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Track and Field Closes 2009 at the EIU Early Bird Classic

CHARLESTON, Ill. - One weight thrower, a trio of mile runners and a pole vaulter highlighted the final meet of 2009 for the DePaul men's and women's track and field teams.  Brad Millar tallied an NCAA provisional qualification distance in the weight throw, every Blue Demon to race in the mile earned their spot at the 2010 BIG EAST Conference Indoor Championship, and Chris Johnston wrote his name in the school record books. 

For the second time in as many chances this season, Millar took the top-spot in the men's weight throw.  His personal-record distance of 19.72m not only gives him his second BIG EAST mark of the season, but puts him in the running for the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championship. 

Mary Cate Quiett, who has already met the league standard in the 1,000m, added a second event to her potential conference championship schedule, after clocking a 5:03.98 to take fourth place.  Terah Cheatham crossed the finish line just behind her, also recording a BIG EAST qualifying time of 5:06.00.

Quiett went on to place third in the 400m with a time of 59.64.  While she has posted a time as low as 57.10 in the outdoor 400m, it was the first time the junior has competed in the race indoors.  Lindsey Holden claimed ninth place behind a time of 1:01.55.

Max Rodrigues became the second Blue Demon to qualify in the men's mile at the league meet after posting a time of 4:19.28.  It was the first time the freshman has raced in the event at the collegiate level.  He joins Greg Udzielak, who qualified last weekend with a team-best time of 4:13.22.  Udzielak did not race in mile tonight; however, he did dominate the 1,000m and won in a time of 2:28.97.  The time eclipses the BIG EAST standard, and the senior joins Quiett and Joe Strawder as the only other student-athletes to qualify in multiple events.

Tyler Schmitt and Chris Gallardo also competed in the 1,000m, registering times of 2:38.21 and 2:41.44, respectively.  Courtney Avvampato finished the women's 1,000m in a personal-record time of 3:05.45 to place fourth.

Johnston, who already owns the DePaul record in the outdoor pole vault with a height of 3.96m, claimed the indoor record as well, after catapulting himself over a crossbar set at 3.70m. 

DePaul's jumpers were led by freshman Eddie Anderson, who tallied his first BIG EAST mark of the season after stretching the tape to 6.70m in the long jump.  On the women's side, Ivy Moffett tied her career-best, finishing in fifth behind a leap of 5.27m.  Cynthia Edwards notched a season-best distance of 10.64m in the triple jump.

In the men's 60m prelims, Chris Kyles tied his own DePaul record with a time of 6.97 to enter the finals in third.  While his preliminary time gives the freshman another league qualifying time in the event, he was unable to improve upon the mark in the finals, and finished in eighth place.  Tristan Stagger qualified for the finals with a time of 7.23, while Cameron Bretl also earned his spot with a season-best time of 7.34.

Idia Omogiate continues to close in on the 7.85 conference standard time in the 60m, completing the prelims in a time of 7.86.  Also making it through the preliminary round was Moffett, who set a new PR with a time 7.92, while Holden recorded a time of 8.00.  Omogiate, who entered the finals in sixth, moved up a spot to finish in fifth place, while Moffett and Holden finished in eighth and 10th, respectively.

The men's 400m featured Gilbert Lifton, who finished in a time of 51.50 for third place, while Ryan Bosman crossed the finished line at the 54.00 mark.

The men's 600m proved to be photo-finish race, as less than two seconds divided the first six runners.  Max Clink placed fourth with a time of 1:23.20, while Edin Pasalic took home sixth place with a time of 1:23.81.

On the women's Kelly Pickering also placed fourth on the women's side with a time of 1:41.17 and Toni Salvatore clocked a 1:43.82 for seventh. 

In the final event of the evening, Matt Babicz notched personal and team-best shot put of 14.33m to finish in sixth place.  Tim Vala ended the night in ninth after hitting a distance of 12.87m.  On the women's side, Ebonie Cobb also place ninth after throwing the shot put 11.84m.

The Blue Demons return to competition on Jan. 9, when they travel to West Lafayette, Ind. for the Purdue Invitational.