EASTERN RELAY TEAMS RUN NATIONAL-QUALIFYING TIMES
By The Observer
BOISE The final meet of the college track and field regular season produced two national meet qualifying performances for Eastern Oregon University.
The Mountaineers qualified both their mens and womens 4x800-meter relay teams for the NAIA national meet Saturday at a small meet at Boise State.
It was worth the trip, Eastern Oregon coach John Spatz said.
The womens team completed the 3,200-meter race in an unofficial 9 minutes, 36.8 seconds, more than three seconds faster than the automatic qualifier. The mens squad came in at about 7:45, a second and a half faster than the automatic qualifier of 7:46.5.
Both relays qualified with no competition.
Both those teams basically ran by themselves, Spatz said. Boise State had a team in each race but they were never a factor.
The womens team consisted of Jill Heinz, Danielle Spiekermeier, Kelsey Jones and Carrie Jones.
Heinz, a fifth-year senior, will go to the national meet for a second time; she went as a freshman with the 4x800 relay team. Spiekermeier had already gotten a trip to nationals by qualifying in the 1,500.
Spiekermeier ran the fastest leg at 2:16.6, and Kelsey Jones set a PR in the 800 on her leg. Spiekermeier, if shed have run that in an open race that would have qualified her in the 8, Spatz said.
The mens team is made up of Ian Schroeder, Ben Terry, Pat Egelus and Dave Terry. Their qualifying time would rank them in the top eight in the nation.
The top eight teams in the prelims at nationals qualify for the finals, and thats what both mens and womens teams are shooting for, Spatz said.
Eastern now has the two relay teams and four other individuals qualified for the NAIA national meet, May 22-24 in Abbotsford, British Columbia.
Tim Riley will run the mens 5,000 meters and Ben Gall the 10,000. April Haney will compete in the womens shot put and hammer, and Leah Merrell will throw the hammer with Haney.
That bumps our numbers up quite a bit, Spatz said. Last week I was wondering what to do with those extra (motel) rooms. Now we barely have enough.