EWU track and field set four qualifying marks in California

By Brandon Cline, Staff Writer

A jam-packed weekend for the EWU track and field team resulted in 10 top 10 school record marks and four qualifying marks, as the Big Sky Conference championships nears closer and closer on the Eagles’ schedule.

The Eagles had two separate meets in California, with the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut on April 16 and 17 and the Beach Invitational at Cerritos College in Norwalk on April 17 and 18.

The top performer of the weekend for the Eagles was freshman Jeremy VanAssche in the 100-meter dash, where he tied a school record with a time of 10.43 seconds, finishing second in the event. VanAssche tied the 15-year-old school record set by Johnnie Williams in 1999.

“[VanAssche’s] 10.43 was exceptional,” said men’s head coach Stan Kerr. “I remember working with Johnnie Williams, who now shares the record with [VanAssche], and thinking at that time it’d be a long time before anyone touched his 100-meter record.”

VanAssche capped off an already successful weekend by qualifying for the conference championships in the 200-meter dash, posting a time of 21.44 seconds, good for seventh all-time at EWU.

Austin Upmeyer was the second men’s runner to hit a qualifying mark over the weekend, with a time of 48.81 seconds in the 400-meters. Indoor long jump champion Trenton Osborn competed for the first time in the outdoor season, promptly reaching the qualifying mark with a leap of 23-1 3/4.

The fourth qualifier of the weekend for the Eagles was Katie Mahoney in the 1,500-meter, running a time of 4:28.69. Mahoney finished just short of qualifying in the 800-meter, running a 2:13.54, with the qualifying mark set at 2:12.

Senior Jordan Arakawa had a season best in the hammer throw, throwing it for a distance of 211-3 and winning the event at the Mt. SAC Relays.

Arakawa has twice finished second in the hammer throw in the outdoor conference championships and is looking to cap off a stellar career at EWU with a championship in his final season.

“The exciting thing with [Arakawa] is that he’ll be throwing from his home ring,” said Kerr.

The women’s 4×100-meter relay team — Paige Hammock, Erika Lombardo, Brooke Monson and Rebecca Tarbert — posted a win at the Beach Invitational with a time of 46.91 seconds, which ranks ninth in school history.

Monson found success in the 400-meters as well, running a personal best of 56.18 seconds, ranking second in program history.

Other personal bests set by EWU women over the weekend included Morena Mannucci in the triple jump, Obinna Nnadi in the 100-meter dash and Catie Arrigoni in the 5,000-meters.

“We had some outstanding performances from so many athletes on the team,” said women’s head coach Marcia Mecklenburg.

A trio of men’s distance runners set personal bests over the weekend as well. Stephen Bottoms ran a 3:53.80 in the 1,500-meters, Aaron Brenton ran the 3,000-meters steeplechase in 9:32.47 seconds and Austin Oser ran a 15:03.06 in the 5,000-meters.

“The competitions at Mt. SAC and the Beach Invitational over the last few days show how valuable it is to have these high-caliber meets on our schedule,” said Kerr. “We still have work to do before the championships, but this weekend’s team effort was a great experience to be a part of.”

The Eagles will take part in the Spokane Memorial Open on April 25, with it being one of just two meets the team has remaining before the Big Sky Conference championships begin at Roos Field on May 13.