August 15, 2014

Track & Field Athletes & Teams Honored by USTFCCCA

Average grade point average for the women's team is 3.34 while the men turn in a 3.27 GPA

Seven Eastern Washington University track and field student-athletes have been selected to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic team for the 2013-14 school year. Additionally, both the men's and women's Track and Field teams were honored as All-Academic Teams.

To be honored as an All-Academic team, the student-athletes must carry a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher. The EWU men's track and field team was one of 116 teams honored and had a team GPA of 3.27, while the women joined the list of 208 teams with a GPA of 3.34.

Representing Eastern Washington among the 727 women from 193 institutions were freshman pole vaulter Courtney Bray, junior throwers Olivia Midles (weight and hammer) and Emma Murillo (weight, javelin, discus and hammer), and freshman distance runner Paula Gil-Echevarria.

Of the 496 men representing 165 institutions on the individual all-academics list, three represented Eastern Washington; junior thrower Jordan Arakawa (hammer, weight and discus), senior throwers Jon Buchanan (shot put, weight, hammer and discus) and Zack Nielsen (weight, hammer and discus).

To qualify, the student-athlete must have compiled a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 and have met either of the following athletic standards: for the indoor season, a student-athlete must have finished the regular season ranked in the national top 96 in an individual event or ranked in the national top 48 (collective listing) in a relay event on the official NCAA POP list provided by TFRRS.org; for the outdoor season, a student-athlete must have participated in any round of the NCAA Division I Championships (including preliminary rounds).

Bray is an early childhood education major and a 2013 graduate of Mt. Spokane (Wash.) High School. Midles is an exercise science major and 2010 graduate of Capital High School in Olympia, Wash. Murillo, a spanish education major, is from Kennewick, Wash., and graduated from Southridge High School in 2010. Gil-Echevarria hails from Madrid, Spain and is studying secondary education.

Arakawa also graduated from Capital High School and is an biology major with pre-med emphasis. Nielsen, also an exercise science major, graduated from Lindbergh High School in Renton, Wash. Buchanan is a 2009 graduate of East Valley High School in Yakima, Wash., and is studying management information systems.

Bray claimed the Big Sky outdoor pole vault title in the in her first appearance, then capped off her first collegiate season with a 36th place finish in the pole vault at the NCAA West Preliminary Round Meet. Bray achieved a personal best mark of 13-6 1/4 this season, ranking her third in EWU history.

Midles closed out her junior season by finishing 19th in the hammer throw at the NCAA West Prelim meet, four places higher than she was ranked going into the meet. Midles ranks second in school history for the hammer throw with a mark of 195-10 (2014 Pelluer Invitational) behind the record of 199-8 set in 2010 by Nicole Luckenbach.

 

Murillo earned second team All-America honors after concluding a strong postseason with a 16th-place finish in the javelin with a throw of 156-3 at the NCAA Championships. She had the fifth-best placing by an Eastern female athlete ever and became just the third to claim second team honors. Murillo entered the postseason with a seasonal best of 137-7 in the javelin, but managed impressive throws of 158-2 (first at Big Sky Championships), 156-11 (10th at West Regionals) and had her third straight meet with a mark exceeding the mid-150's on the NCAA's biggest stage.

To cap off an impressive first season with EWU, Gil-Echevarria finished 14th overall at the World Junior Championships in July. She raced in the finals of the steeplechase against some of best competitors in the world, posting a time of 10:56:51 while representing her native Spain. She had advanced to the finals with a time of 10:17.17 to rank as the second-fastest time in Spanish under-20 history and besting her top personal mark of 10:29.03.

Her 10:29.03 time for EWU in the steeplechase is third in school history behind teammates Catie Arrigoni (10:14.99) and Katie Mahoney (10:17.34). Gil-Echevarria placed fifth at the Big Sky Conference Outdoor Championships in Flagstaff, Ariz., to complete a 1-3-5 finish for the Eagles.

Arakawa placed 12th in the hammer at the West Regional meet with a toss of 202-4 to nab the final spot in Eugene where he finished 23rd after fouling his first two attempts.  Arakawa was a standout all season for the Eagles, earning a Big Sky title in the weight throws indoors, a second-place finish outdoors in the hammer, and five Big Sky Athlete of the Week selections (four outdoors, one indoors).

 

In his final season, Nielsen finished 16th in the hammer throw at regionals, just missing qualification for the national meet. Earlier in the season he set a personal best in the hammer throw of 203-5 which ranks him third in school history. At the Beach Invitational, Nielsen got off a personal-best throw of 170-2 in the discus, which ranks 10th in school history.

Competing in his final conference meet, Buchanan placed first in the shot put with an outdoor best of 57-11 3/4 at the Big Sky Outdoor Championships. That mark moved Buchanan up to fourth in school history. He advanced to the NCAA West Preliminary rounds in both the shot put and hammer and finished his career by improving on both of his previous rankings. Buchanan was 21st in the shot put (57-2 1/4) and 40th in the hammer (183-10).

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