Four Eagles get top-three finishes at Big Sky Indoor Championships

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Mckenzie Ford

EWU senior Keshun McGee won the triple jump at this year’s Big Sky Indoor Championships.

By Ben Blakney, Sports Reporter

EWU track and field athletes put their best feet forward last weekend as they traveled to compete in the Big Sky Conference Indoor Championships in Pocatello, Idaho. The environment of the indoor track fieldhouse was thick with friendly competition and nerves, as many athletes realized the stakes of what they were about to do.

EWU’s high-ranking athletes, like seniors Keshun McGee and Parker Bowden, had great performances at the indoor championships.

McGee finished first place in the triple jump, with a performance of 51’3”, and Bowden set a school record in the 60m hurdles at 7.94 seconds, finishing third.

In women’s pole vault, freshman Savannah Shultz and senior Samantha Raines finished second and third respectively with a vault of 12’10 ¾”. The men’s team scored 58 points and the women’s team scored 39 points.

EWU head coach Stan Kerr put EWU’s main goal plainly, saying the desire to succeed was the team’s fuel.

“That’s obviously the driving force, to do as well as we can as a team.” Stan Kerr, EWU Head Coach

Women’s head coach Marcia Mecklenburg was in agreement.

“This is the meet where it’s a team thing,” Mecklenburg said.

To many EWU seniors, the Big Sky championships are the pinnacle of their career as an athlete. This event is the culmination of years of hard work, and both coaches noted their desires for their seniors to perform at peak condition.

“To me it’s important to compete against the other athletes,” Mecklenburg said. “Not to the point where they are forcing it too much, but the key is to try to beat the other athletes.”

Kerr’s sentiments rang similarly true.

“Seniors (are expected) to have the best meet they possibly can,” Kerr said.

Mckenzie Ford
The EWU track and field team participated in two meets in the weekends before and after spring break in 2019.

These senior Eagles also leave behind a great legacy for many generations to come, becoming inspirations for many athletes below their grade.

“Underclassmen get a phenomenal experience, the kind of experience that will pay dividends a year from now,” Kerr said.

McGee and Bowden create a culture of competition and friendship as they give it their all, in championships like these.

“Those kinds of legacies that those guys are generating (and have generated) just with their performances … it just fills everyone with pride,” Kerr said.

Kerr went on to explain that these seniors will have the opportunity to maintain their legacies, but in a different way. After graduation, the seniors are invited back to become members of team leadership or to provide experienced coaching.

When asked about some expectations to be had at the indoor championships before leaving for Pocatello, both Kerr and Mecklenburg, who have 25 years of combined head coaching experience at EWU, responded with confidence.

“Expectations for me, usually, are trying to go in and finish higher than we went in with.” -Marcia Mecklenburg, Womens Head Coach

“Across the board. If we can do that in all the event areas, that’ll set up the team to do that with the team score,” Kerr said.

Kerr had other obstacles in mind, mainly the boarded track. EWU athletes are used to a rubber track that is flat all the way around. Pocatello does things differently: their track is solid wood, including raised, banked corners.

“(My) expectations are to adapt as quickly as possible,” Kerr said optimistically prior to leaving for the event. “They require a special spike that we don’t typically use. It’s a pin spike versus a pyramid spike … It’d be like taking a circular saw and buzzing through the track.”

EWU now turns its focus to the outdoor season which begins March 19 with the Sam Adams Classic in Spokane. •