Eagles confident as outdoor track begins

Larry Still, Elizabeth Prouty and Keshun McGee among top performers

By Taylor Newquist, Contributor

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The EWU track and field team will kick off its outdoor season at the Whitworth University Buc Scoring on Saturday, March 17 in Spokane.

The Eagles aim to improve on the men’s seventh place and the women’s fourth place finishes in the Big Sky Conference Indoor Championship last month. The women’s fourth-place honor was its second-best finish in the meet all-time.

“I was super excited about the indoor finish,” women’s head coach Marcia Mecklenburg said. “The teams that were ranked fourth through 10th, any one of them could’ve been in that fourth-place spot so for us to get it—it was super huge for our crew.”

The EWU women had three athletes honored as All-Big Sky. Junior pole vaulter Elizabeth Prouty won her first BSC title, clearing a personal-best height of 13-3 feet.

“My mindset was just really focused,” Prouty said. “I knew that I could jump higher than what I was jumping this season, and I had a chance to win Big Sky.”

Senior Macey Weitz and sophomore Samantha Raines placed fourth and fifth in the pole vault for the Eagles, securing three of the top five spots.

“(Placing fourth) was actually surprisingly really high for us,” said Prouty. “We had a lot of performances that didn’t really happen, so I think that if we all can perform at outdoor, we could place really high.”

Coach Mecklenburg agrees.

“I actually think we’re going to be stronger outdoors,” said Mecklenburg. “We have a lot of athletes that are coming back from redshirting. There’s just some more added points I feel that we’ll have outdoors that we didn’t have indoor.”

Two former All-Big Sky Conference athletes return to the women’s team for the outdoor season: senior Erin Clark (2017 outdoor pole vault champion) and senior Dominique Butler (2017 outdoor shot put champion).

Senior Rebecca Tarbert and freshman Alexis Rolan will lead the way for the Eagles’ relay team after both finishing the indoor season All-Big Sky in the 60-meter dash.  

“In indoor we have a distance medley relay and outdoors it’s a short relay,” said Mecklenburg. “With our two Big Sky Conference kids coming in that 60 meters, that short relay is going to be really good.”

The men’s team slightly improved on the 2016-17 indoor season this year, by moving from eighth to seventh place and going from 38 to 39 on total points.

“Throughout the season it was good—I wouldn’t say it was the best at conference,” sophomore jumper Keshun McGee said. “I feel like I could have competed a lot better than I did at conference.”

McGee was strong for most of the indoor season climbing to No. 16 in the nation in the triple jump. His 12th-place finish in the triple jump and sixth-place in the long jump missed the expectations set by his first-place long jump and second place triple jump the year before.

“The men’s team, I felt like we left a lot on the board (during indoor),” said McGee. “So, probably can do better in scoring-wise for the men.”

Junior pole vaulter Larry Still earned the lone first place finish for the men’s team, clearing a height of 16-8 1/4 feet. Still said he is remaining focused on working hard and having fun, while also setting a goal on making it to nationals during the upcoming season.

“Larry Still showed why he is a champion today,” men’s head coach Stan Kerr said at the BSC Championships. “Him winning the pole vault was one of those distinguished lifetime performances.”

Kerr hopes the men’s team can build off their performance in the indoor season to better results in the spring.

“This was the first conference championship for many members of the team,” said Kerr. “They were able to experience the depth of the Big Sky Conference, which is going to serve us well as we now transition to preparation for the outdoor season.

The EWU track team will compete in four events in Spokane this outdoor season. The Eagles will host one event, the 46th Pelluer Invitational, at Roos Field on April 13 and 14.