Eagles finish Big Sky, look toward NCAA preliminaries

By Elohino Theodore, Senior Sports Reporter

The Eagles battled at the Big Sky Championships on May 14-17 at Flagstaff, Arizona, where they will look towards the NCAA preliminary rounds in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Men’s head coach Stan Kerr gave his view on the performance of his team.

“Overall, I think they did really really well,” Kerr said. “A lot of great individual efforts. I think we hurt ourselves by not scoring in our distance events, it definitely would of pushed us higher up on the ladder.”

Sophomore multi-event athlete Jozie Kimes helped Eastern get going in the first days of the Big Sky events. Kimes recorded a new personal best in the heptathlon on May 13-14.

Kimes ran a time of 15.22 in the 100-meter hurdles, and cleared a height of 5-3 in the high jump event. Kimes also recorded a toss of 31-8 in the shot put event for a personal best, and ran a time of 26.41 in the 200-meter event.

On May 15, Kimes had a personal best jump of 17-10 1/4 in the long jump, and she recorded a throw of 110-4 in the javelin event. Her last event for the day was the 800-meter race where she finished in third place with a time of 2:23.41.

Kerr explained what his team did to prepare for the Big Sky Championships.

“They’re a very goal-driven group,” Kerr said. “The biggest part was just mentally going in knowing that you would have to bring you best performance to do well at that meet.”

On May 16, the Eagles continued to compete in Flagstaff. Junior distance runner Catie Arrigoni won the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10:58.30. Junior distance runner Katie Mahoney placed third in the same race with a time of 11:07.24.

Senior thrower Jon Buchanan won the conference title in the shot put event with a throw of 57-11 3/4. Junior pole vaulter Nick Stearns finished with a height of 16-8 3/4 to place second. Sophomore distance runner Sarah Reiter ran a time of 37:27:92 in the 10,000-meter race good enough for third place. Junior Emma Murillo finished with a personal best of 186-1 in the hammer throw to finish in fourth place.

Senior Hurdler Steven Warner ran a seasonal best time of 14.30 in the 100-meter hurdles. Junior sprinter Brad Michael had an outdoor personal record of 47.17 in the 400-meter race.

On May 17, the Eagles competed on the final day of the Big Sky events. Senior thrower Zach Nielson earned his first Big Sky title with a toss of 203-5 in the hammer throw. Junior thrower Jordan Arakawa came in second place with a toss of 202-11. Buchanan took fourth place with a throw of 196-6.

Freshman Courtney Bray ended up clinching the pole vault Big Sky title. Bray won the pole vaulting event with a mark of 13-5 3/4. Murillo also won a title on the final day in the javelin event; she threw a personal record of 158-2.

Warner placed second in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.23, a new school record. Arrigoni placed second in the 5,000-meter race with a time of 18:08.99. Overall, the Eagles earned five conference titles, 11 All-Big Sky performances and two school records.

With the NCAA championship preliminary rounds coming up, women’s head coach Marcia Mecklenburg gives her view on what to expect.

“Right now we have about, I believe six women who are for sure in,” Mecklenburg said.

Junior Olivia Midles, Murillo, Bray, Mahoney, Arrigoni, sophomore thrower Morgan Romey and freshman Paula Gil-Echevarria will all be in the preliminary rounds.

For the men’s side, Arakawa, Nielson, Buchanan and sophomore Joey Payne will all compete at the NCAA preliminary rounds.

Mecklenburg explained how the NCAA preliminary rounds will be broken down.

“There [are] over 100 schools in each region,” Mecklenburg said. “It’s all NCAA Division I schools, between the two regions, the east and the west region.”

A select amount of Eagles will represent EWU at the NCAA championship preliminary rounds on May 29-31 at Fayetteville.