(MSU Billings release)
NAMPA, Idaho – Competing in the final day of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Indoor Championships on Saturday, the Montana State University Billings Yellowjackets had three all-conference performers to finish the season. All athletes that place in the top-3 at the conference championships are rewarded with all-conference recognition for the indoor season.
Jorey Egeland grabbed his second top-3 finish of the championships on Saturday as he finished third in the men’s 3,000 meter with his collegiate-best time of 3:38.56. The senior finished second in yesterday’s 5K. Tyus Mendoza finished 19th in the race with a personal-record time of 8:56.89. Also setting a new personal best in the event was Ronald Venema who completed the race in 9:14.96.
“Jorey had one of the performances of any athlete over the two days here,” Woehl said of Egeland’s efforts in the longest races at the championships. “He really was awesome in both events and it was great to see him have performances like that during his senior season and I am excited for what he’s going to do in the spring.”
The ‘Jackets had a pair of sprinters earn points in the men’s 60-meter dash final as Lamont Frisby (6.97) and Mason Schram (7.02) finished third and seventh respectively in the event. Schram was the third fastest qualifier Friday but was just seven-hundredths of a second behind his time on Saturday. MSUB and Alaska Anchorage were the only GNAC schools to have more than one participant in the sprint.
Frisby also competed in the 200-meter final where he placed seventh with a time of 22.23.
“Our sprinters were competitive all season,” head coach Jonathan Woehl said after the meet. “Lamont has been excellent and he and Mason really stepped up for us with Sam going down. I know Mason wanted to do better but we made the best out of an unexpected circumstance and were well represented by those two.”
Michaela Johnson was the top sprinter for the women as she clocked an 8.99 in the finals and placed fourth. She was one of four athletes to break the nine-second mark and has now accomplished the feat three times in her career at MSUB.
“Anytime you break the nine-second mark it is impressive,” Woehl said of the sophomore’s performance. “I think she put herself in good position throughout the year, unfortunately today she did not have the start she wanted but she finished strong. She is in great shape for the outdoor season.”
Venema was one of three Yellowjackets to set a new personal best in the mile as he finished with a time of 4:35.34. Mark Hovland let the trio of MSUB-milers as he finished 14th with a mark of 4:27.86. Freshman Carson Jessop ran a 4:36.09 in the event finishing just behind Venema.
Nikki Aiken picked up her second personal-record in as many days on Saturday with a 10:58.41 in the 3,000-meter. Aiken set a best in the 5K yesterday with a 19:29.45.
“I am really excited about what is on the horizon for Nikki,” Woehl said. “She came out here and did better than her qualifying times would have predicted. She has been steadily improving since the start of coross country and now all through the indoor season.”
In the high jump, Isaiah Girard finished at a height of 1.96 meters (6’ 5”) in a tie for third place. The sophomore didn’t have his best result during the meet but a stellar indoor season will still end with an all-conference finish for Girard.
“He cleared the 2.01 bar on his second jump with plenty of height but just clipped the bar,” Woehl noted of Girard’s performance. “It was a tough break and he knew he could make the jump but he stilled had a good finish and will continue to improve going forward.”
One of the tougher breaks of the day came in the men’s 800-meter final where Drake Henson pulled his hamstring. The freshman was unable to finish the event after setting the school record in qualifying yesterday.
In the field, Brady Ostermiller was the top thrower on the day for the ‘Jackets. The junior placed ninth in the shot put with a throw of 14.96 meters. Forrest Cross had a personal-record in the shot with a mark of 14.03 meters and finished 14th. It is the second week in a row that the sophomore set a new college best after a throw of 13.51 meters in Bozeman.
Hannah Nessan and Taylor Stringari place 15th and 18th in the women’s shot respectively. Nessan’s throw of 11.18 meters was her third best of the season.
In the triple jump, Marcus Lindquist battled through a tweaked knee to record a 12.62 meter jump and finish 12th. Lindquist started the season with a personal-best 13.22 meter jump at t the Bobcat Preview in Bozeman.
The men’s 4×400-meter relay finished ninth with a time of 3:34.51. Nate Vanderby led off the race with Hovland, Kyle McLaughlin and Rahkei Eyer completing the final three legs.
Over the two days the ‘Jackets men scored 39.5 points and placed eighth while the women collected five points from Johnson’s 60-hurdles finish.
Depending on results at other meets Sam Zook may still have the opportunity to compete at the national meet in Kansas on March 9-10. The rest of the Yellowjackets squad will now prepare for the outdoor season that begins with the MSUB Invitational on Friday March 30.