MISSOULA — Dornblaser Field is a great place for a track meet, as the entire Big Sky Conference will find out this week.
Montana hosts the conference championships for the first time in 10 years, and the Griz hope to thrill the home crowd with a strong performance.
The team has had an up-and-down spring, but head coach Brian Schweyen says they are healthier now. A home track advantage can make a huge difference, too, especially if the Grizzlies start having success early.
“When something good happens, it’s infectious and it bleeds into other areas and other athletes,” said Schweyen. “That’s what we need to happen, starting (Wednesday). We need to have some great things happen, and the teammates have to feed off of that, and hopefully it catches like wildfire, and we really do some damage.”
This is a week the program has had circled on the calendar for years. The Montana men and women have finished second in the conference meet three times in the past five years, but the Griz hope a home track advantage could push them over the top this time.
“We get to be here in Missoula, on our home track, and compete where we practice every day,” said Schweyen. “And people have to come to our house. I think just the comfort of being here and knowing that this is as familiar as any place you’re ever going to compete is awesome.”
“I have a feeling once all of the athletes, coaches and spectators get here it’s going to feel really surreal,” said Griz junior Olivia Ellis, who will compete in the hurdles and relays. “Just to have that many people here, and all of the energy that’s going to bring, I’m just so excited.”
The Big Sky championships start with the decathlon and heptathlon Wednesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. The rest of the meet packs a ton of action into Friday and Saturday. Field events start at 9 a.m. both days, with running events beginning in the afternoon.