Sunday, May 18, 2014

A trio of Eagles take home victories at the Big Sky Conference championships...

FLAGSTAFF, Arizona--Eastern Washington athletes earned three victories in the final day of competition at the Big Sky Conference track & field championships at Lumberjack Stadium on the campus of Northern Arizona University.

Senior Zack Nielsen (above/photo courtesy Eastern Washington) won the hammer with a toss of 203-5 (62.01m) over teammate and conference leader Jordan Arakawa's 202-11 (61.84m).

The Eagles' Sean Ferriter finished fourth at 196-6 (59.50m).

“This means a lot to me because I was a walk-on as a freshman so to come this far and improve is awesome,” said Nielsen. “None of this would have been possible without my teammates because Jordan has been in front of me most of the season and I had something to aim for. Me, Jordan and Jon are all real close so this win is a team effort.”

“Zack moved into the spotlight with his breakthrough win,” said Kerr. “And like the indoor championships, he shared the spotlight with Jordan and Jon. That trio has just been phenomenal this year.” 

Freshman Courtney Bray continued the Eagles' recent tradition of excellence in the pole vault, as she won the title with a clearance of 13-5 3/4 (4.11m).  Teammate Anandae Clark was fifth with a vault of 12-4 (3.76m).

“I honestly cannot believe it because coming in to the championships as a freshman, I knew I was going to face some tough competition,” said Bray. “I knew I was going to give it my all, but more importantly I wanted to have fun because it’s the Big Sky Conference and everyone has worked so hard to get here. I just felt blessed to get here so to win it feels really good.”

In one of the most surprising outcomes of the meet, Emma Murillo stunned the field with her win in the javelin, sending the spear skyward as it landed 158-2 (48.20m) later, a 20-foot personal best.

“It is a huge shock for me to win because I came in the first flight and I was not expecting to win,” said Murillo. “I knew I was going to go out and try my hardest and attack. After the season I have had, it came as a big shock but I tried really hard and it paid off.”  

In team scoring, the Eastern women were fifth with 84 points, finishing behind fourth-place Portland State (89) and comfortably ahead of Northern Colorado (60). The Eagle men had 68 points to tie for sixth with Idaho State. Northern Arizona won the team titles on both the men’s (151) and women’s (135) sides. 

In Orem, Utah, Wenatchee native Hannah Kiser of the University of Idaho added the 5000 title to the 10000 crown won earlier in the meet, as she helped lead the Vandals to the team title at the Western Athletic Conference championships at Hal Wing Track & Field on the campus of Utah Valley University.

Kiser won the 5000 going away in a time of 17:43.30, almost ten seconds ahead of runner-up Ivie Gonsalves of the host school's 17:53.00.

SeattleU's Sophie Curatilo (18:07.41) and Hannah Mittelstaedt (18:12.83) finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

The Seattle U men finished in sixth place with 56 points, while the women ended up in seventh place with 41 points.

In Ponce, Puerto Rico, Washington State alum Jeshua Anderson finished second in the 400 hurdles at the Ponce Grand Prix de Atletismo meeting Saturday night.

Anderson ran 49.22 to finish behind national hero Javier Culson's 48.69.

In the men's 800, Cas Loxsom and Mark Wieczorek of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts finished fifth and seventh, respectively.  Loxsom ran 1:46.79, while Wieczorek finished in 1:47.27.  

American Duane Solomon won in a meet record 1:44.79.

Curtis HS grad Andrea Geubelle finished fourth in her outdoor season debut in the triple jump, as the reigning national champ jumped 44-11 (13.69m).

Reigning world champ Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia won with a best of 48-9 1/2 (14.87m), the best in the world this season.

NOTE:  The sports information offices of Eastern Washington University and Seattle University contributed to this report.

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