Eastern Splits up Squads for Stanford Invitational and Sam Adams Classic

Eastern Splits up Squads for Stanford Invitational and Sam Adams Classic

Regional track qualifiers to compete in California, while the remainder of the team will compete close to home in Spokane

For the second week in a row, the Eastern Washington University track and field team will split up for this week's competitions. A select crew of distance runners and sprinters will head to Palo Alto, Calif., for the Stanford Invitational on April 3, while the majority of the squad will stay close to home for the 10th annual Sam Adams Classic on April 4 in Spokane, Wash.

Head coaches Marcia Mecklenburg and Stan Kerr will send to California an elite crew of distance runners who combined for 43 points at the 2014 Outdoor Big Sky Championships.

Paula Gil-Echevarria and Katie Mahoney will join Big Sky Conference champion and school record holder Catie Arrigoni in the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Friday evening. Mahoney will also compete in the 1,500 – she owns the school record in that event with a time of 4:24.05.

Berenice Penaloza and Big Sky Cross Country champion Sarah Reiter will compete in the 5,000 at the San Francisco Distance Carnival on Friday.

Brad Michael, a seasoned competitor in the 400, will open his senior season in that event at Stanford. Freshman Jeremy VanAssche will compete in the 100.

The majority of the team will stay close to home for the Sam Adams Classic, which will be hosted by Whitworth in Spokane. Athletes competing at that meet will get another chance to qualify for the Big Sky Championships and hit marks that will earn them a spot on the travel squad for upcoming meets.

Eastern has attained 11 Big Sky qualifying marks on the season, with six for the women and five for the men. The 2015 Big Sky Outdoor Championships will be hosted by Eastern on May 13-16 at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash.

The Stanford Invite kicks off Friday at 9 a.m. -- live results for the meet will be available at http://www.rtspt.com/events/stanford/invite2015/. The San Francisco Distance Carnival live results may be found at http://redcaptiming.com/.

Action in Spokane Saturday will start at 8:30 a.m. (field) and 10:30 a.m. (track).

Quoting Head Men's Coach Stan Kerr

On the Stanford Invitational

"We're taking seven athletes total, five women and two men. Brad Michael and Jeremy VanAssche are athletes that have hit regional marks in their events in the past – Jeremy hit his in high school."

"It's the same philosophy we used for the Texas Relays – we want to get athletes in the atmosphere of a big meet with big competition. So when we compete at the Big Sky Championships they're educated and don't feel like a deer in the headlights."

"Brad has been there before, he knows what he's stepping into and the quality of the fields. This will be the biggest meet of Jeremy's life – he's a very confident young man and his goal is to make the finals. He will have a great race."

"Brad had a great workout yesterday and he's ready to go to Stanford. He'll be with guys who are faster than him, about his speed, and maybe a tick slower, it's a great atmosphere for him to really kick off his senior outdoor season."

"This is the joy of coaching in a Division I conference. You get exposure to great competition and get to watch national leaders in the PAC 12, ACC, and SEC compete in their events. Brad has seen all of those athletes before and knows there will be athletes who can absolutely fly. We'll see how he kicks off his season and I think we'll see a really quality opening time from him."

On the Sam Adams Classic

"A lot of our athletes had never been to the Pine Bowl when we competed there last time and are really looking forward to going back. They were surprised with the setting and put up a lot of great times going into spring break."

"We won't be running relays this week so the athletes can focus on their individual events. The 400-meter runners will be trying out the 100 and 200 to test out their range."

"Phil Puccino led the jumps crew last week. He's a very seasoned competitor and now has a chance to work on his technique this week and focus on what he needs to do to get to regionals. In the pole vault, I'd like to see Chase Davis add another foot or another foot and a half to his jump. And then we'll have Trenton Osborn in the long jump and start his journey to another Big Sky title."

"In the sprints, we'll be moving athletes up or down from their marquee events and work on getting in some higher speed workouts. But if they happen to hit a good time, that will only add depth to our team at the Big Sky Championships."

"In the distance events, everyone is getting healthier. It was good to see Stephen Bottoms, Dallas Snider, and Austin Oser really broke out last meet."

"Whitworth has great throwing facilities. Jordan Arakawa, Cody Humphrey, and Aaron Cunningham should all throw very well there."

Quoting Head Coach Marcia Mecklenburg

On the Stanford Invitational

"This meet is a focus for the distance crew. Stanford is always really strong in the distance events so it's a great opportunity for our regional distance qualifiers to compete against the best teams in the nation -- much like Texas was for our pole vaulters and throwers."

"Katie Mahoney is coming off a great a meet at the Al Manuel last week and I think that will set her up to run great races at Stanford. Catie Arrigoni has been coming off of injuries, so this will be a good meet to see where she is."

"Just to show how high quality Stanford is, our Big Sky Cross Country champion Sarah Reiter didn't make it in to the meet, so she will compete along with Berenice at another meet with high quality fields. I think they're both ready to do well."

