MOUNTAINEERS OPEN INDOOR TRACK SEASON
Eastern Oregon University opens the 2005 indoor track and field season Saturday at the Domino's Pizza Open at the Idaho Center in Nampa.
The Mountaineer teams begin gearing toward the NAIA National Indoor Championships March 3-5 in Johnson City, Tenn.
EOU senior Shawn Trimble of Elgin is the defending national champion in the pole vault. Trimble has won three straight Cascade Collegiate Conference championships in the event and holds the school record.
Trimble was the NAIA national outdoor champion two years ago, earning All-American status. He has exhausted his outdoor eligibility, though. Trimble was a three-time outdoor All-American.
EOU third-year head coach Ben Welch said today that Trimble might not vault Saturday due to a hamstring problem.
Five others return after finishing in the top 25 in events at nationals last year. They are sophomore Josh Johnson, 13th, high jump; Pat Egelus, 18th, 800 meters; Dirk Bortz, 19th, weight throw; Jessyca Barker, 20th, 3,000 meters; and Ian Schroeder, 25th, 3,000 meters. All are seniors except Johnson, who is a sophomore.
Welch said Johnson is healing injuries from the EOU football season and won't compete at Nampa. Barker and Schroeder will wait until next Saturday's meet in Nampa to compete.
According to Welch, EOU indoor athletes have been working out as a unit for only a week-and-a-half. He said about 35 Mountaineers will compete in the opener.
"This meet is very low key," Welch explained. "It's an open meet, a chance to clean the pipes out."
It's an all-comers meet, and will include college and high school athletes.
"We use indoor to condition and prepare for outdoor," said Welch. "Without an indoor facility of our own we use it as a building block when we have a conference meet."