MSU, UM combine for 6 Big Sky individual track and field titles at outdoor championships

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Posted at 11:22 PM, May 13, 2022

(Editor's note: Montana State and Montana media releases)

POCATELLO, Idaho — The Montana State track and field program combined for eight all-conference performances, including four gold medals, as the Bobcats completed the third day at the Big Sky Conference Outdoor Championships at Davis Field on Friday.

The Montana State men's team is in the midst of a tight pack in the standings. The Bobcats hold the lead with 60 points, but are closely followed by Weber State (58), Idaho State (39) and Northern Arizona (38). MSU's women's squad is in second place with 39.5 points. The Bobcats trail NAU (55), but sit ahead of Idaho State (32.5) and Sacramento State (31.5).

MSU got the day off to a strong start as Lucy Corbett sealed her second consecutive gold medal in the women's high jump outdoors. She cleared all three of her first attempts and earned her combined fifth gold medal at Big Sky Championships with her mark of 5 feet, 10.50 inches (1.79m).

"I'm super excited," Corbett said after winning another conference title. "I was looking for a higher mark, but the main thing was to come out and compete at conference and get some points for the team."

The Bobcat women's squad had their highest producing event of the championships so far in the long jump. Elena Carter paced MSU with a leap of 20-01.50 (6.13m). She earned her first all-conference honors in the event, earning gold with the third-best mark in program history. Carter was joined on the podium by Alex Hellenberg whose jump of 19-11.75 (6.09) placed her as runner-up. The first all-Big Sky performance in Hellenberg's college career came behind MSU's fourth best mark on its top 10 list. Corbett continued a strong day by scoring four points for MSU as she took fifth in the event thanks to a mark of 19-00.75 (5.81m).

"It feels really good," Carter said of her performance. "My outdoor long jump has been so much better than indoor, I've been feeling way more consistent and solid. I'm really happy that I was able to show up and do what I wanted to do."

Carter's strong day continued as she advanced to finals in two events. She took first in the 100-meter hurdles preliminaries crossing the line in 13.53 seconds, while she had the second fastest time of 11.57 in the 100 as well.

The Bobcat men got a boost in the 3,000 steeplechase. Duncan Hamilton won his third straight Big Sky championship in the event as he broke the Davis Field record by clocking an 8:49.42. He was followed by Levi Taylor who earned a silver medal in the event with a time of 8:56.42. Cooper West rounded out the Bobcat contingent in the event as he placed eighth by coming in at 9:14.13.

Hamilton also raced in the 1,500. He qualified for a finals race by clocking the sixth fastest time of 3:54.11 in the prelims. Hamilton will be joined tomorrow by Riley Collins who came in 11th in the prelims with his time of 3:56.22.

"It was perfect," Hamilton said of his and Taylor's finish in the steeplechase. "We've been talking about executing that race like that for awhile. Getting 1-2 and picking up 19 points is big. Today went according to plan in getting a bunch of points in the steeplechase and making it into finals in the 1,500."

Rounding out MSU's gold medal efforts Friday was the Bobcats' outing in the men's 10,000. Ben Perrin and Matthew Richtman were in a battle for the top spot in the event. NAU's Drew Bosley and Ryan Raff held the top two positions with under 400 meters left, but Perrin completed a strong kick over the final 200 meters. He earned first place at a Big Sky Championship meet for the first time by crossing in at 30:00.95 which moved him to the fourth slot on MSU's all-time chart. Richtman added to the Bobcat podium showing as he placed third in 30:03.57, just two tenths of a second ahead of Raff.

"That was one of the weirdest last laps I've been a part of," Perrin said. "In my head, I was all over the place. I wasn't sure what I had left and when I saw Drew and Ryan from NAU start to go, I thought they were just gone. I kind of went around Matt and just wanted to try moving up.

"I felt just a surge when I heard everybody at the finish, so I told myself to just give it all I have and see what happens. I had a little bit more left than I thought. It was an awesome finish and race."

The MSU men also picked up eight points in the javelin, seven in the shot put and five more in the pole vault. Cooper Hoffman recorded a lifetime-best mark of 215-03 (65.61m) in the javelin to earn a bronze medal, his first all-Big Sky honors of his career. Cantor Coverdell placed seventh in the event with a throw of 199-01 (60.69m). Alec Nehring and Carter Slade recorded throws of 57-08.25 (17.58m) and 55-09.75 (17.01) in the shot put to place fourth and seventh, respectively. The pole vault crew was led by Robert Hartley's sixth-place showing as he cleared 15-09.75 (4.82m). Hunter Nicholson took seventh in the event with his vault of 15-03.75 (4.67m).

