May 16, 2008
Bonnie Millard, Erika Kirley-Price and Aaron Mettler won Big Sky Conference championships in their respective events as the Eastern Washington University track and field teams competed Friday (May 16) at the 2008 Big Sky Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Sacramento, Calif.
With a day left of competition, Eastern's women are currently in a three-way tie for second place in the team scoring with 36 points and the men are sixth with 30 points. Idaho State is the current women's leader with 44 points and host Sacramento State leads the men's competition with 61 points.
In a meet that took place in 100-degree heat, Millard successfully defended her discus title with a throw of 152-9. That mark and place qualified the junior from Priest River, Idaho, for the NCAA West Regionals (May 30-31). Her career-best throw of 155-0 came in 2007 at the BSC Championships when she won the event, one of four Big Sky discus titles the Eagles have now won.
"It was a great meet for Bonnie because she did not come in ranked No. 1," said head women's coach Marcia Mecklenburg. "She was the defending conference champion and it is hard to be a conference repeat. She had her winning throw on her first attempt and nobody came back."
Kirley-Price won Eastern's first-ever Big Sky title in the women's hammer throw with a toss of 179-1. The mark and place qualified her for West Regionals. Her throw ranks her third in school history behind teammate Nicole Luckenbach, a sophomore from Mill Creek, Wash.
"That was one of the most exciting things ever," said Mecklenburg of the 1-2 finish. "The wonderful thing about it is that both Nicole and Erika came in very focused. From the first throw on they were one-two. It was an exciting competition."
"It was a great way to go out for Erika," added Mecklenburg of the senior from Kennewick, Wash. "It was her fifth year and it was her best finish. She was seventh last year in the hammer so it was really fun to watch her improve on that."
Luckenbach was two inches behind Kirley-Price with a throw of 178-11 to finish second at the conference championships. She had already qualified for West Regionals with a throw of 179-6 to rank second all-time at EWU.
Mattie Bridgmon had a career-best in the 10,000 meters with a time of 36:58.52 to finish third. The Big Sky's 5,000 meter indoor champion, Bridgmon's 10k time ranks her fourth in school history.
On the men's side, Mettler had a throw of 205-6 to win Eastern's sixth Big Sky men's javelin championship -- EWU's fifth title in the last 10 years. The freshman from Walla Walla, Wash., won by an inch over Montana State's Nick Lam. Mettler qualified earlier this season for the West Regionals with a throw of 207-9.
"You can't ask anything more from a freshman," said Mecklenburg. "First two throws were good and made to finals. He went into finals in second place and on his first throw took the lad and no one could catch him."
"It was a dream day for the throw crew," added Mecklenburg.
Other Eagles who finished in the top eight include Adam Stewart (high jump/6-7/3rd), Paul Limpf (10,000 meters/30:50.14/5th), Geoff Penrod (long jump/22-11 3/4/6th) and Armand Hopkins (long jump/22-11 1/4/7th).
The final day of the BSC Championships are Saturday (May 16) with finals in the remainder of the field events and most running events.
Eagles who advanced to Saturday's finals with performances in Friday's preliminaries include Chad Butorac (47.75/400 meters), Krystal Deyo (12.18/100 meters), Sarah Frey (1:01.71/400-meter hurdles) and Shannon Long (24.87/200 meters).
Long's time ranks seventh in school history.