EOU TRACK KICKS INTO HIGH GEAR
By Raenelle Kwock
Observer Staff Writer
The Eastern Oregon men are gearing up for a conference track title, while the women are working on individual success, coach Ben Welch says.
Around 22 women and 35 men are participating this season.
The opening meet is the Dusty Lane Invitational in Spokane Saturday. About 20 Eastern athletes will compete there.
Next on tap is the elite Stanford Invitational March 26.
Depending on the weather, the team will compete at the Willamette University Invitational April 2.
Welch said the team has six to seven straight weeks of competition leading up to nationals.
"There's no rest for the wicked," Welch said laughing.
The conference is made up of Southern Oregon University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Evergreen State, Warner Pacific College, Cascade College and Northwest College.
Welch said the team does not have enough depth to pursue a conference title.
"It's a goal down the road," he said referring to recruiting.
The distance runners are Jessyca Barker, Laura Clayton, Stephanie Colkitt, Rian Finney, Keely Hopkins, Jessica Johnston, Shawna Muchow, Lauren Plymire, Nicole Voitovitch, Shelby Zacharias and Kelsey Jones.
Marika Dobos will run the 400 and 800-meter dashes. Sarah Flesher is an 800-meter runner.
In addition to the runners are Melissa Jacobson (throws), Eastern volleyball player Jamie Russell (high and triple jump), Baker High School graduate Amy Servin (jumper), Ashley Rysdam (pole vault), Charlotte Kreger (hurdles) and Desarae Nawras (jumps/hurdles).
Thrower Dirk Bortz and middle distance runner Pat Egelus are redshirting.
Pole vaulter Shawn Trimble returns.
Samuel Wambugu and Ben Carpenter will run distance along with Brian Crowl, Josh Ego, Nick Fikes, Michael Greenman, Eric Griffiths, Mana Martin, Alex McGladrey, Jake Peterson, Tim Riley and Ian Schroeder.
Griffith's older brother Jason joins the team as a distance runner.
"He's a little stud, potentially," Welch said with a laugh.
He said there are significant changes with the throwers Jonathan Cosgrove and Adam Cooper are new; and Ryan Cullen and Matt Jones are throwing the javelin.
Damien Johnson and Matt Young are competing in the decathlon.
"Damien is back," Welch said. "He's a pretty potent returner."
Raymond Field returns from a lower leg injury. He was the runner-up at conference in the 400.
Josh Johnson returns.
Eastern football player Luke Orlando is throwing.
Baker High School graduate Michael Woydziak will run the 400 and two relays.
"We have big point scorers back and not little point (scorers)," Welch said. "Time will tell."