EWU women’s distance runners look to finish conference play strongly

Photo contributed by goeags.com

Photo contributed by goeags.com

By Brandon Cline, Staff Writer

It has been a long season for the EWU track and field team, but the women’s distance runners are sprinting to the finish and looking to close out an already successful conference campaign at Roos Field with the Big Sky Outdoor Championships taking place from May 13 to 16.

Although they compete individually, having a tight-knit group is crucial for the women over the course of a long season.

The team had a quick turnaround between the indoor and outdoor season, with the Big Sky Indoor Championships ending on February 28 and the Buc Scoring Invite starting on March 19, marking the beginning of the outdoor season.

“I just think we work really well together as a team,” said Sarah Reiter. “Having each other as training partners, motivating each other. We’re really cohesive as a group, so I think that really helps. Everyone gets along, works out together and there’s lots of positive energy.”

Reiter currently sits second in the 10,000-meters amongst all Big Sky athletes during the outdoor season with a time of 34:38.42, just seconds behind Portland State University’s Camelia Mayfield, a senior.

Reiter, who finished third in the 10,000-meters in the 2014 outdoor season, said she is focused on bettering her own time rather than paying attention to the times of her opponents.

“I truly want to PR, feel good and get some more 5,000-meter and 10,000-meters under my belt. My goal is just to do my best and hopefully place,” said Reiter.

After a personal best of 10:22.16 in the 3,000-meters steeplechase at the Oregon State High Performance Meet on May 1, Paula Gil-Echevarria moved from fifth to second in the best performances delivered by a Big Sky athlete in the event.

She is less than two seconds off the pace of Montana State University’s Heather Demorest.

Despite learning she suffered tendinitis in her IT band before the Big Sky Indoor Championships and having to cross-train for three weeks after the season, Gil-Echevarria is still in a prime position to win a conference championship.

After competing in the 2014 Under-22 European Track Championships, Gil-Echevarria’s goal was to hit the time she set during the championships, 10:25, and she did just that.

Winning the conference championships at home “would mean that all of the hard work paid off at the end,” said Gil-Echevarria. “No matter what the obstacles are, you keep going when you’re fighting for something. It would be amazing because I would dedicate it to my dad. I am what I am because of him.”

Although Katie Mahoney has qualified in both the 1,500-meters and 3,000-meters steeplechase and will be competing in the 800-meters as well next week, she said she still has work to do this season.

“Last year I think I peaked too early and was running faster earlier in the season, so I’m hoping this year I can peak at conference and do better where it actually counts.

Mahoney and the coaches decided against running the 5,000-meters this season, despite finishing sixth in the conference championships last season. The decision was partially made because of the mental preparation it took to do the lengthy event.

“It’s so long, especially on the track,” said Mahoney. “In cross country it’s different because of the different scenery, but when you run and you’ve finished a couple laps and you look at the board and there’s nine laps to go and you’re like, ‘Are you serious?’ Mentally, it’s just super hard for me to do anything longer than a mile.”