EWU To Host Big Sky Conference Track and Field Championships - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

EWU To Host Big Sky Conference Track and Field Championships

Eastern Washington will host the 2015 Big Sky Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Roos Field. Eastern Washington will host the 2015 Big Sky Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Roos Field.

by EWU Athletics

For the first time in nine years, the Eastern Washington University track and field program is set to host the 2015 Big Sky Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships on May 13-16 at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash.

All 12 Big Sky teams and over 400 athletes will compete for team and individual titles, the largest Big Sky outdoor championship meet in history since Idaho rejoined the conference this season.

Action begins Wednesday, May 13 at 10:30 a.m. Pacific time for the first day of the men's decathlon and heptathlon competitions. Those events conclude Thursday starting at 10:30 a.m.

The regular portion of the meet takes place the following two days on May 15 and 16. Field events begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, with running events starting at 2:10. Field events on Saturday begin at 10 a.m., followed by the running events at noon.

Admission is $10 per day or $15 for a two-day pass on May 15-16. There will be no charge to attend the heptathlon and decathlon competitions. Eastern Washington students and children under five years old are free all four days.

Northern Arizona won the team titles on both the men's and women's sides at the 2014 outdoor championships. In a preseason poll voted on by the 12 Big Sky Conference head coaches, the Northern Arizona men and the Sacramento State women were selected as preseason favorites to win the team titles this year. The Eastern women were selected to finish fifth with 100 points while the men were picked to place seventh with 79 points.

Last year, the Eastern women placed fifth with 84 points and the men tied for sixth with Idaho State with 68 points. Additionally, Emma Murillo (javelin) and Catie Arrigoni (steeplechase) will be back to defend their 2014 Big Sky titles.

Eastern hosted the Big Sky Championships in 2006, 1997 at Ross Field (formerly Woodward Field). Eastern also hosted in 1993 at Spokane Falls Community College.

All information regarding the championships, including a finalized event schedule, is available at -- http://goeags.com/15BigSkyTF/info.

Additional meet content, including interviews with event winners, photos, and top results, may be found on the following social media sites: Twitter: @BigSkyConf, @EWUTFXC, @ewuathletics YouTube: YouTube.com/EWUAthletics Instagram: @ewuathletics, @bigskyconf

2015 Track and Field Storylines

Olivia Midles & Jordan Arakawa . . . Not only are they two of the top hammer throwers in school history, but they have also dated since their days at Capital High School in Olympia, Wash. Arakawa has won two Big Sky titles in his career in the weight throw indoors, but Midles is the one with a hammer throw ring in her backyard. Her father and two brothers were All-Americans in the hammer, and her cousin competed for Idaho.

Sophomore Trenton Osborn, Freshman Jeremy VanAssche and Freshman Rebecca Tarbert . . . Eastmont High School in Wenatchee, Wash., has been a track and field hotbed for EWU, and this trio already has a Big Sky title, a school record and No. 2 all-time ranking to their credit.

Cody Humphrey & Blair Bomber . . . The duo have each played on multiple Big Sky Conference Championship football teams for the Eagles, and now will try to win different kind of titles in track and field for the Eagles.

Coach Eric Allison and the Pole Vault Tradition . . . Now in his 15th season as Eastern's head pole vault coach, since 2001 Allison has coached seven Big Sky Champions and 25 All-Conference performers in the pole vault. He has coached all four EWU school record holders as well.

Distance Running Depth With Catie Arrigoni, Sarah Reiter, Katie Mahoney, Berenice Penaloza and Paula Gil-Echevarria . . . Between them, these five distance runners have combined for a total of 25 top-ten marks in the Eastern record book, including the top three in the steeplechase. Big Sky titles have been won by Reiter (cross country) and Arrigoni (steeplechase), with a collective total of six All-Big Sky honors in their careers.

Morena Mannucci & Phil Puccino . . . Mannucci came to Eastern from Rome, Italy, and has jumped her way to a school record in the triple jump, not to mention jumping into a relationship with fellow captain and jumper Phil Puccino.

Olivia Midles & Jordan Arakawa: Hammer Throw

Senior throwers Olivia Midles and Jordan Arakawa are both products of Capital High School out of Olympia, Wash., and have been dating since high school. Midles and Arakawa's best event is the hammer throw and Midles' dad trained them in high school – which is unique because the hammer throw is uncommon at the high school level and athletes usually don't begin training for it until college.

The hammer throw runs deep in the Midles family, in fact her dad built a hammer ring in their backyard. In high school, she shattered the state record of 173-7 previously held by her cousin Gabby Midles, a former thrower for the Idaho Vandals. Olivia dominated the state hammer throw championships, winning in 2008 and 2010 and breaking the meet record in 2010. She placed first at the USATF National Junior Track and Field Championships in 2007 and in 2010.

Her father and two brothers were each NCAA DI All-Americans in the hammer throw. Her father received the honor for Washington State in 1977. Her brother, Adam, received the honor three times at USC and her brother, Zack, received All-America recognition at Washington in 2009.

