EWU track and field excels at OSU as outdoor season winds down


Freshman Jacob Christner (left) and senior Mason Nicol compete in the 1,500-meter at the Pelluer Invitational on April 14. Last weekend, the Eagles had seven first-place finishes at the OSU High Performance meet in Corvallis | Bailey Monteith for The Easterner

By Taylor Newquist, Reporter

The EWU track and field team traveled to Corvallis to compete in the OSU High Performance last weekend, continuing its end-of-season push up the Big Sky Conference rankings. In their second to last regular season meet, the Eagles had seven first place finishes.

Sophomore Keshun McGee and senior Jeremy VanAssche netted all four of the men’s first place finishes.

McGee leapt 23-2 3/4 feet in the long jump, and his mark of 50-0 1/2 feet in the triple jump was over two feet further than any competitor. He is currently ranked No. 1 in the Big Sky for triple jump and No. 3 for the long jump.

VanAssche broke the High Performance meet record in the 100-meter dash at 10.39 seconds, moving him up to No. 2 in the Big Sky. He also ran as a member of the 4×100-meter relay team that finished first at 41.57 seconds.

“I had a really good start,” VanAssche said. “Coming out like 30 or 40 meters in, I could already see I was in front of everyone, so I was just trying to keep my form good. I felt a guy from Oregon coming up on me so I was trying to not tighten up at the end.”

Other notable performances from the men’s team came from junior Parker Bowden Jr. with a third-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles, freshman Gavin Lee with a second place in javelin and sophomore Tim Beard with a second place in the hammer throw.

“I’m really pleased with the team effort,” men’s head coach Stan Kerr said. Kerr also touched on the team’s balance, which they’ve been focused on since training started in October.

“That’s come to a fruition at this point,” said Kerr. “You look at the conference list, you look at who’s in the top ten of a lot of those areas and you see Eastern is well represented.”

The women’s team tallied three titles in Corvallis, aided by senior Rebecca Tarbert’s two first place finishes. It was her best meet of the season, and her times in the 100-meter (11.84 seconds) and 200-meter (24.44 seconds) are both personal records.

“I don’t think there was anything different,” Tarbert said. “I have just been preparing all season for it and it’s that time of year when we start to drop times, but I was really excited to get those two PR’s.”

Junior Macey Weitz earned the women’s only other first place finish of the day, clearing 12-11 3/4 feet in the pole vault.

“I’m finally making some things connect,” said Weitz, who underwent shoulder surgery last year that forced her to redshirt for the outdoor season.“My take-off was a lot better and my shoulder wasn’t hurting as bad like usual.”

Weitz’s previous personal best of 12-9 1/2 came earlier this season at the Sam Adams Classic on March 23.

“That day it had almost no pain,” said Weitz. “That was crazy because that never happens, so that was a big factor. I just went in with a really positive mindset and I had a feeling I was going to PR, I don’t know how to explain it,” she said while starting to laugh.

“I didn’t care about winning, just doing the best that I could and it ended up getting me a first place.”

The women’s pole vaulters have set the pace for the entire Big Sky this season. Weitz is now tied for the No. 2 spot in the conference, with four Eagles ranked within the top five. Senior Erin Clark leads the pack at 13-3 1/2 feet with Weitz right behind her. Juniors Elizabeth Prouty and Samantha Rains are tied for fourth place at 12-9 1/2 feet.

The Eagles will compete in their final regular season meet this week as they travel to Missoula to compete in the Tom Gage Classic.