EWU athletes set seven conference qualifying marks over the weekend

Photo from goeags.com

Photo from goeags.com

By Brandon Cline, Staff Writer

The EWU track and field teams competed in multiple events over the weekend, one of which saw eight athletes make the trek to Austin, Texas, for the 88th Nike Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays that lasted four days from March 25-28.

Women’s coach Marcia Mecklenburg accompanied the athletes to Texas for the event, which saw three Eagles athletes qualify for the Big Sky Conference Championships. EWU is hosting the event at Roos Field, which will take place between May 13-16.

Two-time Big Sky Champion and three-time runner-up Jordan Arakawa qualified for the conference championships with a hammer throw of 195-8. Arakawa placed 10th in the event amongst athletes from across the nation.

Olivia Midles also hit the qualifying mark in the hammer throw for the conference championships with a toss of 186-7, good for fourth place amongst all athletes.

Emma Murillo, reigning Big Sky Champion in the javelin, was the third EWU athlete to punch their ticket to the conference championships with a throw of 144-5.

“The Texas Relays was a great experience for our athletes. It provided an opportunity for them to compete against some of the top athletes in the nation from the East Region – athletes we don’t normally see until the national championships,” said Mecklenburg. “We had good early season marks and all the athletes will be able to build on their performances as we work through the season.”

The rest of the men’s and women’s teams traveled to Missoula, Montana, on March 27 and 28 to compete in the Al Manuel Invitational. The Eagles competed against Big Sky foes Montana and Montana State.

Phil Puccino won and qualified for the conference championships in the high jump and triple jump. Puccino jumped 6-8 3/4 in the high jump and 47-5 in the long jump. Men’s coach Stan Kerr was impressed with Puccino’s performances, saying his efforts were “arguably the best of the meet.”

Kelsie Forcier was a force in throwing events for the Eagles, placing second in the hammer throw, shot put and discus, the latter of which qualifying her for the conference championships with a throw of 153-3.

Morena Mannucci’s performance in the triple jump was EWU’s fourth and final qualifying mark of the meet, with a jump of 39-1.

In all, the Eagles won 15 events at the meet, including freshmen Tierra White in the women’s high jump and Jeremy VanAssche in both the men’s 100 and 200-meter dash events.

Both the men’s and women’s 4×100-meter relay teams won in Missoula, making it two wins in a row for the teams.

“The teams performed well coming off dead week, finals week and spring break. I am excited about this season and many, many more stellar performances to come,” said Kerr.

The team will split up next week as well, as some athletes will head to Palo Alto, California, for the Stanford Invitational on April 3 and 4, while the rest will compete in the Sam Adams Invitational in Spokane on April 4.