EWU track and field soars at multiple meets


Freshmen sprinters Bella Millsap (left) and Alexis Rolan (right) competing at the Buc Scoring Meet on March 17. At the Texas Relays on March 30, Rolan ran the 100 meters with a time of 11.56 seconds (the second fastest time in school history).

By Taylor Newquist, Reporter

The EWU track and field team split itself between three different meets last weekend, sending athletes to the Texas Relays in Austin, the San Francisco Distance Carnival in Palo Alto, California, and the Al Manuel Invitational in Missoula, Montana.

This was the third time out for the Eagles this outdoor season, having competed in the Sam Adams Classic and the Buc Scoring Meet the two previous weekends at Whitworth.

Seven Eagles competed in the Texas Relays, which is the second largest track and field meet in the U.S., and features some of the most prolific track and field athletes in the country. Five athletes from the men’s team and two from the women’s team competed over the four-day event. Freshman sprinter Alexis Rolan had the stand-out performance for EWU, finishing the 100 meters with a time of 11.65 seconds. Her time is second-best in EWU history, just 0.1 seconds shy of Joyce Rainwater’s time of 11.55 in 1995.

“Definitely way better than what I’ve been running,” Rolan said. “Going from running a 12.0 to running an 11.6 is a major difference. It was better than having back-to-back meets at Whitworth, at least weather-wise. I felt good going into it, and the warmth really makes a difference.”

Sophomore jumper Keshun McGee finished No. 11 in the triple jump (section A) with a mark of 43-3 3/4 feet. McGee finished short of his personal best by several feet, and is hoping to improve on his consistency down the stretch of the season.

“The atmosphere is different going out there with the heat and the great competition,” said McGee. “Coming from Washington and then going out there it’s just very different. I had good jumps all over, I just couldn’t get my foot on the board going down the runway.”

Three women’s distance runners made the trip to the San Francisco Distance Carnival. Senior Leanne Asper finished second in the 800 meters with a time of 2:11.56 minutes, senior Paula Gil-Echevarria finished tenth in the 3,000 meter steeplechase with a time of 11:03.77 minutes, and Kari Hamilton finished third in the 10,000 meters with a time of 34:55.83 minutes. Hamilton’s time is her personal-best and ranks third in EWU history.

“Kari Hamilton had the best performance from the Stanford Invitational group,” women’s head coach Marcia Mecklenburg said. “She also had a big personal record for her and had a great experience running with athletes at that high of a level.”

The rest of the track team traveled to Missoula where they were faced with competing in temperatures below freezing. Despite the conditions, the Eagles were still able to claim seven first place titles.

“The team responded to the very cold and dry weather today with tip-top attitudes and several strong performances,” men’s head coach Stan Kerr said. “It felt like one of those days that you knew would require you to believe that you can do it.”

Three men won individual titles in Missoula: senior runner Logan Stahl in the 800 meters with a time of 1:53.67 minutes, senior jumper Trenton Osborn with a mark of 23-5 1/4 feet in the long jump and freshman sprinter Joe Gauthier with a time of 10.74 second in the 100 meters.

“I want to do better than what I did in the indoor season,” Gauthier said. “I really want to make west regionals so I’m going to need more improvement. I was pulling up at the end of my races a little bit because of my leg, but hopefully that’ll be over soon.”

Women’s team title winners in Missoula included: senior thrower Sam Lester with a mark of 173-2 feet in the hammer throw, sophomore thrower Samantha Boudreau in shot put at 43-3 3/4 feet, and senior Erin Clark in pole vault clearing a height of 11-9 3/4 feet.

“It’s been a typical outdoor season start so far,” Clark said. “There’s definitely room for improvement, but I’m just ready for some warm weather.”

The Eagles continue their season at Spokane Falls Community College next weekend with the WAR XI. The following weekend the EWU track team will host its only home meet of the season with the 46th annual Pelluer Invitational on April 13 and 14.