March 18, 2001 11:00 pm

By The Observer

SPOKANE The hammer throw agrees with Eastern Oregons Leah Merrell.

The Mountaineer junior and defending NCAA Division III national champion unleashed her third-best throw ever in her first outdoor meet of the season Saturday.

Merrell saved her 172-feet, 10-inch throw for last at the Dusty Lane Open, winning by more than 8 feet.

Merrell holds the school record of 175-4, a mark she set last year and later tied to win the national title at the NCAA Division III meet.

The throw qualified Merrell for this years NAIA and NCAA Division III national meets in May.

Easterns Ben Gall made the provisional qualifying mark in the mens 5,000-meter run in Spokane. Gall finished fourth in 15 minutes, 13.06 seconds, five seconds faster than the qualifier.

Gall raced in the lead pack and actually took the lead when the pack slowed down, assistant coach Ben Welch said. The top three runners outkicked Gall to the finish. Easterns Tim Riley stayed at the back of t lead pack and was fifth in a personal-best 15:22.96.

Freshman Trent Hartill made Easterns all-time list in the javelin in just his second year of competition in the event. Hartill didnt come out for track until his senior year of high school but ended up second at state for Astoria.

On Saturday he threw the javelin 174-2, making him the fourth-best athlete in that event in school history. Harley North set the school record of 200-11 in 1994.

If he can smooth a few technical things out he can throw a lot farther, Welch said.

Eastern had the fifth- through eighth-place runners in the 3,000 steeplechase. Mike Anderson led the pack and was fifth in 9:50.80, despite falling down on the first hurdle.

Ian Schroeder was sixth at 9:57.89 in his first-ever steeplechase. Ben Terry was seventh at 10:01.07 and Brian Crowl was eighth at 10:06.60.

Cameron Christiansen also had a first-ever event, the 100, where he finished 17th in 11.66 seconds.

Easterns Alex McGladrey was 10th in the 1,500 in 4:10.44, a 12-second personal record for him.

For the Eastern women, Jill Heinz was third in the 800 in 2:22.65. Danielle Spiekermeier was fifth at 2:24.33. Heinz also ran the 200 and finished ninth in 28.31. Spiekermeier was eighth in the 1,500 at 4:58.91.

Lindsey Ulrich finished fifth in the 5,000 at 18:37.74, four seconds ahead of teammate Katlin Lafferty, who was sixth.

The Mountaineers return to Spokane for their next competition, April 7, at the Whitworth Invitational.

Dusty Lane Open

Saturday, at Spokane

Eastern Oregon results


100 17, Cameron Christiansen, 11.66.

200 12, Ben Baker, 23.65; 17, Matt Young, 24.92; 19, Nick Rickard, 25.47.

400 11, Baker, 52.18; 18, Alex MacKenzie, 53.48.

800 4, Ben Terry, 1:59.19; Pat Egelus, 2:01; 14, Jesse Peterson, 2:05.88; 15, Alex McGladrey, 2:06.02; 21, Dallas Kinch, 2:10.09.

1,500 10, McGladrey, 4:10.44; 11, Eric Griffiths, 4:11.39; 12, Egelus, 4:12.14; 18, Peterson, 4:16.52; 26, Kinch, 4:23.41.

3,000 steeplechase 5, Mike Anderson, 9:50.80; 6, Ian Schroeder, 9:57.89; 7, B.Terry, 10:01.07; 8, Brian Crowl, 10:06.60.

5,000 4, Ben Gall, 15:13.06; 5, Tim Riley, 15:22.96; 12, Dave Terry, 15:59.55.

110 high hurdles 14, Jeff Grant, 19.13.

400 intermediate hurdles 10, Grant, 1:03.39.

400 relay 5, Eastern Oregon (Rickard, Baker, Christiansen, Matt Wandschneider), 44.96.

1,600 relay 3, Eastern Oregon A (Brian Hartley, Wandschneider, Schroeder, D.Terry), 3:30.70; 8, Eastern Oregon B, 3:36.11; 10, Eastern Oregon C, 3:43.46.

Long jump 13, Jake Cahill, 18-5.

Triple jump 9, Cahill, 36-11.

High jump 4, Young, 6-0 3/4; 6, Cahill, 5-10 3/4.

Javelin 12, Trent Hartill, 174-2.


200 9, Jill Heinz, 28.31.

800 3, Heinz, 2:22.65; 5, Danielle Spiekermeier, 2:24.33; 18, Carri Jones, 2:42.07.

1,500 8, Spiekermeier, 4:58.91; 20, C.Jones, 5:42.13.

5,000 5, Lindsey Ulrich, 18:37.74; 6, Katlin Lafferty, 18:41.84; 9, Kelsi Jones, 19:02.10.

Hammer 1, Leah Merrell, 172-10.

Eastern trio compete in Cheney

CHENEY, Wash. Eastern Oregons Brian Hartley, Paul Lapke and Julie LiaBraaten competed Thursday and Friday at a combined event meet at Eastern Washington University.

Hartley was ninth in the decathlon, scoring 5,057 points in the 10-event competition. Hartley fared better in the running events, scoring 1,965 points in the 100, 400 and 1,500.

Lapke was 11th in the decathlon at 3,431 points. The 100 (12.37) was his best event, but he failed to score in the high jump when he could not make the opening height.

LiaBraaten was 10th in the heptathlon at 3,190 points. Her highest-scoring events were the 800 (2:42.10) and 200 (29.49).