(Photo courtesy MSU Billings)

(Editor’s Note: This is a release from MSU Billings)

NAMPA, Id. – Sam Zook became the 2017 GNAC champion in the men’s 60 meters at the 2017 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships Saturday at the Ford Idaho Center.

The MSU Billings junior came into the championships ranked second overall with a time of 6.85, but did hold the top time in the 60 meters. After advancing to the finals yesterday with the fastest time out of the preliminary round of 6.91, Zook completed Saturday’s championship race in 6.90, beating out Kyler Ooley from Central Washington by .04 seconds at the line.

Zook holds the MSUB record and the fourth-fastest time in GNAC history in the 60 meters. The native of Casper, Wyo., has put together a complete season this year for the Yellowjackets after tearing his hamstring his freshman season and then redshirting last winter.

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“Sam was under a lot of pressure in the 60 meters,” MSUB head coach Dave Coppock said. “He was able to come through though, pulling out the win in the big race. He looked real good and then ran a great opening leg of the men’s 4×4 relay.”

Freshman Michaela Johnson had an outstanding day in the women’s 60 meter hurdles. The graduate of Billings West High School qualified for the finals yesterday with the seventh fastest time in the preliminaries of 9.21. During the championship final, Johnson smashed her own MSUB school record, placing third in 8.96 for an all-conference finish.

“Michaela had an outstanding race in the 60 meter hurdles,” Coppock said. “She broke her MSUB record and finished as all-conference.”

In the men’s 60 meter hurdles, Austin Lindquist dropped his own MSUB record with a time of 8.51 for a seventh place finish. Lindquist advanced out of the preliminary round yesterday with a time of 8.65.

Adding to the score board for the MSUB men’s team, Brady Ostermiller placed seventh in the shot put with a season best mark of 47-09.00. The 4×400 relay team of Zook, Chuck Carr, Nate Vanderby, and Landon Polkow placed seventh in a season best time of 3:24.38.

The women’s 4×400 relay team slashed their MSUB record with a seventh place finish of 4:02.28. Brenna Beckett, Janessa Williams, Jewlz Collins, and Josey Smiedala broke the Yellowjacket record last week in Idaho and cut the time by another second in the race Saturday.

“It was a good meet for us,” Coppock commented. “The men’s 4×4 relay had a really good day. We didn’t expect them to finish that high and that time is the best of the season. I think everyone came through with some solid performances. We had a lot of personal and season bests. The women are really young and gained a lot of experience at this meet.”

The Yellowjacket men’s team finished with 29 points for ninth place. The women scored eight points for 10th place.

Alaska Anchorage won the men’s team trophy with a total of 154.5 points. Seattle Pacific finished just ahead of Simon Fraser 124 points to 122.5 for the women’s championship.

Final Team Scores

MEN: Alaska Anchorage 154.5, Western Oregon 82, Northwest Nazarene 77.5, Simon Fraser 76.5, Concordia 67, Central Washington 65, Western Washington 64, Saint Martin’s 36.5, Montana State Billings 29, Seattle Pacific 11.

WOMEN: Seattle Pacific 124, Simon Fraser 122.5, Alaska Anchorage 113, Central Washington 84, Concordia 60, Western Washington 51.5, Northwest Nazarene 39, Saint Martin’s 35, Western Oregon 25, Montana State Billings 8.