Feb. 29, 2008
Eastern Washington University's Mattie Bridgmon picked up an elusive distance running title when she won the 5,000 meters Friday (Feb. 29) on the first day of the Big Sky Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships at Holt Arena in Pocatello, Idaho.
The junior from Laramie, Wyo., had the second-fastest time in school 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 Hall of Famer Kari McKay, who is the last Eastern competitor to win a Big Sky distance title indoors or outdoors.
McKay won the 3,000 and 5,000 in 1992 en route to winning Track Athlete of the Meet honors. The only other Big Sky distance running title won by an Eagle -- male or female -- was by McKay in 1991 in the 3,000 meters outdoors.
Bridgmon's 10 team points and a second-place finish by Erica Chaney in the shot put helped the Eastern women place sixth with 20 team points after the first six of 17 events in the competition. The men scored seven points through six events to currently rank seventh as the event concludes Saturday (March 1) with finals in most running events and some field events.
Chaney had the second-best throw in school history with an effort of 48-10 1/4 to trail winner Candice Bryant of Northern Arizona (49-4 1/2). Chaney, a sophomore from Spokane's Gonzaga Prep High School, ranks only behind the school record of 50-11 set by Nancy Kuiper in 1991.
Eastern's other two points were scored by the distance medley team than placed seventh with a time of 12:48.60.
Only one Eastern female advanced past preliminaries that took place on Friday. Shannon Long had the fifth-fastest time in the 200 with a clocking of 25.10 that ranks third in school history. It's the fastest time by an Eagle in 13 years since Joyce Rainwater (23.82) and Christian White (25.02) recorded the top two times in school history in 1995.
Long, a junior from Richland, Wash., also had a 7.91 time in the 60 meters that ranks sixth in school history. But she and teammate Shene Davis (7.97) failed to advance to Saturday's finals.
Other Eastern female competitors on Friday included Chelsi Friese (9.21 in the 60-meter hurdles prelims), Amber Nickelson (18:44.66 in the 5,000 to place ninth), Kiri Garruto (18:52.22 in the 5,000 to place 10th) and Irene Lowe (no height in the high jump).
For the Eastern men, Curtis Suver scored six team points with a third-place finish in the 5,000 meters with a time of 14:49.08. He holds the school record of 14:03.64 set earlier this season. Eastern's distance medley relay team scored a point with an eighth-place finish (10:57.19).
Also, 400-meter runner Kyle Ulrey and 800-meter runner Erik Walter both advanced to Saturday's finals. Ulrey had a time of 48.84 (fourth-fastest) and Walter had a time of 1:55.82 (sixth). Cody Bradwell had a 2:00.52 time in the 800 and failed to advance. Steve Keith had a 6.99 time in the prelims of the 60 meters to rank fourth in school history, but he also failed to advance to the finals.
Other Eastern male competitors on Friday included Mike Uhlenkott (15-5 3/4 to finish ninth in the pole vault), Cody Irby (51-2 3/4 to place ninth in the weight throw), Andre Lester (44-9 3/4 to finish 13th in the weight throw) and Bowe Edbing (15:56.48 to place 16th in the 5,000).