MSU's women's squad picked up additional points in the high jump, hammer throw and steeplechase on Friday. Anna Trudnowski tied for fourth in the high jump by clearing 5-05.75 (1.67m). Zoe Waddell and Hannah Perrin each recorded lifetime bests in the hammer and steeplechase, respectively. Waddell took seventh with her throw of 172-04 (52.54m), while Perrin's time of 10:56.95 put her on to the Bobcats' all-time top 10 list as she placed eighth.

The Bobcat women's side had a couple athletes narrowly miss out on scoring team points. Evelyn Adams took ninth in the long jump, Kylie Christiansen finished 10th in the hammer and Leah Klein led a contingent of MSU throwers with a 10th-place showing in the hammer.

MSU's men saw Drake Schneider, Chris Bianchini and Will Anderson advance to finals races. Schneider's 400 hurdles prelims time of 50.05 broke the Big Sky's championship time in the event. Bianchini had the top time in the 800 prelims of 1:50.93, while Noah Majerus just missed out on the finals as he had the ninth fastest time of 1:52.35. Anderson recorded the quickest time of the 400 prelims of 47.74. Alex Hershey narrowly joined him in the finals as he set the 10th best time of 49.46.

Multiple MSU women's athletes advanced to finals races. Both Macy White (11.77) and Morgan Evans (13.70) took second in the 100 and 100 hurdle prelims, respectively. Evelyn Adams had the sixth fastest time in the 100 hurdles. Mya Dube's eighth-place mark in the 1,500 of 4:28.19 put her third in MSU's history. Madison Smith had a lifetime best of 2:14.20 in the 800 en route to qualifying for the finals in eighth.

Morgan Hanson almost made a finals appearance in the 400 as she completed a time of 57.38. Shelby Schweyen came to close to scoring for the Bobcat women she tied for 10th in the high jump.

The Big Sky Conference Outdoor Championships continue in Pocatello on Saturday. The first field event begins at 9:30 a.m. and track events start at 2 p.m.

Montana had a memorable day at the Big Sky Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Friday, winning two individual titles and setting a school record in another event. Tanessa Morris opened the day by repeating as champion in the women's hammer throw while Evan Todd, a Kalispell native, won the men's javelin late in the afternoon. Meanwhile, Catie Buck, who is competing in her first track & field season after beginning her collegiate career as a Griz soccer player, set a school record in the 100 meters, breaking a 33-year-old school record.

Overall, Montana earned points from nine different athletes across seven events, while qualifying seven additional athletes for Saturday's running finals.

Women's hammer throw – Tanessa Morris (196-10, 1st/22); Kaitlyn Gallo (PR 183-6, 4th); Ariel Clark (170-3, 9th)
To show just how good Morris has been in the hammer, you just have to look to Friday's results. She won the event on Friday – by nearly six full feet – despite not being at her best. Her top throw of 196-10 was less than her total in all but two meets this spring, yet it was far and away good enough to win the conference meet. Morris had three throws of 193 feet or further, while second-place Vernice Keyes of Eastern Washington topped out at 191-0.

Morris, who won the hammer throw in 2021, was the heavy favorite to repeat as champion. She had a 12-foot cushion entering the meet and was coming off of a school-record-setting performance last weekend, when she reached 210-4 and was named the Big Sky Conference Female Field Athlete of the Week for the second time this spring.

Her first throw, though, hit into the net, resulting in a foul. Like she did last weekend, she threw a 'safe' throw on her second attempt, a mark of 185-1 that would have placed her fourth in the completion if she stopped there.

She wasn't done, though, reaching 193-5 on her third attempt to enter the finals round as the favorite. Impressively, Montana had one-third of the finals qualifiers, with Gallo and Clark each surpassing 170 feet in the preliminary round. Clark's first throw (170-3) was her best, finishing ninth, while Gallo, competing in her first Big Sky Championship meet, PR'd by more than 10 feet to place fourth (183-6). The freshman had a fantastic day, with three of her throws surpassing 175 feet, something she had never-before done prior to Friday. Her final throw was her best and moved her from fifth to fourth place in the standings.

Morris, meanwhile, improved on her 193-5 on her third attempt, reaching 196-8 on her fourth and 196-10 on her fifth. On her final attempt, already having secured the championship title, she let loose but fouled as her body fell out of the ring.

