KENTUCKY OR BUST
Beginning tomorrow at Cardinal Park in Louisville, Ky. seven Eastern Oregon University athletes will take part in the NAIA National Outdoor Track and Field Meet, highlighted by senior Dirk Bortz and his quest for national titles in the discus and the hammer.
"Dirk is trying to keep it pretty understated," EOU head coach Ben Welch said. "The thing we need to watch for is him coming out and trying to force the issue because he wants to win it so bad.
"Dirk came out and had a real good practice session Monday; was really flinging it out there. We don't have a real big group, but every single person we have is ranked which has never happened to us before."
Bortz, a senior from Bonner's Ferry, Idaho, is currently ranked first in the NAIA in the hammer and third in the discus.
Bortz finished eighth in the discus at the 2003 national tournament with a throw of 159 feet, eight inches. His current best in the discus for this season is 171-9.
Bortz was third in the weight throw at this year's NAIA Indoor tournament.
Also, teammate Adam Cooper is currently ranked sixth in the NAIA in the hammer throw.
Bortz and Cooper finished 1-2 in the hammer at the Cascade Collegiate Conference tournament earlier this month.
Senior Eric Griffiths of Hubbard will try to improve on his All-American performance from a year ago when he finished fourth in the 10,000 meter run with a time of 30 minutes, 50 seconds.
Griffiths is currently ranked third in the NAIA in the 10,000 with a time of 30:37.73.
Eric Griffith, a junior from La Grande, will compete in the decathlon. Griffith was first at the CCC Championships in the decathlon this season and was named CCC Track and Field Male Athlete of the Year.
Ian Schroeder rounds out the men's team, competing in the 1,500.
Stephanie Colkitt, a junior from Union, will compete in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, which she finished 19th in last season at the national outdoor meet.
Colkitt is currently ranked 13th in the event.
Chelsey Wheelhouse, who took first at the CCC Championships in the hammer throw, will also compete.
"We're pretty excited about it," said Welch by phone interview in Louisville. "It's a tad breezy here, but the weather is beautiful and that's all we can really ask for. I think we're going to do just fine."