Vandals, Eagles shine at NCAA West Track & Field - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Vandals, Eagles shine at NCAA West Track & Field

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Eastern Washington's Sarah Frey qualified for the finals of the 400-meter hurdles (Photo: EWU Athletics) Eastern Washington's Sarah Frey qualified for the finals of the 400-meter hurdles (Photo: EWU Athletics)

by Idaho and Eastern Washington Univ. athletics

AUSTIN, Texas – The shot put was kind to the University of Idaho on Thursday's opening day of the NCAA West Preliminary Track and Field round, as both Vandal competitors punched their first career NCAA Outdoor Championships tickets.

Idaho senior Mykael Bothum barely missed outdoor national meet qualification in her sophomore and junior seasons, but a toss of 52-2.5 (15.91m) and 10th-place finish guaranteed the two-time indoor All-American a spot in the women's shot at Eugene, Ore. Bothum is the first Vandal woman to qualify for the outdoor championship meet since Shana Ball in 2000.

Eastern Washington's Sarah Frey qualified for the finals of the 400-meter hurdles.  She had a personal-best time of 59.34 in the 400-meter hurdles to finish 17th out of 48 competitors and qualified for the finals on Friday at 5:15 p.m. That time ranks her second in school history behind the time of 58.12 set by Seville Broussard in 1999.

EWU teammate Erica Chaney finished 43rd in the shot put with a mark of 44-0 1/2. She ranks second in school history with a mark of 49-4 1/4 behind the throw of 50-11 set by Nancy Kuiper in 1991.

Michelle Coombs finished 45th in the javelin with a mark of 109-1. She ranks third in school history with a throw of 163-1 set in 2009.

On the men's side, Aaron Mettler finished 30th in the javelin with a toss of 194-6. He ranks fourth in school history with a throw of 219-9 set last season.  

Brad Wall finished 41st in the 400 meters with a time of 48.05. He holds EWU's school record with a time of 46.78 set at the 2010 Big Sky Conference Outdoor Championships in Ogden, Utah.

In the 10,000 meters, Paul Limpf finished 34th with a time of 31:23.97 and Kyle King was 41st with a time of 32:43.24. King holds EWU's school record with a time of 29:34.21 and Limpf is second with a time of 29:44.08 both times set this season.

Frey, Brianna Okoro and Ben Cogdill will compete Friday (May 28) at the 2010 West Preliminary Round and on Saturday (May 29) the women's 4x100-meter relay team (Frey, Okoro, Shene Davis and Whitney Leavitt) and Nicole Luckenbach will compete.

Idaho Junior Eugenio Mannucci, another Vandal who came up just inches short of an outdoor NCAA berth last season, fired the men's shot a season-best 58-6.5 (17.84m) to finish ninth. Mannucci's qualification gives Idaho representation in the men's shot put at the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the ninth time since 1999.

"It's been a huge goal for both of them this year (qualifying for the NCAA Championships)," Idaho throws coach Julie Taylor said. "They both really stepped up when the time came and competed like they needed to. There's a huge amount of pressure to perform here and be in the top 12, and that's really hard to deal with."

Also competing for Idaho on Thursday was a trio of first-time Vandal NCAA qualifiers. Sophomore Lauren Schaffer ran a 2:09.31 and finished 29th in the women's 800m, just five spots short of qualifying for the second round. Senior Sam Michener ran a 10.82 in the men's 100m dash and took 42nd, while Ulrike Hartz, who already qualified for the NCAA Championships in the heptathlon, threw the javelin 149-11 (45.69m) and finished 18th.

Idaho's Friday action will feature the first rounds of the women's 200m (Hartz), men's 110m hurdles (Paul Dittmer), women's 100m hurdles (Christie Gordon), women's 3,000m steeplechase (Allix Lee-Painter), men's hammer throw (James Rogan), men's pole vault (Jeremy Klas) and women's discus (Bothum).

Bothum will kick things off for Idaho at 10 a.m. (PDT) with the women's discus. Dittmer will start things on the track with the hurdles at 2:30 p.m.

The top twelve competitors from each individual and relay events advance to the NCAA Division I Championships in Eugene, Ore., on June 9-13.

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