STORY BY MONTANA SPORTS INFORMATION
FLAGSTAFF, AZ – After running the race of her life on Friday, Carly Smiedala was even better on Saturday. The sophomore ran an adjusted 800 meters time of 2:06.17 in the prelims, a personal best by more than 4 seconds, and shaved off another second during Saturday’s finals (2:05.17).
Her unadjusted time of 2:08.02 will stand atop Montana’s record books as the best women’s 800 meter performance in school history.
Smiedala – who had the conference’s top time during the prelims – led for the majority of Saturday’s race. Northern Arizona’s Ashley Taylor (2:04.40) had the endurance to push past Smiedala in the final 50 meters to win the race, however. Smiedala took home seven points for the Griz with a second-place performance.
“It’s fantastic for Carly to be a school-record-holder in that event,” head coach Brian Schweyen said. “Even though it was second place, it was a huge victory. I think she did everything she needed to do, and she ran a great race.”
The event was arguably Montana’s strongest of the weekend, with freshman Madeline Hamilton placing sixth – two spots and nearly 2 seconds better than her prelim time on Friday. Hamilton’s finals time of 2:09.41 was a career best by 4.5 seconds.
“She came in, on paper, nowhere real close to where she finished,” Schweyen said of Hamilton. “She had an incredible two days.”
Additionally, Montana earned scoring performances on Saturday from junior Madison Neufeld (women’s triple jump), junior Karsten Pease (men’s 800 meters), junior Matt Quist (men’s high jump) and sophomore Chloe Seferos (women’s pole vault).
Montana knew that, between injuries throughout the season and pre-planned redshirting, scoring points would be difficult. The women’s team placed 10th while the men finished 12th. The Grizzlies, though, showed promise for the future of the program by setting 31 lifetime bests – including Jansen Ziola’s conference title in the women’s pentathlon and Smiedala’s school record in the 800 meters.
Of Montana’s 10 scorers, all 10 are expected to return next season. Overall, Montana sent 14 freshmen and 12 sophomores to the Championships, out of 39 total athletes.
“I thought we had a lot of freshmen who performed well and had lifetime bests,” Schweyen said. “Certainly, we left some points out there, but I like the direction we’re headed. This is an opportunity, and everyone has to do their part, no matter the situation, for us to pull through.”
Women’s weight throw: Sophomores Kayla Holmes and Mariah Harvey both surpassed 50 feet. Holmes placed 16th (53-4.25) while Harvey was 18th (52-3.75).
Women’s pole vault: Seferos exceeded her pre-meet ranking and placed eighth out of 21 participants (12-1.25) to earn a half-point for the Griz. Junior Carrie Jacka reached 11-7.25 to finish in 13th.
Men’s high jump: Coming in with the top mark by a Big Sky athlete this season, Quist finished in seventh with a top mark of 6-8. He earned two points for Montana and was just an inch shy of placing third. Sophomore Grant Whitcutt finished in the upper half (6-4.75; 12th out of 25), while senior Charlie Bush reached 6-0.75 (18th).
Women’s triple jump: In addition to Neufeld’s sixth-place finish (lifetime-best 37-8), senior Arielle Walden narrowly missed scoring, finishing in ninth place out of 22 athletes with a mark of 37-9.25. Junior Carla Nicosia jumped 36-7.5 (17th).
Men’s 1 mile: Freshman Andrea Baratte had a strong showing, running a 4:13.08 to finish 11th out of 25 participants.
Men’s 800 meters: After qualifying with a seventh-place finish on Friday, Pease ran a similar time on Saturday to earn a point and place eighth (1:51.69).
Women’s 3,000 meters: Sophomore Samantha Engebretsen (10:12.12; 25th out of 43) and Jessica Bailey (10:23.82; 31st) represented Montana.
Men’s 3,000 meters: Sophomore Jonathan Eastwood finished in the upper half of the field with a time of 8:35.56 (22nd out of 47). Senior Micah Drew placed 33rd (8:45.66).
Women’s 4×400 meter relay: Composed of Mijah McLeod, Jaree Mane, Megan Franz and Emily Cheroske, Montana placed 10th with a 3:51.60 (season best by nearly 8 seconds).
Montana’s point scorers:
10, Jansen Ziola, 1st, pentathlon
8, Carly Smiedala, 2nd, 800 meters
3, Madeline Hamilton, 6th, 3
3, Madison Neufeld, 6th, triple jump
2, Jane Booth, 7th, high jump
0.5, Chloe Seferos, 8th, pole vault
4, Deszmon Humphries, 5th, weight throw
3, Grant Whitcutt, 6th, heptathlon
2, Matt Quist, 7th, high jump
1, Karsten Pease, 8th, 800 meters
Women’s team standings:
1. Northern Arizona – 150
2. Sacramento State – 99.5
3. Weber State – 94.5
4. Eastern Washington – 52
5. Montana State – 48
6. Southern Utah – 42
7. North Dakota – 38
8. Northern Colorado – 36
9. Idaho – 31
10. Montana – 25.5
11. Portland State – 23
12. Idaho State – 22.5
Men’s team standings:
1. Northern Arizona – 137.5
2. Southern Utah – 111
3. Montana State – 87.83
4. Sacramento State – 80
5. Weber State – 56.33
6. Idaho – 45
7. Eastern Washington – 39
8. Portland State – 27.33
9. Idaho State – 26
10. Northern Colorado – 24
11. North Dakota – 19
12. Montana – 10