Montana has now won four hammer titles in the past five Championship meets, with Hana Feilzer doing so in 2017 and 2019 and Morris going back-to-back in 2021 and 2022. Morris last week broke Feilzer's school-record mark, set in 2019, and will now look to follow in Feilzer's footsteps and qualify for nationals (Morris is a lock for NCAA Regionals and currently ranks 26th in the nation this season). Prior to Montana's current run of four individual titles in five Championship meets, Montana had never before won a women's hammer throw championship.

Men's javelin – Evan Todd (224-10, 1st/12); Matthew Hockett (204-7, 5th)
Todd entered the meet as the favorite, throwing the Big Sky's top mark of the season at 229-2 late in March. However, since the season-opening meet nearly two months ago, Todd hasn't been close to that distance, hovering around 200 for much of the season.

On Friday, he proved that his top throw from March was not an aberration, winning the javelin at 224-10.

Weber State's Cody Canard took the lead at 218-5 on his first throw, and it looked as if he would hold on for victory. Todd was really good, with four throws between 206 and 216 feet, but not quite on par with Canard's first throw.

That changed on Todd's final throw, as he unleashed a 224-10 that proved to be the winner.

Following that throw, there was just one throw remaining in the competition, and it came from Canard. The Wildcat put up a good attempt, reaching 209-5, but it wasn't enough to surpass Todd, who won a Big Sky title as just a sophomore. Similar to the women's hammer, it marked Montana's fourth champion in the past six outdoor Championship meets.

Montana had two of the nine finals qualifiers, with Hockett scoring for the second year in a row. Hockett fouled on five of his six throws, but his one marked attempt – his first throw of 204-7 – was good enough to advance to the finals and score.

Women's 100 meters (prelims) – Catie Buck (11.80q, 5th/18); Emma Normand (11.95, 9th)
Buck was recruited to Montana as a soccer player, playing four seasons for the perennial Big Sky champions. Injuries limited her time on the pitch, and after retiring from soccer, she took up the opportunity to compete for Montana's track & field team. She has been one of Montana's top sprinters all year, but jumped to another level on Friday when she broke Kris Schmitt's 1989 school record of 11.85.

Buck's time of 11.80 qualified her for Saturday's finals, where she will look to score for the first time. Normand, who herself set a school record this year (indoor 60 meters) narrowly missed qualifying, finishing ninth despite running an impressive 11.95.

Women's long jump – Jansen Ziola (19-4.25, 3rd/21); Ailsa Gilbert (17-8, 14th)
Ziola has shown throughout her career that she is capable of doing a little bit of everything. That's evidenced by the fact that she's scored in seven different events throughout her career. One of her best events, though, has always been the long jump, and she proved that again on Friday, reaching the podium with a third-place finish (19-4.25).

The opportunity nearly never arrived after Ziola fouled on her first two attempts. With just one more chance to qualify for the finals, Ziola did that and more with a jump of 18-11.75. On her next two attempts, she got even better, surpassing 19 feet, including a lifetime-best jump of 19-4.25 that got her to the podium for the eighth time in her career.

But Ziola wasn't done, also qualifying for the finals of the 100-meter hurdles and 400-meter hurdles.

Men's pole vault – Zane Johnson (15-9.75, 4th/15); Carson Weeden (14-10, 11th)
Johnson earned a top-four finish for the second consecutive year in the pole vault, clearing 15-9.75. He didn't pass 15-3.75 until his third and final attempt, but once he cleared that mark, he found a rhythm, moving up 6 more inches to earn solid points for the Griz.

Men's shot put – Brent Yeakey (56-1, 5th/21); Noah Ramirez (53-9.25, 10th)
One of the most consistent things over the past four years has been Yeakey scoring in the shot put. In fact, in eight conference meets across indoor and outdoor, Yeakey has scored all eight times, including a fifth-place finish on Friday (56-1). The throw was a season best for Yeakey, who owns school records for both the indoor and outdoor shot put. Yeakey was strong all day, surpassing 54 feet on his first four throws.

Ramirez also had a strong showing (53-9.25), coming up four inches shy of a lifetime best.

Men's long jump – Jason Upton (23-6, 6th/17)
A season after Upton came up painfully short of scoring, placing ninth in 2021, he scored points for the Griz, finishing sixth in the long jump (23-6). Upton fouled on his first two attempts, but hit 23-0 on his third to qualify for the finals, and improved to 23-6 – a lifetime best – on his next jump.

