(Editor’s note: GNAC media release)
BILLINGS – The Montana State University Billings track and field team will be heading to the Washington versus Region (W.A.R.) meet this Friday and Saturday in Spokane, Wash. The meet is hosted by the Community Colleges of Spokane at Spokane Valley Community College and will start with the hammer throw and 10K on Friday with the rest of the events taking place Saturday starting at 9 a.m. Pacific time.
MSU Billings will be 1 of 3 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Schools competing in the meet along with Central Washington University and Northwest Nazarene University.
“A big reason that we go to this meet is the conference feel that it provides,” head coach Jonathan Woehl said about traveling to Spokane. “Last week we wanted to get that feeling of competing against other teams and now it is time for us to ramp up our focus and try to excel at our specific events.”
Dealing with snow in Billings, the Yellowjackets have been forced back inside for this weeks’ practice sessions.
“We have to take the positive out of it,” Woehl noted of practicing indoors. “Hopefully the treadmill work has put a little less wear on our distance group and our sprinters have been able to focus on the small things that can lower our times. Our relays got a good opportunity to work on exchange mechanics, it is the details that we can always get better at that can make a big difference at a meet.”
With 20 teams scheduled to compete at the meet, MSUB will see deep fields in nearly every event. It will likely be the largest field they face until they reach the conference meet in May.
Six Yellowjackets will get an early start to the meet as Nels Flanagan, Beau Peaslee, Haley Stienbiesser, Taylor Stringari and Hannah Nessan will compete in the hammer throw and Ivan Colmenero will run in 10K in Friday’s abbreviated competition.
Flanagan started his season with a career-best 156’ 5” (47.69m) hammer throw last week in Great Falls, Mont. Stringari was the only Yellowjacket to throw hammer last week for the women with a mark of 129’ 9” (39.56m). Stringari was also the top performer in the shot put (36’ 11.5”) for MSUB at the Yellowjacket/Battlin’ Bears Invitational.
Nessan and Steinbeisser will compete in the hammer throw for the first time this season after they paced the ‘Jackets in the discus and javelin last week respectively. Peaslee threw shot put and javelin for the Yellowjackets last week and will debut in the hammer throw on Friday.
Colemenero posted a collegiate best 4:18.51 in the 1,500-meter last Friday. The junior last ran a 10K at the GNAC Cross Country Championships in November and hasn’t run the distance during track competition since May of last year.
Saturday morning will start with the discus and javelin where Beau Ackerman will lead the Yellowjackets. Ackerman set a new MSUB-record in the javelin last week with a throw of 209’ 7” (63.88m) placing him first at the Yellowjacket/Battlin’ Bears Invitational. The throw is the 12th longest in the history of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and the second best throw in the conference this year.
Flanagan will throw the javelin for the first time this season on Saturday morning while Peaslee placed third in the event at last weeks’ invite. Halie Warren placed seventh in the javelin last week and will be the only Yellowjacket to compete in the event this weekend.
Nessan, Steinbeisser and Strigari will throw discus on Saturday and Forest Cross, Brady Ostermiller and Flanagan will compete in the event for the men. Those six throwers will finish their weekend with shot put later in the day.
It will be a busy weekend for the Yellowjacket sprinters with Sam Zook, Lamont Frisby, Mason Schram and Kaelen Shay all running in the 100 and 200-meters as well as the 4×100-meter relay. The quartette set a school record in the relay last week but will look to improve their GNAC-best time of 41.62 in the event.
Michaela Johnson, Jewlz Collins and Mataia Robinson will also tackle the trio of sprinting events and will be joined by Shaniah Schwend in the 4×100 relay. Brenna Beckett and freshman Myhia Metzenberg will run the 200 with Johnson, Collins and Robinson. In the 4×400, MSU Billings will run Collins, Beckett, Robinson and Jerrica Martin.
Johnson will run the 100 hurdles while Martin runs the 400 hurdles in Spokane.
Rahkei Eyer will run the 400 after winning the event last week with a 49.77, the 11th fastest time in the conference. He will also anchor the 4×400 relay team behind Isaiah Girard, Drake Henson and Kyle McLaughlin.
McLaughlin will be joined by Henson and Mark Hovland in the 800-meter race with Hovland also scheduled to run the 1,500. Ronald Venema and Jack Pickell will each run the 5K for the first time this season. The women’s 800 will be run by Rachel Hiner, Miranda Livingston and Ella McKenzie. Hiner was the top finisher in the event for MSUB last week with a time of 2:38.72.
Beckett, Schwend and Warren will be the first MSUB jumpers to compete as they take part in Saturday’s long jump. Beckett took third in the event last week while Schwend placed fourth just an inch behind her teammate.
With the triple jump to follow, it will be Marcus Lindquist who leads MSUB as the sophomore currently ranks third in the GNAC with his distance of 45’ 3” (13.79m). Beckett, Schwend and Janessa Willams are slated to compete for the women with Williams holding a team-leading jump of 35’ 3.75” (10.76m).
The high jump will feature Girard, Schwend, Warren and Jamie Orme. Girard is sixth in the GNAC after reaching a height of 6’ 4.75” (1.95m) last week. Schwend led the team at last weeks’ meet with a jump of 4’ 9” (1.45m).
The meet will give the ‘Jackets their first opportunity to run the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Jorey Egeland will look to lead teammates Tyus Mendoza and Carson Jessop in the event after Egeland placed third in the event at last years’ GNAC Championships. Nikki Aiken will run in the steeplechase for the first time this season after placing seventh in the event at the conference meet last season.
Meantime, the four-game Great Northwest Athletic Conference baseball series between Western Oregon University and Montana State University Billings, scheduled to be played this weekend, has been canceled.
The first-place Yellowjackets (19-11, 14-6 GNAC) are next scheduled for action on April 13-14 in a four-game series against Northwest Nazarene University in Billings, Mont., at Dehler Park.