(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)
RAPID CITY – Despite more heavy winds and unexpected, last-second event order changes, the Montana State University Billings track and field team still made the best of the situation and set a slew of new personal and season-best marks on day two of South Dakota Mines’ Bauer Open, which concluded on Saturday.
All told, MSUB won seven events – including two relays – while setting several new personal bests and four new program top-10 marks.
“Initially, I was a little bummed about the conditions today,” MSUB track and field head coach Jonathan Woehl said. “But then going through the results, I realized we had a ton of good performances. Bradley Graves ran great and he’s going to run faster later on. We had some competitive times into the headwind in the 200 meters too.”
On his second race of the day – and after warming up for the event for over 90 minutes more than initially anticipated since the 110-meter hurdles was unexpectedly moved to the end of the meet – Graves still managed to run a season-best time. Running the 110-meter hurdles in the late afternoon as opposed to in the morning, Graves saved the best MSUB race for last. After tracking down a South Dakota Mines runner on the first five hurdles, Graves surged heading over the sixth hurdle and gapped the field throughout the second half of the race.
As he crossed the line in a wind-aided time of 14.68, the race wasn’t particularly close.
Prior to Graves’ victory in the 110-meter hurdles, the sophomore helped William Ullery, Favor Okere and Benjamin Ralston give MSUB the win in the 4x100 meter relay with a 43.26.
“The men’s 4x100 ran well,” Woehl said. “The handoffs were a little off due to guys running super fast with the wind or slower going into the wind. But it was still close to their season-best.”
After an unforeseen decision to move the 100 meter dash to the end of the meet – as opposed to at the beginning – the Yellowjackets made the most of it as Madison Thompson placed fifth with a wind-legal personal best time of 12.97. In the 200 meters, Benjamin Ralston picked up his third individual win of the season in a 23.54, then Taylor Gordon led the way for the women by taking third place with a 28.85.
In Friday’s hammer throw, Coen Guisti led the Yellowjackets with a ninth-place finish in the hammer throw. His mark of 45.46m (149-1) ranks 5th all-time at MSUB. On the women’s side, Grace Jones threw a 40.09m (131-6) mark in the women’s hammer throw, which ranks 10th all-time at MSUB. Between Jones’ mark on Friday and Jordan Cookman’s 40.99m toss earlier this year, MSUB now has two women over the 40-meter mark in the hammer throw.
“The hammer throw went well on Friday,” Woehl said. “Coen, Ryder Klein and Braden Anderson set PRs for the men, while Grace Jones had a big PR to lead the women.”
The throwers continued to excel on Saturday, starting with freshman Dakota Lobmeyer leading the way with a huge personal best in the shot put. Her third place throw of 12.37m (40-7) is good for fourth in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference this year and fourth in MSUB history in the event. Lobmeyer also placed ninth in the discus with a personal-best throw of 32.70m (107-3.5). Then in the javelin, fellow freshman Ryann Moline won with a throw of 38.45m (126-1), which was just off the school record. Jordan Cookman (3rd, 34.57m), Faith Ekness (6th, 31.27m) and Brynn Jolma (6th, 31.27m) rounded out the ‘Jackets in the top 10 for the javelin.
“Ryan did well and got close to the school record in the javelin,” Woehl said. “And Jordan was moving in the right direction in the javelin with what I’m pretty sure is a season-best mark for her.”
On the men’s side, Forrest Cross placed fourth in the discus, set another PR and moved up to fifth best in MSUB track history with a mark of 44.76m (146-10). Ryder Klein led MSUB in the javelin with a 46.64m (153-0) throw.
In the longer events, freshman Madeline Severson led the way for MSUB in her collegiate debut in the 800 meters, placing seventh with a 2:36.65. Severson also set a personal best in the long jump with a 5.07m (16-6.75) mark, which was not only good for second place behind her teammate Kendall Lynn’s jump of 5.27m, but also the 8th best mark in MSUB history. Lynn would also win the triple jump with a mark of 11.34m (37-2.5).
“It was really tough for Madeline’s first 800-meter race, having to deal with a gusty headwind at the home straightaway,” Woehl said. “She really enjoyed it and we’re going to run it again.”
Bryant Edgerton had a fourth-place finish in the men’s 5,000 meter run with a 16:07.23, yet Woehl said he ran a smart, tactical race.
“I thought Bryant ran well in the 5K,” Woehl said. “Although it was not a great day to PR because of the conditions, he raced really well and did a lot of work the first half of the race as he ran on his own. Bryant was able to draft off some guys for several laps that caught up to him, before he ran away from them in the last 600 meters.”
The Yellowjackets have a busy week next week. Six athletes will compete at four different meets across the Los Angeles area, starting with the Cal State Los Angeles Twilight Open and Azusa Pacific’s Bryan Clay Invitational on April 13. As it stands, the rest of the team is scheduled to compete at Dickinson State University’s Blue Hawk Games on Friday, April 15.