Eagles meet three conference qualifying standards and walk away with nine event winners at first outdoor meet
The outdoor season is officially underway for the Eastern Washington University track and field team as it grabbed four Big Sky Conference qualifying marks at the Buc Scoring Invite this Thursday and Friday (March 19-20) in Spokane, Wash.
Both the men's and women's teams defeated Central Washington, Gonzaga, and Spokane Community College in dual meet scoring, but fell to meet host Whitworth.
After redshirting the indoor season, senior Nick Stearns won the men's pole vault with a mark of 15-11 to qualify for the Big Sky Conference Championships.
Anandae Clark was solid in the pole vault on the women's side with a first place jump of 12-3 ½ to book her ticket to the conference championships.
In his first meet for the Eagles since the 2013 outdoor season, senior Cody Humphrey qualified for conference in the shot put with a throw of 54-1 ¼.
Coming off his fifth place finish at the indoor conference championships, Chase Davis also had a solid seasoning opening jump of 15-5.
Paige Hammock opened her sophomore outdoor season with a victory in the 400-meter hurdles with a personal best of 1:04.23.
Freshman Tierra White, fresh off her Big Sky indoor title, started her outdoor season off strong by placing first in the high jump with a mark of 5-4 ¼ to tie for 10th all-time at Eastern.
Freshmen Rebecca Tarbert and Dominique Butler each had two victories in their respective events. Tarbert won the 100 (12.31) and 200 (25.51), while Butler placed first in the long jump (16-10 ¾) and triple jump (36-4 ¾).
Janessa Day, Erika Lombardo, Kendra Fields, and Rebecca Tarbert teamed up for a win in the 4x100-meter relay with a time of 47.87.
Bridgette Underwood led the way for the Eagles in the throws with a second-place finish in the javelin with a mark of 133-2.
On the men's side, Obi Nnadi won the 100 with a time of 10.99. Freshman Jeremy VanAssche (11.03) and senior Blair Bomber (11.08) finished second and third in that event, respectively.
Sophomore Austin Upmeyer recorded two personal bests in the 100 (11.27) and the 200 (22.22).
Kyle Caviezel, VanAssche, Bomber, and Nnadi won the 4x100-meter relay of the season with a blazing time of 41.58.
The Eagles will send a select number of athletes to the Texas Relay in Austin, Texas, on March 25-28. The rest of the team will travel to Missoula, Mont., for the Al Manuel Invitational on March 27-28.
Quoting Head Men's Coach Stan Kerr
"This meet was a great way to kick off the outdoor season, we had a number of solid marks."
"Nick Stearns was terrific in his return to the pole vault today. He competed in a small field with a lot of decent competitors. He was solid, and we are happy to have him back."
"Much like Nick, we are happy to have Cody back. The men's team is returning to full strength."
"Our men's 4x100-meter relay was solid. That was the fastest we have ever ran this early in the season."
"Obi had a solid win in the 100. Jeremy's blocks slipped at the start of the 100, but he still continued to place second – he performed with courage. Austin also recorded two solid personal bests, which is great to do this early."
"We also had a few rookies in the steeplechase. That is a tough event, and they ran it well for it being early in the season. I am looking forward to their improvements."
Quoting Head Women's Coach Marcia Mecklenburg
"The Buc Scoring Invite was an opportunity for the younger athletes to get some meet experience before the team heads to Montana for the Al Manuel Inviational."
"This meet gave our 4x100-meter relay an opportunity to run and they did well, winning the event with a good, early season time."
"Our sprinters, hurdlers, jumpers, and javelin throwers had some good early season performances that they can build on as the year progresses. Overall, it was fun to get the outdoor track season underway."