(MSU Billings release)
BILLINGS – Friday will mark the beginning of the 2018 Montana State University Billings outdoor track season as the Yellowjackets co-host the Yellowjacket/Battlin’ Bear Open at Laurel high school. Field events will start at 1:00 p.m. while athletes will take to the track starting at 1:30 p.m.
MSU Billings will recognize senior athletes Nate Vanderby, Jorey Egeland, Nels Flanagan, Kelby Wegner and Mataia Robinson after the completion of the 800-meter race and before the 400-meter hurdles. Rocky Mountain College will also recognize their seniors at the meet as the Battlin’ Bears will hold their ceremony prior to the track events at 1:15 p.m.
This years’ field will consist of MSUB, Rocky Mountain College, Carrol College, the University of Providence, University of Montana-Western and Dickinson State. Providence will host the hammer throw on Thursday in Great Falls, Mont., which Nels Flanagan, Brady Ostermiller and Taylor Stringari will travel to participate in.
Starting with shot put, the meet will feature a rolling schedule throughout the busy day. Discus, javelin and pole vault will follow before the jumps take center stage. Long jump will be the first event for the jumping group followed by triple jump and concluding with high jump.
Getting on the track at 1:30 p.m., the 4×800-meter relay will start the racing action followed by the 4×100-meter relay. The 1,500-meter will follow before 100-meter hurdles giving way to the 400 and 100-meter races. An 800 will be held in front of the 400 hurdles and the 200 dash. With the day winding down, the distance groups will run a 5K before the meet concludes with the 4×400-meter relay.
Flanagan is one of four ‘Jackets coming off of an all-region performance from the indoor season. The senior from Big Timber, Mont. finished indoor competition with a school-record weight throw of 17.88 meters (58’-8”) and a third place finish at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships.
Jorey Egeland looks to finish a trio of outstanding seasons after having excellent senior outings in cross country and indoor track and field already. In the fall, the Billings native placed ninth at the GNAC Cross Country Championships and followed that up with a second-place finish in the 5K at the indoor championships. Egeland set an MSUB indoor record in the 5K, which he will compete in on Friday, with a time of 14:51.40.
The GNAC’s defending 100 and 200-meter champion, Sam Zook, will lead a talented group of Yellowjacket sprinters at the open. Zook will take part in the 100 and 4×100 races on Friday. During the indoor season, Zook set a new school-record in the 60 with a time of 6.78 and 200 (21.65).
The fourth all-region performer from the indoor season was sophomore Isaiah Girard who fell just short of a school-record in the high jump. Girard took third at the conference championships and never finished outside the top-5 in the event throughout the season. Girard will debut in the high jump, 4×100 and long jump this Friday.
Joining Girard in the jumps will be Marcus Lindquist. The sophomore will compete in both the long and triple jump on Friday. Shaniah Schwend, Janessa Williams, Brenna Beckett and Halie Warren will represent MSUB in the women’s jumps with all four competing in the long and triple jump. Schwend and Warren will also high jump during the meet.
Michaela Johnson is coming off of two record setting performances to end her indoor season. The sophomore broke the MSUB-record in both the 60 dash (7.93) and the 60 hurdles (8.90) at the Bobcat Indoor Invitational in February just before the conference championships. She will run in the 100, 100 hurdles and the 4×100 at the open.
Both the men and the women will field the most athletes in the 100-meter dash with Zook leading a group backed by Kaelen Shay, Beau Ackerman, Marcus Lindquist, Forrest Cross, Rahkei Eyer, Lamont Frisby and Mason Schram. Frisby, a freshman, took third in the 60-meter dash at the GNAC Championships while Schram finished seventh at the league meet.
Johnson is joined by Savannah Merritt, Hailey Steinbeisser, Anne Lory Chevelier, Jewelz Collins and Mataia Robinson in the women’s 100-meter. Collins was the ‘Jackets’ top performer in the 200-meter during the indoor season while Robinson had good showings in both the 60 and 200 as she competed on the track for the first time since high school.
Josey Smiedala will focus on the 400 hurdles and both the 4×100 and 4×400 relays on Friday. She held the top time in the 400 during the indoor season and was second behind Collins in the 200. Last season, Smiedala set the school record in the 400 hurdles and was part of the record setting 4×400 relay.
In the 800 meter, MSU Billings will be represented by Drake Henson, Mark Hovland, Kyle McLaughlin, Tyus Mendoza, Carson Jessop, Ronald Venema and Egeland. Henson set a new record in the event during the indoor season and will look to carry his momentum into the outdoor schedule.
Catrina Schchard, Ella McKenzie and Rachel Hiner will also run the 800 at the open. Schuchard comes into the season as the top performer in the event during the indoor season.
Egeland will be joined by Jack Pickell in the 5K to complete the individual performances on the track while Nikki Aiken and Kelby Wegner will run the longest race of the day for the women. Seven men will run the 1,500-meter with it being the sole race for Ivan Colmenero.
For the first time this year, the ‘Jackets will throw javelin, discus and hammer at the meet. Ackerman, Beau Peaslee, Forrest Cross, Steinbeisser, Robinson and Warren will throw the javelin. In the discus, Cross will be joined by Ostermiller on the men’s side with Abbie Lohof, Kassadee Kuoha, Hannah Nessan, Steinbeisser and Stringari throwing for the women. Stringatri will also throw the shot put along with Nessan, Lohof, Steinbeisser and Kuoha. Ostermiller, Cross and Peaslee will throw shot for the men.