On the Sam Adams Classic

"We're always going after conference qualifying marks, and this is another opportunity. It's a great meet for us at this point in the year. We're just getting into spring quarter, so not having to travel will get them settled into classes and that's a big plus for us."

"This is their chance. We're getting ready to pick our travel squads for the Mt. SAC Relays and Long Beach Invitational, and it will be based on marks from this year. This meet will be their chance to show us what they can do and that they deserve to be on that travel squad."

"There will be teams there with good hammer throwers that will create some competition for our hammer throwers. Whitworth has some of the top Division III throwers in the nation, so it will be good to have some very strong competition in the shot put and javelin as well."

"Morena Mannucci is coming off of a great opener -- hopefully she can keep inching her way up to 40 feet in the triple jump. Tierra White is getting more and more experience in the high jump and getting more confident in her jumps. This will be another good experience for and a chance to get another competition under her belt."

"I know most of our distance runners will be in California, but the rest of our distance crew will still have opportunities here. It will be a good chance for Mayra Chavez to move up to that elite level."

"For a freshman, Rebecca Tarbert has been competing very well. If we can get her under 12 seconds in the 100, that would be great."

Men's Qualifiers/Records

Big Sky Championships – May 13-16– Cheney, Wash.
NCAA Championships Preliminary Round – May 28-30 – Austin, Tex..
NCAA Championships – June 10-13 – Eugene, Ore.
School Records Broken: None
Total Big Sky Championship Qualifying Marks Attained: Five

Nick Stearns – Pole Vault – 15-11 – Pahrump, Nev. (Pahrump Valley HS '11)
Cody Humphrey – Shot Put – 54-1 1/4 -- Hermiston, Ore. (Hermiston HS '09)
Jordan Arakawa – Hammer Throw – 195-8 – Olympia, Wash. (Capital HS '10)
Phil Puccino – High Jump – 6-8 3/4 – Tacoma, Wash. (Coffeyville CC/Steilacoom  HS '10)
Phil Puccino – Triple Jump – 47-5 – Tacoma, Wash. (Coffeyville CC/Steilacoom  HS '10)

Women's Qualifiers/Records

Big Sky Championships – May 13-16– Cheney, Wash.
NCAA Championships Preliminary Round – May 28-30 – Austin, Tex..
NCAA Championships – June 10-13 – Eugene, Ore.
School Records Broken: None
Total Big Sky Championships Qualifying Marks Attained: Six

Anandae Clark – Pole Vault – 12-3 1/2 – Nine Mile Falls, Wash. (Lakeside HS '12)
Olivia Midles
– Hammer Throw – 186-7 – Olympia, Wash. (Capital HS '10)
Emma Murillo
– Javelin – 144-5 – Kennewick, Wash. (Southridge HS '10)
Kelsie Forcier
– Discus – 153-3 – Port Orchard, Wash. (South Kitsap HS '12)
Morena Mannucci
– Triple Jump – 39-1 – Rome, Italy (Anco Marzio HS '10)
Emma Murillo – Discus – 147-8 – Kennewick, Wash. (Southridge HS '10)

RETURNING ALL-BIG SKY ATHLETES

The following Eagle athletes have earned All-Big Sky Conference honors (top three finish) in previous Big Sky Conference track and field championships (indoors and outdoors):
Brad Michael – (2014 Indoors: 3rd in 400; 2013 Outdoors: 3rd in 400; 2013 Indoors: 2nd in 400;2012 Outdoors: 3rd in 400; 2012 Indoors: 2nd in 400, 3rd in 200)
Phil Puccino – (2013 Outdoors: 2nd in triple jump; 2012 Indoors: 3rd in triple jump)
Nick Stearns – (2014 Outdoors: 2nd in pole vault; 2013 Outdoors: 2nd in pole vault; 2012 Indoors: 3rd in pole vault)
4x400 Relay - (2013 Outdoors: 2nd/Kramer Green, Nick Olsson, Brad Michael, Brad Wall; 2012 Indoors: Champion/Collin Green, Michael Okoro, Brad Michael, Brad Wall; )
Jordan Arakawa – (2015 Indoors: Champion in weight throw; 2014 Outdoors: 2nd in weight throw; 2014 Indoors: Champion in weight throw; 2013 outdoors: 2nd in hammer throw; 2013 Indoors: 2nd in weight throw)
Joey Payne – (2013 Outdoors: 2nd in javelin)
Trenton Osborn- (2015 Indoors: Champion in long jump; 2014 Indoors: 2nd in long jump)

