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Sauls Makes Leap In Faith Ewu Junior Soars When It Counts

Taneka Sauls went from ER to PR in one glorious afternoon Friday, forsaking the sick bed to place third in the long jump during the first day of the Big Sky Conference track and field championships at Woodward Stadium.

“I’ve been sick for a week and I don’t know, I just think the rest did my body good,” reasoned Sauls, an Eastern Washington University junior. “I really couldn’t do anything else but sleep.”

With a jump of 18 feet, 11-3/4 inches, Sauls bettered her personal record by 5-1/4 inches and even edged freshman teammate Adrienne Wilson, the Big Sky’s third-ranked long jumper. Cherice Ellison of Cal State-Northridge won the event with a season-best leap of 19-7, while Angie Migray of Northern Arizona was second at 18-11-3/4.

Wilson jumped a respectable 18-7-3/4, but Friday simply wasn’t her day - as her misfortune in the 100 meters illustrates. The University High graduate ran her heat in 12.83 seconds to tie for the last spot in today’s final, only to lose a coin flip with NAU’s Sommer Washington.

The NAU women led Northridge 68-44 in team scoring after one day, thanks in part to Anna Soderberg’s record-setting performance in the shot put. The senior’s heave of 51-3 broke the conference record of 51-1-3/4, previously held by teammate and third-place finisher Linda Nestorsson.

The EWU women have 13 points.

The NAU men built a 53-42 lead over Weber State by posting victories in the discus, long jump and 3,000-meter steeplechase. The EWU men scored 20 points, led by sophomore Elondrus Lee’s second-place finish in the long jump.

The meet resumes this morning with field events at 10. Running events are scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m.

Lee, who jumped 24-9 during the indoor season, has been limited recently by a hamstring injury, so his second-place leap of 23-4-1/2 was somewhat rprising. NAU’s Tommy Sarenbrant went 24-4-1/4 to win the event.

Two other EWU men had third-place finishes , including freshman Aaron Williams, who threw the javelin 203-10 just days after the death of his grandmother.

“It’s just a great accomplishment for him,” EWU coach Stan Kerr said. “He finally broke the 200-foot barrier, which he’s sort of been carrying on his shoulders for several weeks.”

Junior teammate Ben Johnston was EWU’s other third-place finisher, throwing the discus 164-6. NAU sophomore Nick Petrucci (174-6) was the winner, while EWU senior Les Timm came up 6 inches short of qualifying for the finals.

EWU’s most accomplished athlete, sophomore Seville Broussard, managed to smile through most of what for her was a rather tumultuous first day.

Already a provisional NCAA qualifier in the 400 hurdles, Broussard lowered her PR from 59.89 to 59.60.

So far, so good.

And while Broussard also breezed to victory in her 100 hurdles heat, she didn’t escape without banging her left knee on the eighth and ninth hurdles. Then came the high jump, in which Broussard, who cleared 5-10 during the season, appeared to suffer a case of nerves.

“I just don’t do so hot when I come sprinting over to the high jump (after running hurdles),” said Broussard, who cleared just 5-5 and had to settle for sixth. “I have to work on that, obviously.”

Not to mention that confounding stress fracture.

“Actually, it’s a really confusing situation because the doctor said it’s in the fibula of my (right) leg, which doesn’t hurt at all,” Broussard explained. “And the leg that hurts, there’s supposedly nothing wrong at all.

“And I said, wait a minute, I thought stress fractures hurt. They’re like, ‘yeah, they do. …’ I just have to make it through the week.”

NAU’s Sabine Krieger won the high jump at 5-8-3/4. Defending champ Brenda Naber, who needed more attempts to clear the same height, was second.

Naber, a fifth-year senior from Montana, salvaged what had been a disappointing season - thanks to a little stuffed bear, of all things. Friday, she simply ran out of time.

“I have to rub it for good luck before I jump, and if I don’t, I miss,” Naber explained. “And I didn’t get a very good rub that last time because they were hurrying me - they said your time has started and I had 30 seconds, so I had to move my mark and rub my bear and I didn’t get a very good rub.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 color photos