(MSU Billings release)
NAMPA, Idaho – Great finishes from Jorey Egeland and Nels Flanagan highlighted the first day of competition for the Montana State University Billings Yellowjackets at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Indoor Championships hosted by Northwest Nazarene in Nampa, Idaho on Friday.
Egeland had the best result of all the Yellowjackets as the senior placed second and scored eight points for MSUB with a 15:16.78 in the 5,000-meter. Egeland finished just over four seconds behind the winner of Friday’s race as Felix Kemboi won the 5K in a time of 15:12.63. Egeland improved his time by nearly 30 seconds over last season conference meet in Nampa in which he finished 16th with a time of 15:49.95.
“Jorey was great today,” head coach Jonathan Woehl said of the senior. “The race started with an extremely slow pace and the pack just kept building and Jorey stayed toward the front and ran a great race. He is finishing the indoor season really strong.”
Tyus Mendoza finished 10th in the field of 19 in the 5K with a personal-best time 15:36.93 and Ivan Colmenero finished with a time of 16:10.38 in 19th. Nikki Aiken was the sole 5K competitor for the Yellowjackets on the women’s side. The sophomore finished in 18th with a time of 19:29.45.
In the weight throw, the ‘Jackets had two men finish in the top-eight earning the team points. Flanagan finished third to score six MSUB-points with a throw of 17.11 meters. The senior has now hit a mark greater than 17 meters in three of the past four meets. Beau Peaslee finished eighth in the event with a personal record throw of 15.91 meters to collect one more point for the Yellowjackets. Concordia was the only others team to have multiple throwers score points in the event.
“Beau showed well today and we’re excited to see him score some points and make a big jump to get to eighth,” Woehl added. “Nels was solid again, he moved up a few spots and was in second after a great first throw.”
In the women’s weight throw group, Kassadee Kuoha led MSUB with a throw of 14.52 meters while finishing 13th. With her third and final attempt in the event, Hannah Nessan marked a 12.41 meter throw placing 24th.
Aside from the 5K, the majority of todays’ track action was preliminary action with the ‘Jackets having athletes qualify for the final in four events. Freshman Drake Henson had the best qualifying performance with a school-record time 1:56.13 finishing seventh in the 800-meter.
“Drake had a really impressive showing against some of the best runners in the conference,” Woehl said of the freshman’s GNAC debut. “He ran his race after getting pinned in at the start. He found an opening a made a really smart move. He looked like a pro out there.”
Henson was also part of the MSUB distance medley relay that took sixth-place with Mark Hovland, Nate Vanderby and Ronald Venema.
Michaela Johnson continued a run of good performances in the 60-meter hurdles qualifying in fourth-place in a time of 9:10. Three athletes qualified with a time below nine seconds on Friday, something Johnson did at the final during last year’s conference indoor meet.
Among the men’s sprinting group, Lamont Frisby headlined qualifying as he will run in the final for both the 60 and 200-meter dash. Mason Schram will join him in the 60 final after Schram was the third fastest qualifier with a personal-record 6.95. Frisby earned a pair of seventh-place marks during qualifying with a 6.99 in the 60-meter and a 22.13 in the 200.
Sam Zook will be unable to defend his 60-meter dash crown from last season as the MSUB sprinter pulled up during qualifying with leg tightness. Zook battled through the ailment the past couple of weeks but had it resurface during Friday’s races. Kaelen Shay placed 16th (7.17) in the 60-dash.
Jewlz Collins and Mataia Robinson each hit personal-bests in the 200-meter for the ‘Jackets but neither finished in the top-8. Rahkei Eyer finished 15th in the 400-meter with a time of 51.15.
The Yellowjackets men are currently tied for fourth amongst their GNAC rivals with 18 points after Friday’s events. Tomorrow will feature the finals in the sprinting events, the mile, 3,000-meter and 4×400 relay on the track while shot put, triple jump and high jump take center stage in the field.