Emma Murillo – (2015 Indoors: 2nd in weight throw; 2014 Outdoors: Champion in javelin; 2013 Outdoors: 3rd in hammer throw; 2013 Indoors: 3rd in weight throw)
Katie Mahoney – (2014 Outdoors: 3rd in steeplechase; 2013 Outdoors: 2nd in 3,000 steeplechase)
Catie Arrigoni – (2014 Outdoors: Champion in steeplechase, 2nd in 5,000)
Sarah Reiter – (2014 Cross Country: Champion; 2014 Outdoors: 3rd in 10,000)
Olivia Midles – (2013 Outdoors: 2nd in hammer throw)
Courtney Bray – (2015 Indoors: 3rd in pole vault; 2014 Outdoors: Champion in pole vault)
Anandae Clark – (2015 Indoors: 2nd in pole vault)
Morena Mannucci – (2015 Indoors: 3rd in triple jump)
Kaytlyn Coleman – (2015 Indoors: 3rd in weight throw)
Distance Medley Relay – (2015 Indoors: 3rd Paula Gil-Echevarria, Janessa Day, Katie Mahoney, Katie Lynch)
Tierra White – (2015 Indoors: Champion in high jump)

SEASON NOTES

Big Sky Conference Preseason Polls  Voting is calculated with each team receiving 11 points for a first place vote, 10 points for a second place vote, etc. Coaches are allowed to vote for their respective teams. Below are the final results with the number of first place votes in parenthesis.

Men's Poll

Team, Points                                             
Northern Arizona, 140 – (10 first-place votes)                     
Sacramento State, 130 – (2 first-place votes)                         
Montana State, 124                              
Southern Utah, 97                              
Idaho State, 87                                   
Weber State, 81                                 
Eastern Washington, 79                     
Northern Colorado, 54                       
Montana, 53                                       
North Dakota, 40                                
Portland State, 26                 
Idaho, 25    

Women's Poll                                  

Team, Points
Sacramento State, 133 – (7 first-place votes)                          
Montana State, 129 – (2 first-place votes)                                  
Northern Arizona, 125 – (2 first-place votes)                             
Portland State, 105 – (1 first-place vote)                                  
Eastern Washington, 100                         
Weber State, 81                                  
Northern Colorado, 68                           
Montana, 62                                          
Idaho State, 41                                       
North Dakota, 39                                    
Southern Utah, 38                    
Idaho, 15                                                                                      


BIG SKY LEADERS – Eastern currently has two athletes who lead the Big Sky in their events: Morena Mannucci (Triple jump, 39-1), and Jordan Arakawa (Hammer throw, 195-8).

REGIONALLY-RANKED – The following Eagles have hit marks that rank in or near the top 48 of the Division I West Region

Men
50. Nick Stearns (Pole Vault, 15-11)
32. Phil Puccino (High Jump, 6-8 3/4)
23. Jordan Arakawa (Hammer Throw, 195-8)
40. Phil Puccino (Triple Jump, 47-5)

Women
48. Mayra Chavez (5,000, 17:52.22)
32. Olivia Midles (Hammer Throw, 186-7)
28. Emma Murillo (Javelin, 144-5)

TOP SEASON PERFORMANCES

Men

Nick Stearns – Pole Vault -- Pahrump, Nev. (Pahrump Valley HS '11)
In his first meet in an Eastern uniform since the 2014 outdoor season, Stearns qualified for the Big Sky Championships in the pole vault, clearing a height of 15-11 at the Buc Scoring Invite.

Cody Humphrey – Throws -- Hermiston, Ore. (Hermiston HS '09)
In his first meet since the 2014 outdoor season, Humphrey threw a personal best in the shot put of 54-1 1/4 to qualify for the Big Sky Championships.

Phil Puccino – Jumps -- Tacoma, Wash. (Coffeyville CC/Steilacoom  HS '10)
At the Al Manuel, Puccino qualified for the Big Sky Conference Championships in the high jump and triple jump – winning each event with marks of 6-8 3/4 and 47-5, respectively.

Jordan Arakawa – Throws – Olympia, Wash. (Capital HS '10)
Arakawa qualified for the hammer throw at the Texas Relays with a toss of 195-8.

Women

Anandae Clark – Pole Vault -- Nine Mile Falls, Wash. (Lakeside HS '12)
Clark cleared a height of 12-3 1/2 in the pole vault to secure a victory and qualify for the outdoor championships at the Buc Scoring Invite – a mark that currently leads the Big Sky and ranks 25th in the Division I West Region.

Olivia Midles – Throws – Olympia, Wash. (Capital HS '10)
At the Texas Relays, Midles placed fourth overall in the hammer throw with a conference qualifying toss of 186-7.

Emma Murillo – Throws -- Kennewick, Wash. (Southridge HS '10)
Murillo qualified for her final Big Sky Conference Championships at the Texas Relays in the javelin (144-5) and the discus (147-8).

Kelsie Forcier – Throws – Port Orchard, Wash. (South Kitsap HS '12)
At the Al Manuel, Forcier placed second in the discus with a conference qualifying mark of 153-3. The sophomore also placed second in the hammer throw (168-8) and the shot put (42-8 1/4).

Morena Mannucci – Jumps
-- Rome, Italy (Anco Marzio HS '10)
Mannucci qualified for her final Big Sky Championships at the Al Manuel in the triple jump with a winning mark of 39-1.

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