday. He was champion in that event at the Big Sky Conference Indoor Championships in 2011.
“Kyle just ran a very sound, tactical race,” said men’s head coach Stan Kerr. “He didn’t realize he was just one second away from setting the stadium record, which would have been the icing on the cake.
“But winning a championship is a rare feat,” added Kerr. “Kyle had some outstanding competition and he rose to the occasion. It’s good when the team leaders step up.”
Mari Bingham was the only other Eagle to earn all-conference honors (top three finish) during the first day of the championships, as her discus distance of 148-7 cemented her in third place.
“Mari’s mark and third-place finish was a great surprise,” said women’s head coach Marcia Mecklenburg. “It was definitely something the team really needed.”
Steven Warner also had an impressive day, as his qualifying time in the 110-meter hurdles of 14.29 puts him second in school history behind the record of 14.28 set by Michael Dwyer in 1998. Tim Armstrong also qualified for Saturday’s finals with a time of 14.88 to place him seventh in prelims.
“Steven had a phenomenal run,” said Kerr. “He is a goal-driven, competitive athlete. He has a great lane assignment for the finals, so he might take care of that school record tomorrow.”
Cody Fishel finished in a three-way tie for third place -- and all-conference honors -- in the high jump, but finished fourth in the event because he had more missed attempts. He jumped 6-6 3/4.
On the women’s side, Shene Davis finished fifth in the long jump with a mark of 18-5 3/4. Also, Whitney Leavitt advanced to Saturday’s 200-meter final after finishing third in the prelims with a time of 24.59, which places her fifth in Eastern history.
Other scorers for the men include Marlyn Anderson (sixth in the shot put, 52-4 3/4), Max Pratt (sixth in the javelin, 180-6) and Nick Stearns (eighth in the pole vault, 15-5).
Brad Michael (400), Michael Okoro (100 and 200), Armon Blackwell (400 hurdles) and Kramer Green (400 hurdles) all advanced to Saturday’s finals in their respective events.
The men’s and women’s teams are both in seventh place at the end of day one, with 25 and 10 points, respectively. Montana State (80) is leading the men and Sacramento State (63) is leading the women.
“Hopefully we can get more athletes on top of that podium tomorrow, including Kyle,” added Kerr. “Every point counts in the Big Sky Conference Championships -- whether it is first place or eighth.”