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MSU Billings women 3rd, men 4th at Dave Little Alumni Mile

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Posted at 6:53 AM, Jan 24, 2022

(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)

SPEARFISH, S.D. – The Montana State University Billings track team set a slew of personal bests, the men’s team placed fourth and the women’s team took third on the final day of the Dave Little Alumni Mile, held at Black Hills State on Saturday.

“Overall, it was a good meet for our team,” MSUB head coach Jonathan Woehl said. “For the most part, everyone ran faster, jumped higher and threw further today.”

Several highlights from the second day of the meet included Kailee Stoppel’s 3K, freshman thrower Aubrie Christman leading the ‘Jackets in the shot put, the 4x400 relays’ debuts, plus the sprinters’ performance as a unit. Woehl noted that the attitudes from the newcomers who either made their collegiate debuts, or tried new events was promising.

“I love our newcomers’ attitudes and drive to push themselves outside their comfort zone – especially with our women’s sprinters,” Woehl said. “Rather than talking about how bad the races hurt, the sprinters said they are ready to get back to training so they can do better next time. I love that mindset. It seems to be the mindset of most of our team, which means the best is yet to come.”

To wit, MSUB had four of the eight finalists in the 60 meter dash. Madison Thompson led the way in fourth an 8.37 – nearly missing her personal best – then freshman Sophia Bohl, Michaela Johnson and freshman Taylor Gordon followed from sixth through eighth, respectively. Both Bohl and Gordon also made the finals in the 200 meters, while fellow freshman Katelyn Hamill led the way for the ‘Jackets by placing eighth with a 28.77.

For the men, freshman William Ullery made the finals in both the 60 meters and the 200 meters. In the 60, Ullery finished fifth with a 7.26 – one one-hundredth of a second off tying his personal best from last week’s meet – then . Fellow sprinter Bradley Graves made his season-debut placed third in the 200 behind Benjamin Ralston. Ralston made his season-debut in the 200 meters and was MSUB’s fastest finisher with a 23.86.

Making his season debut, sprinter Bradley Graves also made the finals in the 200 meters with a 24.21, plus finished ninth the 60 meters and was one position shy of qualifying for finals. No ‘Jackets ran the 400 meters.

In the longer distances, Kailee Stoppel ran the fourth-fastest time in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in her season-debut 3,000 meter run. She finished third with a 10:45.34, which was not only a new personal best, but also the fifth-fastest time in MSUB indoor track history.

“Kailee rocked the 3K,” Woehl said. “It was a huge PR for her, and it’s great to see her hard work paying off. She seems to get better with each race.”

Like she had on the previous day, freshman Aubrie Christman led the way for the ‘Jackets and placed fourth with a 11.65m (38-2.75). Dakota Lobmeyer placed in sixth with a throw of 11.61m (38-1.25), and set a new personal best in the shot put.

“The throwers were almost perfect this weekend,” Woehl said. “Aubrie Christman and Dakota Lobmeyer both had lifetime bests in the shot put.”

Yet one of the highlights of the meet was at the very end, as both 4x400 relay teams made their season-debuts. The women finished in third with a new-look 4x400 relay lineup. Freshman Madeline Severson ran the opening leg, Annelise Clark followed, true freshman Katelyn Hamill was the third leg, then mid-distance specialist Ally Whitmer closed things out as the ‘Jackets ran a 4:28.49. Whitmer was the only returner from last season on the relay team.

The men’s team also had a new-look relay. Freshman William Ullery led off the men’s 4x400 relay, Garrett McMillen and Lucas Harper followed, then freshman Benjamin Ralston closed out the relay and finished fifth with a 3:37.81 for the ‘Jackets.

“It was great to see our 4x400 relays compete and our team out cheering them on around the track,” Woehl said. “It was a season-best for both relays and it was either the first time most of them had to run an indoor 400, or the first time they had to run a 400 at all. We’ll get faster once we get a chance to run them a couple more times. This week’s goal was to go see what we could do after most of the runners competed in two or more events.”

Given the slew of season-debuts, personal bests and top-10 marks achieved at the meet, Woehl said the team, as a whole, was pleased with their second meet of the season. But a quick turnaround awaits, as MSUB travels to Chadron State for the Don Holst Open next Saturday.

“The whole team is looking forward to competing again next week at Chadron,” Woehl added. “There will be more PRs to come.”