Both Arakawa and Midles are each vying for their respective hammer throw school records – each ranks second all time. Arakawa's best is 219-3 and he's chasing David Paul's school record of 226-2 set in 2007. Midles' personal best is 195-10, ranking behind Nicole Luckenbach's record of 199-8 set in 2010.

Midles placed second in the hammer throw at the 2011 and 2013 Big Sky Conference Outdoor Championships. Arakawa also placed second in the hammer throw in 2013 and 2014, but won the weight throw title indoors both seasons. He had a stellar season last year, making it all the way to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Ore. At the NCAA West DI Preliminary Rounds in Fayetteville, Ark., Arakawa had a toss of 202-4 1/4 in the hammer throw to place 12th. At the DI Championships, he had a throw of 181-7 1/2 in the hammer to place 23rd.

Eastmont HS Teammates: Trenton Osborn, Jeremy VanAssche, and Rebecca Tarbert

There must be something in the water at Eastmont High School in East Wenatchee, Wash., producing three of the best athletes in Eastern's recent history. Sophomore jump Trenton Osborn and freshmen sprinters Jeremy VanAssche and Rebecca Tarbert have been absolute powerhouses for Eastern since they arrived.

Osborn leaped to a Big Sky Conference title in the long jump at the 2015 indoor championships with a personal best jump of 24-3 3/4 to rank third in school history indoors. After placing second at last year's indoor championships, Osborn led the Big Sky all season in the long jump before claiming his first title. He has his sights set on an outdoor title as well, as he has already hit the qualifying mark with a jump of 23-1 3/4 to rank fourth in the conference.

In high school, Osborn hit his personal-best mark of 24-2 1/2 in the long jump at the Big 9 District Championships. That jump was an Eastmont school record, the longest leap of all Washington competitors in 2013 and the 13th-best mark in the nation. He had a winning effort of 23-0 in the long jump at the 2013 WIAA 4A State Championships after placing second in 2012 (22-0) and third in 2011 (21-7). He was named to the Big 9 All-Conference team in the long jump (first-team 2011, 2012), 4x100 relay (second-team 2011, 2012), 4x400 relay (honorable mention 2011) and 200 (honorable mention 2012).

The Eagles also inherited two of their best freshman sprinters in school history in VanAssche and Tarbert. Most recently, VanAssche tied a 15-year-old school record in the 100 with a time of 10.43, sharing the record with Johnnie Williams (1999). VanAssche earned a Big Sky Conference Athlete of the Week nod for his performance. He also ranks seventh in school history outdoors in the 200 with a time of 21.44. Indoors, he ranks fifth in the 60 (6.91) and eighth in the 200 (21.95), and placed fifth overall in the 60 at the 2015 Big Sky Conference Indoor Championships.

VanAssche was a solid sprinter at Eastmont, as he made it to the podium at the WIAA 4A State Championships by placing second in both the 100 and 200 meters. His 4x100-meter relay team won a state championship his senior year.

Tarbert has had her own share of success during her young career as well. She ranks second in school history in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.60 and seventh in the 200 with a time of 25.24.

In high school, Tarbert was a fierce competitor in the 100 meters, competing all four years of high school at the WIAA 4A State Championships. She placed fourth as a freshman and junior and second as a sophomore. As a senior, she placed third in the 100 meters and second in the 200 meters.

Cody Humphrey & Blair Bomber: Football Players to Track Athletes

Cody Humphrey, a senior from Hermiston, Ore., began his Eastern athletic career on the football team where he lettered as a tight end for three seasons. He played for EWU's 2010 and 2012 Big Sky Conference Championship teams, with the 2010 squad winning the national title.

However, just before his senior season in 2013, Humphrey suffered a knee injury that ended his football career and led to multiple surgeries. The injury resulted in him redshirting the entire 2013-2014 track season, as well as the 2014-15 indoor season. The senior persevered through rehab treatments to come back even stronger, and has been one of Eastern's top throwers this season.

Humphrey has set two personal bests in the shot put (54-3 1/4) and the discus (170-7) this season – his discus mark ranks him 10th all-time in school history. He has qualified for the Big Sky Conference championships in both events and currently ranks fourth in the conference in the shot put and third in the discus.

Blair Bomber, a senior from Lynden, Wash., joined the track and field team during the 2014-15 indoor season. He played on Eastern's football team in 2013 and 2014 after transferring from Washington State, with the Eagles winning league titles both seasons. During the indoor season, Bomber recorded personal bests in the 60 (7.19) and the 200 (22.67). His biggest highlight in the indoor campaign was at the Big Sky Conference championships where he ran the anchor leg of the 4x400-meter relay that placed fourth with a time of 3:15.54 to rank 10th in school history.

Bomber is in the midst of the outdoor season where he has hit an impressive personal best of 49.21 in the 400. He has also recorded times of 11.04 in the 100 and 22.09 in 200. Bomber also runs a leg on the 4x100 and the 4x400, which have recorded season bests of 46.91 and 3:16.28, respectively.

Coach Eric Allison and the Pole Vault Tradition

Eric Allison is in his 15th season as Eastern's head pole vault coach. Since 2001, Allison has coached seven Big Sky Champions and 25 All-Conference performers in the pole vault. Allison has also had athletes compete in the preliminary round of the NCAA championships in 11 out of 12 years since 2013.