Men's 3,000-meter steeplechase – Ellis McKean (9:11.33, 7th/22); Joel Mendez (9:16.24, 9th); AJ Eckmann (9:40.29, 18th)
The hype entering the meet was for Mendez, who was seeded fourth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. But it was his teammate, McKean, who scored, running a lifetime-best time of 9:11.33 to place seventh. Mendez came up 2 seconds shy of scoring, placing ninth.

Women's 100-meter hurdles (prelims) – Jansen Ziola (13.82q, 3rd/19); Ailsa Gilbert (14.31, 9th); Carlee Fryberger (14.52, 11th)
Less than 10 minutes after reaching the podium in the women's long jump, Ziola was already back on the track for her next event. The limited rest time didn't seem to faze the junior, coming within four-hundredths of a second of a PR (13.82) to qualify for Saturday's finals with the third-best time in the field. Teammate Gilbert came up just shy of qualifying, finishing ninth.

Men's 110-meter hurdles (prelims) – Jaydon Green (14.45q, 4th/11)
Green missed the first month of the season due to injury but has come on strong over the past three weeks. He entered the week seeded 10th in the 110-meter hurdles, but ran a PR of two-tenths of a second to qualify for Saturday's finals with the fourth-best time in the field (14.45).

Men's 800 meters (prelims) – Quincy Fast (1:50.97q, 4th/24); Will Dauenhauer (1:55.76, 20th)
Sophomore Canadian Quincy Fast placed fifth in the 800 meters as a freshman in 2021, and will look to improve on that mark, currently in fourth place entering Saturday's finals. He had a fantastic race on Friday, finishing second in his heat, in a neck-and-neck race (1:50.97).

Women's 400-meter hurdles (prelims) – Holly Sudol (1:02.65q, 7th/20); Jansen Ziola (1:02.92q, 8th); Abby Harmon (1:04.98, 12th)
Montana was one of two schools to have two individuals qualify for the finals of the 400-meter hurdles. Sudol placed seventh in the preliminary round (1:02.65), followed by Ziola (1:02.92), who also qualified for the finals of the 100-meter hurdles (and reached the podium in the long jump).

Men's 400 meters (prelims) – Paul Johnstone (48.84q, 8th/15); Jay Beagle (49.90, 13th)
A six-time scorer in his young career, Johnstone will have the opportunity to add to that number after qualifying for the finals of the 400 meters (48.84).

Women's high jump – Morgan Radtke (5-1.75, 13th/16)
Radtke, who placed seventh in the heptathlon on Thursday and has scored multiple times in the high jump during her career, entered the week seeded fourth in the standalone high jump with a season-best jump of 5-7.25 just two weeks ago. She cleared 5-1.75 on her second attempt Friday, but missed all three jumps at 5-3.75, bowing out of the competition earlier than expected. It was unfortunate for Radtke, who earlier this week easily cleared 5-5.75 in the high-jump portion of the heptathlon.

Men's 100 meters (prelims) – Kip Krebsbach (10.66, 10th/20)

Men's 200 meters (prelims) – Kip Krebsbach (21.86, 9th/21); Paul Johnstone (22.00, 11th)
Krebsbach had a day of almosts, narrowly missing qualification in both the 100 meters (10.66) and 200 meters (21.86).

Women's 200 meters (prelims) – Emma Normand (24.80, 12th); Catie Buck (25.03, 14th); Camryn Dezember (25.91, 22nd)
Normand (24.80) and Dezember (25.91) ran lifetime-best times in the 200 meters, with Dezember doing so in her Championship debut.

Women's 800 meters (prelims) – Bridget Boyle (2:17.92, 14th/22); Katie Whitehurst (2:18.28, 16th)
Boyle (2:17.92) and Whitehurst (2:18.28) also made their Championship debuts on Friday, running in the preliminary round of the 800 meters.

Men's Team Standings
1. Montana State, 60
2. Weber State, 58
3. Idaho State, 39
4. Northern Arizona, 38
5. Montana, 28
6. Idaho, 19
7. Eastern Washington, 12
8. Southern Utah, 8
9. Sacramento State, 6
10. Northern Colorado, 5

Women's Team Standings
1. Northern Arizona, 55
2. Montana State, 39.5
3. Idaho State, 32.5
4. Sacramento State, 31.5
5. Southern Utah, 27
6. Weber State, 25
7. Montana, 23
8. Idaho, 21.5
9. Eastern Washington, 18