(EDITOR’S NOTE: INFORMATION FROM UNIVERSITY RELEASE)
MISSOULA – Hosting Montana State in the annual Griz-Cat Dual on Saturday afternoon at Dornblaser Field, the Montana women’s track & field team often found itself atop the podium. In fact, Montana’s women won 10 total events, including six of the eight field events.
Overall, the women earned wins in the hammer throw, shot put, long jump, high jump, discus, triple jump, 100 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters and 4×400-meter relay, in addition to a victory on the men’s side in the javelin.
“I think we had some kids who again performed well,” head coach Brian Schweyen said. “We didn’t have a lot of PRs today, but we’re staying consistent and solid. There are a lot of encouraging things heading into conference, and I thought today was a good day for us.”
Sophomore Holly Houston has been a force for the Grizzlies in the women’s discus, ranking second in the Big Sky and winning the event four times entering Saturday. She again was dominant, picking up her fifth event win in six tries with a top mark of 150-10.
The Wisconsin native added another event to her repertoire on Saturday, however, earning her first win in the shot put.
“She had a great shot put and another solid day in the discus,” Schweyen said. “To see her hit that mark today, especially with unfavorable wind, it was good to see. She’s consistent and ready for even bigger things.”
Houston had a PR of 40-7.5 to win the shot put. Right behind her was sophomore teammate Mariah Harvey, who placed second (40-1.5). The versatile Harvey also won the hammer throw (PR 169-9) and placed fourth in the discus (122-6).
“I think there’s still a lot more in it for Mariah too,” Schweyen said. “Dave’s (assistant coach David Paul) done a nice job working with her. Any time someone works as hard as she does it’s awesome to see them PR.”
Rounding out the trio, junior Kayla Holmes placed second in the discus (142-11). She has four top-five finishes this spring.
Montana won three of the four jumping events, led by Jane Booth in the high jump.
Booth, a sophomore from Corvallis, Mont., finished third at last year’s outdoor championship and qualified for regionals. She reached 5-9.25 a year ago but has been more in the 5-3 range so far as a sophomore.
That changed on Saturday when she posted her best performance of the season. Her top mark of 5-7.5 is not only a season best but is tied for the second-best mark by a Big Sky athlete this spring.
“You hate to say breakthrough with someone like Jane, but it was certainly a big confidence booster for her,” Schweyen said. “Certainly moving forward, the next two weeks, should be really good for her.”
Senior Madison Neufeld had a season-best performance to win the triple jump (37-8.5), as did sophomore Hannah Coburn to win the long jump (17-8). On the track, Montana had wins in the women’s 100 meters (Alanna Vann, 12.36), 400 meters (Carly Smiedala, 56.40) and 800 meters (Emily Cheroske, 2:10.42).
The men only had one event win, but saw promise from multiple athletes, totaling 14 lifetime bests. In the javelin, junior Jensen Lillquist won for the fourth time in five meets this spring, earning a top mark of 206-6. The Grizzlies went 1-3 in the event, with Luke Hilmes (190-2) and John Beckers (PR 186-10) placing second and third, respectively.
Sophomore Zena Smith had a solid showing in the women’s javelin to place second. She had multiple throws better than 145 feet, including a top mark of 148-1 that was within range of her mark of 149-7 that led the Big Sky entering Saturday. Montana State’s Carley Vonheeder entered the meet ranked second in the conference but had a lifetime-best throw of 156-3 that established her as the current leader.
Montana State won the dual meet on the women’s side, 104-85, and on the men’s side, 126-71.
- In addition to her event win in the 100 meters, Vann was Montana’s top performer in the 200 meters (25.46).
- Freshman Rhett Streeter was Montana’s top runner in the 100 meters (PR 10.88) and 200 meters (22.67).
- Freshman Courtlynd Brown placed third in both the 100 meters (10.94) and 200 meters (22.81). Both marks were lifetime bests. Three other freshmen – Trevor Henry (22.82), Colton Hess (22.99) and Will Jones (23.19) – had PRs in the 200 meters.
- Freshman Mattison McAnally PR’d in both the 200 meters (27.43) and 400 meters (1:01.98).
- Montana had PRs in the hurdles on both the women’s and men’s side. To go along with her event win in the long jump, Coburn placed third in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.61. Grant Whitcutt placed fourth in the men’s 110 meters (15.93). He also was Montana’s top performer in the men’s pole vault (13-7.25).
- In addition to Booth’s win in the women’s high jump, Montana placed one through four in the event – freshman Abby Dodge (5-3.75), junior Jenna Dukovcic (4-9.75) and sophomore Hannah Coburn (4-9.75).
- Freshman Jaree Mane jumped a lifetime best by 18 inches in the women’s long jump (17-0, fourth).
- Freshman Jacob Price earned lifetime-best performances in the long jump (20-6.25) and triple jump (43-3).
- Freshman Brent Yeakey threw a PR of 53-6.25 in the men’s shot put to place second. He also was Montana’s top performer in the men’s discus (153-10, fourth).
- Sophomore Josh Riley PR’d in both the shot put (36-0.25) and discus (107-2).
- All four of Montana’s ‘A’ relay teams recorded season bests – women’s 4×100: 48.51, men’s 4×100: 42.84; women’s 4×400: 3:52.03; men’s 4×400: 3:19.10. The women’s 4×400 team took advantage of MSU dropping the baton midway through the event to beat the Bobcats, who entered the meet ranked third in the Big Sky.
The Grizzlies and Bobcats will be back on the track together on Friday for the annual Tom Gage Classic. It will be both teams’ final tuneup before the Big Sky Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships, May 8-11 in Moscow, Idaho.
“It’s always nice to have one more, especially at home,” Schweyen said. “Some athletes will need to compete because they need to get a little better mark or to fine-tune things, and then we certainly will have a lot of them not competing, just resting up and getting ready for Championships.”