Women's throws and distance highlights a solid showing at the UW Invitational
It was a solid and record-breaking weekend for the Eastern Washington University track and field team when it competed at the UW Invitational on Friday and Saturday (Jan. 30-31) in Seattle, Wash., at the Dempsey Indoor Center.
The Eagles had three athletes obtain five new qualifying marks this weekend for the Big Sky Conference Championships, bringing the season total to 16 – 12 for the women and four for the men. In addition, Eastern had eight athletes rearrange the record books.
Sophomore Paula Gil-Echevarria broke an 11-year-old school record in the mile with a time of 4:54.37. The previous record was 4:54.67 set by Caitlin Prunty in 2004.
Friday's portion of the meet got off to a strong start when distance runners Sarah Reiter and Catie Arrigoni qualified for the Big Sky Conference championships in the 5,000. Reiter's time of 16:47.48 improves her second-place ranking in the Eastern record books, just 12 seconds away from the school record of 16:35 set by Kari McKay in 1992. Arrigoni's time of 17:11.83 moves her up to third all-time at Eastern. Their times cross-qualify them for the 3,000 at the championships as well.
Emma Murillo and Kaytlyn Coleman finished first and second in the women's weight throw on Friday evening. They each had personal bests that moved them up in the Eastern record books. Murillo had the second-farthest throw in school history of 61-8 1/4, while Coleman had a toss of 59-7 3/4 to rank third all-time.
Freshman Rebecca Tarbert booked her ticket to the conference championships with a time of 7.65 in the 60-meter dash to rank second all-time. Tarbert qualified for the elite finals in the event and finished eighth overall.
Katie Mahoney was the only distance runner to compete in two events this weekend, and she posted two personal records in the mile (4:56.07) and the 800 (2:17.60) to rank fourth and 10th all-time, respectively.
Newly minted Big Sky Athlete of the Week, Courtney Bray, had a personal best jump of 12-11 3/4 to rank third all-time at Eastern.
Janessa Day ran a personal record in the 400-meter dash with a time of 57.99 -- improving her season best time by over two seconds.
On the men's side, freshmen Jeremy VanAssche and Tyree Fort each qualified for the prelims in the 60-meter dash. Fort ran a personal best of 6.96 to rank sixth all-time at Eastern, while VanAssche ran 6.95 – just missing his personal best of 6.92.
Aaron Brenton made his indoor debut as an Eagle in the 5,000, and ran a personal-best time of 15:11.48.
Andrew Morgan equaled his personal record in the high jump with a leap of 6-4 3/4.
Eastern will stay close to home for their next competition at the WSU Invitational on Feb. 6-7.
Quoting Head Men's Coach Stan Kerr
"I felt this meet delivered several quality performances. It also served up lessons in being ready to compete at a high level. The national and world leading performances that were a part of this meet provided our team with inspiration to keep training and competing hard."
"Aaron Brenton has started to emerge as a conference contender for our men's distance squad. He had a personal record in the 5,000, and then doubled back to race the 800 in the DMR. He showed great grit and competitive spirit."
"Our throwers continue to shine. It's terrific to see their work pay off."
"Andrew Morgan had a great day in the high jump. He is on track to qualify sooner rather than later for the indoor championships."
"Tyree Fort and Jeremy VanAssche had solid sprint performances and showed their blossoming ability to race through qualifying rounds. The 400-meter crew encountered the difficulty and the aggressive nature of competing on indoor tracks."
Quoting Head Women's Coach Marcia Mecklenburg
"The UW Invitational turned out to be a great meet for us – highlighted by Emma Murillo's win in the women's weight throw and Paula Gil-Echevarria's school record in the mile."
"We also added conference qualifiers with Catie Arrigoni and Sarah Reiter in the 5,000, and Rebecca Tarbert in the 60-meter dash."
"Another highlight was Kaytlyn Coleman's second-place finish in the weight throw. To be able to place first and second in a meet as prestigious as this one in a huge accomplishment for those two."
"Other performances that stood out for us included Janessa Day's time of 57.99 in the 400. That is almost two seconds faster than her previous indoor mark this season, and two seconds is a lot of time in the sprints."
"A meet doesn't go by that we aren't mentioning a pole vaulter. This meet it was Courtney Bray again. She continues to clear her best mark of 12-11 3/4, so I know there is something big in her future."
"Overall, it was another opportunity for good competition and we took advantage of it."