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2017 Big Sky Indoor Track and Field Championships

Gerald Maib for The Easterner

Gerald Maib for The Easterner

By Logan Stanley, Staff Writer

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Championship season has arrived for track and field athletes, with many of the nation’s best runners, jumpers and throwers competing in the final portion of their seasons. EWU Track and Field is amongst those as they head to Pocatello, Idaho to compete in the 2017 Big Sky Indoor Track and Field Championships.

In all, 49 Eagles will be participating across 24 different events. The meet spans three days and will take place at Idaho State’s Holt Arena. Viewers can livestream Friday and Saturday’s events on WatchBigSky.com.

“The Big Sky Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships are full of opportunity,” said men’s head coach Stan Kerr to GoEags.com. “Whether you’re trying to repeat as conference champion or making your first championship appearance, the opportunity to excel is there. It’s very much the case of preparation meeting opportunity and making the most of it.”

 

Men’s Team

On the men’s side, two former champions make their return and look to defend their titles — sophomore pole vaulter Larry Still and senior Trenton Osborn. Still was the 2016 indoor and outdoor champion in the pole vault and owns the Big Sky’s top mark (16-4 3/4) heading into this weekend’s meet. Osborn won the 2015 indoor title in the long jump and is ranked ninth currently in the Big Sky (23-1 1/4).

Apart from Still and Osborn, there will be a handful of Eagles to watch this weekend. Freshman jumper Keshun McGee has shown no signs of a learning curve, as McGee is ranked second in both the long jump (24-1 1/2) and triple jump (49-7). Rounding out the jumps is sophomore Chez Jackson, who is ranked fourth in the high jump (6-8 3/4).

In the throws, a pair of juniors lead the way. Aaron Cunningham sits at fifth (56-3) in the shot-put rankings and tenth in the weight throw (56-11 1/2), while teammate Scott Miller is ranked sixth in the shot put (55-7 1/2).

Junior sprinter Jose Garcia and sophomore sprinter Jonah Mathews said they aim to build on their winter training, which Kerr took note of.

“In the sprints, Jose Garcia and Jonah Mathews will make their presence known,” said Kerr to GoEags.com. “Both sprinters have trained hard this indoor season and look to reap the benefits of that training with successful championship performances.”

The distance team is focusing on rebounding from what coach Chris Shane labeled as a letdown at last year’s indoor championship meet, in which zero points were contributed by distance runners. During the cross country season and winter training, Shane issued a proclamation to his team.

“Look, we have to score points,” said Shane. “We scored zero points from the distance men’s side. I challenged them that that was unacceptable, that this next year was going to be different.”

Leading that challenge will be senior Logan Stahl, who looks to improve on his winning form from earlier this season; freshman Colton Johnsen, fresh off being invited to the USA U20 Cross Country Championships in Bend, Oregon; and the distance medley relay (DMR) team, comprising of redshirt freshman Steaven Zachman, Chez Jackson, Logan Stahl and senior Isaac Kitzan. The DMR consists of four legs: 200 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters and 1600 meters. The team, which is ranked fourth in the Big Sky, has a decent chance of breaking the school record, Shane said.

Stahl is also slated to compete in the 800-meter and mile, where he is ranked 13th and 18th respectively. He will run the 800-leg of the DMR. Even though Stahl has been planning all year to race the mile at this meet, Shane says Stahl’s best chance of scoring points lie in the 800-meter.

Johnsen, who cracked the EWU top-10 list in his first collegiate 5,000-meter race by running 14:45.04 at the UW Invitational, is targeting the 5k as his main event, even though he is entered in the 3k as well. The freshman will attempt to climb up the EWU all-time list and continue his ascension.

 

Women’s Team

The women’s side returns two former champions as well, in the likes of senior sprinter Rebecca Tarbert and junior high jumper Tierra White. Tarbert was the 2016 indoor champion, where she set the EWU school record in the 60-meter (7.47) and is ranked sixth heading into the championship meet. White took home the indoor high jump title as a freshman in 2015, jumping 5-7 3/4 and is the eighth seeded high jumper.

Alongside Tarbert and White, a handful of upperclassmen and a lone freshman look to make an impact this weekend. Senior pole vaulters Anandae Clark and Erin Clark are perched near the top of the rankings, second and third, respectively, with sophomore teammate Elizabeth Prouty ranked ninth. In the triple jump, junior Megan Murphy is ranked fifth (38-4 1/4).

In the distances, it will be the DMR team, seniors Sarah Reiter and Paula Gil-Echevarria and freshman Kaili Keefe aiming to score points. The DMR, which will comprise of freshman Carli Corpus, Keefe, freshman Sophie Bowls and Gil-Echevarria, is expected to perform well.

“We’ve got a really legitimate chance to break the school record,” Shane said.

Keefe will also be running in the mile, where she is ranked fifth, and will attempt to cement herself as one of the fastest milers in EWU history. Her current time places her second on the EWU top-10 list. Gil-Echevarria will double as well, running the mile (12th ranked).

Sarah Reiter, one of the most prolific distance runners in EWU history, is trying to build on a 2016-17 campaign that has already seen her compete at the NCAA Cross Country Championships this past November. The two-time school record holder’s journey comes with a caveat though; Reiter was forced to miss a chunk of training this winter because of an injury. This weekend will be her first time competitively stepping on a track in 2017.

 

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2017 Big Sky Indoor Track and Field Championships