(MSUB Athletics photo)

(MSU Billings release)

BOZEMAN – Less than a week after smoky skies and 90-degree temperatures the Yellowjacket’s cross country teams were greeted by a skiff of snow this morning in Bozeman as MSUB competed in the Montana State Invitational. The ‘Jackets competed in the Class-B bracket against Carroll College and Montana State University Northern. The men won their bracket with their top five finishers recording a combined time of 2:19:55.11 on the five mile course.

“The weather presented some challenges to all of the competitors today,” head coach Jonathan Woehl said. “Our runners did a great job of doing what they could given the conditions. Tyus (Mendoza) led the way and had a great day for us. He executed exactly what we talked about this week.”

Tyus Mendoza was the ‘Jackets best finisher on the day and clocked the top time among affiliated runners with his 26:45.59 topping Carrol’s Layne Ryerson by just over two seconds. His Yellowjacket teammates were not far behind as Ivan Colmenero (27:37.98) was the third attached runner to finish followed by sophomore Ronald Venema (27:57.35). Both Colmenero and Mendoza shave about 40-seconds off of their marks from last season’s meet in Bozeman.

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“Ivan gutted out a solid performance after having a tough time in the middle of his run.” Woehl said of the junior.

The freshman crop also showed well in Bozeman with Carson Jessop (28:23.28) and Jack Pickell (29:10.91) both earning a top-10 spot among the affiliated runners in the non-Division I class.

“Ron, Carson and Jack visibly improved from last weekend which is a great sign for us as we have been pushing our training and workouts,” Coach Woehl added.

Nikki Aiken had another outstanding performance as the sophomore captain has proved to be a consistent finisher at the top of the ‘Jacket lineup. The Belgrade, Mont. native clocked an 18:59.01 on the three mile course on her way to a third-place finish. Aiken cut more than 40-seconds off of her performance from last year’s MSU Invite all while battling through cold and wet conditions.

Senior Bailey Bomar was the next MSUB runner to cross the line with her time of 20:02.10 earning her eighth place. Sophomore Catrina Schuchard (21:14.98) and freshman Kateri Bridges (22:57.12) completed the ‘Jacket lineup by finishing 13th and 15th respectively.

“The women ran well across the board,” Woehl said. “We were a little short-handed but Nikki, Bailey, Catrina and Kateri performed well. Nikki had a great kick to finish under the 19 minute mark. Bailey continues to do a good job of battling through the middle of her races. I’m happy with the way Catrina has remained consistent with her runs and Kateri ran well even though she had battled a cold all week.”

UP NEXT: The ‘Jackets will have two weeks to recover and prepare for their next meet in Boulder, Colo. on Saturday, Sept. 30. It will be the second season that MSUB makes the trip to the Rocky Mountain Shootout hosted by the University of Colorado.

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