March 19, 2008
Art Karas and Mattie Bridgmon have been selected by the athletics department as Eastern Washington University's Scholar-Athletes for the month of February.
Karas has had an outstanding spring season on many levels for the Eagle men's tennis squad. The junior from Portland, Ore., has recorded a 9-3 record so far and is currently tied with teammate Pannhara Mam for the school record for singles wins at 35. He won nine straight contests, each in straight sets, to reach that sum. The two have outlasted previous record holder Jason Chapman, who accumulated 33 victories from 1992-95. In doubles play, the Portland, Ore., native has seen success this spring, as well, as he has recorded a 7-3 mark in those matches. Included is a six-contest unbeaten streak. Karas also helped the Eagles to a school-record nine-match winning streak in the process. Eastern Washington is currently 9-2 overall and already has the fourth-highest win total in school annals. Off the tennis court, Karas has shown his aptitude in the classroom, as he carries a 3.27 grade point average. Also, the business major earned All-Academic honors from the Big Sky Conference last year. That same campaign, he also came within one of the school record for singles victories in a season with 15.
It was a historic day on Feb. 29 as Bridgmon picked up an elusive distance running title at the Big Sky Indoor Track and Field Championships at Holt Arena in Pocatello, Idaho. The junior from Laramie, Wyo., had the second-fastest time in EWU history to beat Northern Arizona's Amanda Boyd by nearly seven seconds. Bridgmon's time of 17:27.63 ranks only behind the 16:35.08 time of Eastern Athletics Hall of Fame member Kari McKay, who is the last Eastern competitor to win a Big Sky distance title indoors or outdoors. Bridgmon also placed fifth in the 3,000 in Pocatello with a time of 10:03.39, but earlier in the season she had a time of 9:48.87 which now ranks second in school history behind McKay's record of 9:44.98. Bridgmon is coming off a stellar fall campaign in cross country, finishing fifth at the Big Sky Championships, 20th at the NCAA West Regional Championships and 64th at the NCAA Championships. This is her second time honored as Scholar-Athlete of the Month, as she earned the accolades in November. An exercise science major with a 3.65 grade point average, Bridgmon plans to attend graduate school. She hopes to work with cardiac patients, doing lab research on the heart and lungs to see how they react to exercise.