In 2005, Allison coached the men vaulters to a top-three sweep at the conference championships. He has coached all four EWU school record holders as well as several vaulters on Eastern top ten all-time list (Indoors - 10 women, five men; Outdoors - 10 women, six men).

Most recently, he coached one of Eastern's most decorated athletes, four-time Big Sky pole vault champion Keisa Monterola. During her time at Eastern, Monterola set the conference indoor record, the indoor conference meet record, and the outdoor conference meet record. Allison also coached her to the Venezuelan Indoor National record while at EWU.

At the 2014 Big Sky Outdoor Championships, Allison coached sophomore Courtney Bray to her first Big Sky pole vault title. Bray placed third at the most recent indoor championships, and ranks third in school history indoors and outdoors with marks of 13-1 3/4 and 13-6 1/4, respectively.

Anandae Clark finished second at the 2015 indoor championships. She ranks seventh outdoors (12-4) and fourth indoors (13-0 3/4).

Allison has also coached outdoor school record holder, Nick Stearns, to a height of 16-8 3/4. The senior also ranks third indoors with a mark of 16-2 3/4. Stearns also has a total of three All-Big Sky honors (top-three finish at a conference championship).

The Depth of Eastern's Women's Distance Crew

At the 2014 outdoor Big Sky Championships, the women's distance squad scored a total of 43 points for the Eagles, including four All-Conference performances. They hope to duplicate that feat in 2015.

Catie Arrigoni, Sarah Reiter, Katie Mahoney, Berenice Penaloza and Paula Gil-Echevarria lead the way for Eastern and have made their marks in the record books -- the five of them combine for a total of 25 top-ten marks and a total of six All-Big Sky performances.

After a seventh place finish in the 5k at the 2013 indoor championships, Arrigoni had a large role in many distance events for the Eagles. During the 2014 season she raced to a Big Sky Conference title in the steeplechase, she then went on to the NCAA West Division I Preliminary Rounds where she set a new school record of 10:14.99 to place 12th and qualify her for the Division I National Championships. She placed 20th in the prelims at nationals. At the outdoor BSC Championships, she also earned all-conference accolades with her second- place finish in the 5k.

Arrigoni ranks seventh in school history in the 1,500 (4:33.80), tenth in the 5,000 outdoors (17:32.32), third in the indoor 5,000 (17:11.83), and sixth in the mile (5:01.93)

Reiter brought home Eastern their first individual cross country title at the most recent BSC Championships.

She earned all-conference accolades in the 10,000 at the 2014 outdoor championships with her third-place finish with a time of 37:27.92. She had two impressive top-ten finishes at the 2015 BSC indoor championships in the 3,000 (10:20.81) and 5,000 (17:56.99), placing her seventh and sixth, respectively.

Mahoney hit four BSC qualifying standards during last year's outdoor season. At the conference championships, she placed third in the steeplechase, fourth in the 1,500, and sixth in the 5,000. Mahoney has a total of seven top-ten marks at Eastern, including the school record in the 1,500 (4:24.05), the school record in the mile (4:51.85) she also ranks second in both the 3,000-meter steeplechase (10:17.34) and the 800 (2:12.40).

Gil-Echevarria adds to the trio of impressive steeplechasers, finishing fifth at last year's championships and ranking third all-time with a time of 10:29.03. She has three additional top-ten marks for Eastern in the mile (2nd, 4:54.37), 1,500 (8th, 4:34.11), and the 800 (8th, 2:17.35). She also has international experience, competing for Spain in the steeplechase at the 2014 World Junior Championships in Eugene, Ore.

Penaloza earned her first all-conference accolade by finishing ninth at this year's cross country championships. She has top-ten marks in the 5,000 and 3,000 indoors and the 10,000 outdoors.

Reiter, Gil-Echevarria, Mahoney, and Arrigoni also rank second all-time in the distance medley relay with a time of 11:58.15.

Morena Mannucci & Phil Puccino

Senior Morena Mannucci's quest for the triple jump school records began in 2010 when she came to Eastern from Rome, Italy. Throughout her career, Mannucci has journeyed through adjusting to life in America and dealing with a handful of injuries.

At the Candy Cane VII meet that kicked off the 2014-15 indoor track season, Mannucci leaped to an indoor personal best of 39-2 1/4 – just missing the school record of 39-2 1/2, set by Taneka Sauls in 1998.

Mannucci battled all season up until the indoor conference championships, where on her last jump of her indoor career she leaped a distance of 39-5 1/4 to break the school record and placed third in the conference.

Mannucci has found herself in a similar position this outdoor season. At the Beach Invitational on April 18, she had a lifetime best in the triple jump of 40-6, just 1/4 of an inch off the school record set by Shene Davis in 2012.

The jumps captain shares her veteran presence on the team with her boyfriend and fellow captain, Phil Puccino – Eastern's top male jumper.

Puccino has personal bests in the triple jump (48-5 1/4), the long jump (23-5 1/2), and the high jump (6-9 3/4) this season. His high jump mark ranks him 10th in school history. Puccino has also earned two All-Big Sky accolades in his career.

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