May 12, 2002 11:00 pm

Eastern's Terry qualifies for 3,000 steeplechase

Instead of going to the Northwest Nazarene NCAA Qualifier Saturday, members of the Eastern track and field team were scattered from Eugene to Seattle to La Grande.

All of it paid off as Ben Terry became an automatic qualifier in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

Terry, along with Brian Crowl, competed at the Ken Foreman Invitational at the University of Washington.

Terry was ranked 27th but that changed with his nine minute 18.62 seconds result. The automatic qualifier mark is 9:26.00.

"He jumped 20 spots in the rankings and picked up the auto qualifier," Eastern coach John Spatz said.

Spatz said the entire weekend was about getting one more automatic qualifier in order to have the national team set.

Crowl did not improve his time in the 5,000 (16:07.10). The automatic qualifier mark is 14:56.24.

Pat Egelus ran the 1,500 at the Oregon Twilight at the University of Oregon. Egelus also did not improve his time (3:56.92) and just missed the automatic qualifier mark (3:55.25).

Eastern hosted a decathlon Friday and Saturday with four competitors from Eastern and one from Northwest Nazarene University.

Matt Young and Brian Hartley were trying to improve their scores.

The top 16 marks nationally earn automatic qualifiers.

Young finished the weekend in first place with 5,858 points. Hartley was third with 5,403 points.

Both improved their scores by 200 points from the last decathlon.

"It looks like right now he's (Young) going to be sitting (in) 18th (place), Spatz said.

Spatz also said Young has been battling a leg injury off and on for the last three weeks.

"Matt is going to be right on the bubble," he said. "I'm hoping he gets in."

Some were throwing the discus, shot put, hammer and pole vault to prepare for the national championships.

Leah Merrell shattered her record in the hammer by throwing 176 feet, 5 inches.

Merrell's mark is No. 1 in the NAIA and NCAA III.

"(She) uncorked 176 (feet, 5 inches), it was a sweet throw," Spatz said.

Eastern has this weekend off before heading to the NAIA and NCAA championships the following week.

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