Jordan Arakawa and Tierra White Claim Big Sky Titles in Flagstaff

Jordan Arakawa and Tierra White Claim Big Sky Titles in Flagstaff

Arakawa is a back-to-back conference champion and women score the most amount of points in school history with a fourth-place finish

The Eastern Washington University track and field team finished their indoor campaign on a high note on the final day of the Big Sky Conference Championships on Saturday (Feb. 28) in Flagstaff, Ariz.

On the third day of competition, the Eagles walked away with four all-conference (top three finish) performances, including Big Sky champions in the men's weight throw and women's high jump.

The women's team earned the best finish in school history as they tied for fourth place with Portland State, and scored a school-record 68 points. The men's team placed seventh with a total of 36.5 points.

"What an amazing meet. We had so many outstanding performances. I couldn't be more proud of our team and our coaching staff," said head women's coach Marcia Mecklenburg.

Jordan Arakawa became a back-to-back conference champion in the weight throw with a personal best of 66-1 1/2 to rank second in school history. The senior wrapped up his indoor career with a total of three all-Big Sky accolades.

"Jordan repeating as a conference champion in the weight throw was a giant highlight for our team and program today. I feel repeating as a conference champion speaks to Jordan's talent as an athlete and to his character," said head men's coach Stan Kerr.

Tierra White, a freshman out of Rogers high school in Spokane, Wash., shocked the conference when she won the women's high jump with a personal best mark of 5-7 3/4 to rank fourth all-time at Eastern. White entered the competition ranked fifth with a personal record of 5-6.

"Tierra had the meet of her life. To come in ranked fifth and then to win the high jump with a personal best as a freshman was a magical moment," said Mecklenburg.

On her final jump of her last indoor season, Morena Mannucci set the school record in the triple jump with a mark of 39-5 3/4 to place third overall. The previous school record of 39-2 1/2 was set in 1998 by Taneka Sauls.

"Morena needed to have that school record jump in order for the team to have a shot of placing fourth," said Mecklenburg.

In the women's mile, sophomore Paula Gil-Echevarria earned her first individual all-conference performance with a time of 5:03.91 (pre-altitude adjusted) to finish third.

After finishing third in the weight throw the night before, Kaytlyn Coleman finished fifth in the shot put with a toss of 47-0 1/4 to rank third all-time indoors at EWU.

Chase Davis had his best performance of the season at the right time, as he tied for fifth in the men's pole vault with a jump of 15-9 3/4 -- a new personal best that ranks fourth all-time.

Freshman Jeremy VanAssche capped off a successful first indoor season with a fifth-place finish in the 60-meter dash (6.94).

Brad Michael, Austin Upmeyer, Nick Anthony, and Blair Bomber teamed up for a fourth-place finish in the 4x400 relay with a time of 3:15.54 to rank tenth in school history.

"The 4x400 may have been the surprise of the meet. Brad, Austin, Nick, and Blair put together a performance that had them just shy of making it to the awards podium," said Kerr.

Paige Hammock, Erika Lombardo, Janessa Day, and Leiran Cornish also recorded a top ten mark in the 4x400 with a time of 3:54.97.

Phil Puccino (triple jump, eighth), Sarah Reiter (3k, seventh), and Katie Mahoney (mile, sixth) also scored key points for the Eagles in their respective events.

Jozie Kimes rallied back from her performance in the pentathlon on Thursday with a personal-best in the high jump of 5-4 1/2.

Eastern finished off the 2015 BSC Indoor Championships with a grand total of ten all-conference performances, including three Big Sky Champions. The Eagles also recorded 15 new top-ten marks, and several more personal bests.

"The team performance was a great way to finish the indoor season and propel us into the outdoor season," said Mecklenburg.

EWU track and field will resume action on March 25 at the Texas Relays in Austin, Texas, and on March 27 at the Al Manuel Invitational in Missoula, Mont.

"There are a lot of great takeaways from the last two days. The coaches and team feel good wrapping up the indoor season and transitioning to the outdoor circuit. We're looking forward to getting home and excited about the next championship being in Cheney," said Kerr.

Eastern is set to host the 2015 outdoor championships on May 13-16 at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash.

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