Eastern shakes up the record books with ten new top-ten marks, grabs four new qualifying marks in what was a successful weekend in California
The Eastern Washington University track and field team was in true mid-season form at the Mt. SAC Relays on Thursday and Friday (April 16-17) and at the Beach Invitational on Friday and Saturday (April 17-18) where the record books were rearranged and a school record was tied in addition to four new qualifying marks.
Jeremy VanAssche, a freshman out of Eastmont HS in East Wenatchee, Wash., tied a 15-year-old school record in the 100 with a time of 10.43 to place second overall. VanAssche shares the record with Johnnie Williams who set it back in 1999. His success carried into the 200 where he hit the Big Sky Conference qualifying standard with a personal best of 21.44 to rank seventh in school history and place third overall.
Sarah Reiter got the Eagle's weekend off to a strong start, winning the Open-A section of the 10,000 at the Mt. SAC Relays on Thursday (April 16) with a time of 34:38.42. The sophomore's one minute and eighteen second personal record now ranks her second all-time at Eastern.
Jordan Arakawa, an NCAA qualifier last season in the hammer throw, also brought home a win from Mt. SAC -- the senior uncorked a season best in that event of 211-3.
The Mt. SAC Relays took place in Walnut, Calif., at the historic Wilmer Lodge Stadium. It was also where two of Eastern's four new qualifying marks took place. Katie Mahoney qualified in the 1,500 with a time of 4:28.69. At the Beach Invitational, Mahoney put together a solid season best in the 800 of 2:13.54 – just missing the Big Sky standard of 2:12.
Austin Upmeyer was Eastern's second qualifier, running a personal best of 48.81 in the 400.
Other Mt. SAC Relays highlights include Berenice Penaloza's personal best in the 10,000 of 36:25.61 to improve her sixth-place ranking at Eastern. Paula Gil-Echevarria ran 10:30.03 in the steeplechase, just one second off her best.
The majority of Eastern's success was on Saturday (April 18) at the Beach Invitational in Norwalk, Calif., at Cerritos College. Trenton Osborn, the reigning indoor long jump champion, made his outdoor season debut with a conference qualifying leap of 23-1 3/4.
Morena Mannucci had a lifetime best performance in the triple jump of 40-6, breaking the 40-foot barrier for the first time in her collegiate career to place fifth overall. The senior ranks second in school history and is just 1/4 of an inch off the school record.
Saturday's action was highlighted by the sprinters in what Kerr described as, "a truly special day with numerous great performances." Six of Eastern's ten new all-time top ten marks came in the sprinting events.
The women's 4x100-meter relay team of Paige Hammock, Erika Lombardo, Brooke Monson, and Rebecca Tarbert teamed up for Eastern's only victory of the day with a time of 46.91 to rank ninth in school history.
Brooke Monson had a personal best in the 400 of 56.18 to rank second in school history – breaking the 57-second barrier for the second time this season. She also ran a personal best of 25.21 in the 200.
Tarbert and Lombardo also put together solid performances in their individual events. Lombardo ran a personal best in the 100 of 12.11 and a time of 24.84 in the 200 to rank eighth all-time. Tarbert ran bests in the 100 (12.03) and the 200 (25.05). The duo just missed the Big Sky qualifying standards of 12.00 and 24.64.
Junior Obinna Nnadi had a solid best in the 100 of 10.80 to rank ninth all-time, just missing the BSC qualifying standard of 10.75.
Catie Arrigoni ran a personal best in the 5,000 of 17:32.32 to improve her 10th place ranking in the Eastern record books. The reigning Big Sky Conference 3,000-meter steeplechase champion also improved her season best time to 10:34.83 at the Mt. SAC Relays.
The men's distance crew also had the breakthrough they were looking for at the Beach Invitational. Sophomore Stephen Bottoms had a huge 11-second best in the 1,500 of 3:53.80 – breaking the four minute barrier for the first time in his career and just missing the qualifying standard of 3:51. Senior Aaron Brenton also had a 12-second personal best in the 3,000-meter steeplechase of 9:32.47. Austin Oser posted a 13-second best in the 5,000, crossing the finish line in 15:03.06.
Nick Stearns placed fifth overall in the pole vault, clearing the bar at 16-6 and striking close to his own school record of 16-8 3/4.
Aaron Cunningham had a toss of 51-8 1/2 in the shot put, inching him closer to the qualifying standard of 52-6. Morgan Romey led the way in the shot put for the women with a mark of 46-3 1/2, followed by Kaytlyn Coleman with 44-11. Coleman also placed ninth in the hammer throw (181-10).
The Eagles now have 14 women and ten men combine for 33 total qualifying marks. The 2015 Big Sky Conference Outdoor Championships will take place in Cheney, Wash., at Roos Field on May 13-16.
Eastern has two more meets left in the outdoor campaign prior to the championships – the Spokane Memorial Open (April 25) and the Oregon State High Performance Meet (May 1).
Additional Top Performances: Men
Brad Michael – 400 -- 48.84
Jose Garcia – 100 – 10.99
Phil Puccino – High Jump – 6-8 3/4.
Phil Puccino – Triple Jump – 47-7
Joey Payne – Javelin – 187-11
4x100 Relay – 41.54
Cody Humphrey – Discus – 160-3
Additional Top Performances: Women
Olivia Midles – Hammer – 189-2
Leiran Cornish – 400/200 – 57.66/25.73
Anandae Clark – Pole Vault – 12-0 1/2
Paula Gil-Echevarria – 1,500 – 4:35.20
Quoting Head Men's Coach Stan Kerr
"Jeremy's 10.43 was exceptional. I remember working with Johnnie Williams, who now shared the record with Jeremy, and thinking at that time it'd be a long time before anyone touched his 100-meter record."
"Jordan Arakawa showed that he is ready for the conference championships with his 211 foot hammer throw. The exciting thing with Jordan is that he'll be throwing from his home ring."
"Stephen Bottoms, Aaron Brenton, and Austin Oser all had solid distance performances that continue to bust open the door for even better runs in the next two weeks leading up to the conference championships."
"Nick Stearns had a good vault day, posting his best performance of the season."
"The competitions at Mt. SAC and the Beach Invitational over the last few days show how valuable it is to have these high caliber meets on our schedule. We still have work to before the championships, but this weekend's team effort was a great experience to be a part of."
Quoting Head Women's Coach Marcia Mecklenburg
"We had some outstanding performances from so many athletes on the team."
"Two of the best were Sarah Reiter in the 10,000 and Morena Mannucci in the triple jump. Sarah ran a huge personal best and won her section at the Mt. SAC Relays. Morena jumped just shy of the school record in the triple jump, going over 40 feet for the first time in her collegiate career."
"I was super excited about our women's 4x100 which won the Beach Invite and moved up to fifth on the Big Sky list."
"Our whole sprinter crew kept knocking out season best times or personal records every time they stepped on the track. They were loving the hot weather."
"I hate to single any of the sprinters out because they did such a great job as an event area, but kudos to our sprint captain Erika Lombardo who ran her first sub 25-second 200."