(MSUB Athletics release)
BILLINGS – With one final meet before the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships, the Montana State University Billings Yellowjackets will look to secure their qualifying marks at the Dickinson State Last Chance Invite on Friday. It will be the second time this season that MSUB travels to Dickinson, N.D. after the team competed in the Blue Hawk Games on April 20.
“We’d like to use this meet as a tune up for conference,” head coach Jonathan Woehl said heading into the weekend. “Like the name implies, it is a last chance for a few of our athletes to earn a trip to the conference meet but we have a good idea who is going to be running what events at the GNAC Championships. Hopefully we will see some strong performances and add a couple of events to next week’s lineup.”
The Yellowjackets currently have athletes qualified to compete in 57 events at the GNAC Championships. Friday’s meet will serve as the final opportunity for Yellowjacket athletes to secure their spot in the top-20 among GNAC competitors for the 2018 outdoor season.
In the 4×400-meter relay, the ‘Jackets will have a lot on the line as the conference only takes the top eight teams in the championships. MSUB’s women’s team currently holds the eight spot while the men are looking to move up from ninth-place. The men are just a half-second behind Saint Martin’s in the standings.
The women will run Anne Lory Chevalier with Janessa Williams, Brenna Beckett and Jewlz Collins in the 4×400 while the men run Rahkei Eyer, Kyle McLaughlin, Drake Henson and Isaiah Girard.
In the 4×100, the men lead the conference and the women are in sixth with a time over one-second faster than the eight-place team.
Some throwers will focus in on a single event or two as they lighten their work load in favor of strong performances. Nels Flanagan will focus on the hammer and discus while he currently ranks eight and tenth in the events respectively. Beau Peaslee will focus on the hammer throw where he ranks 20th in the conference.
Forrest Cross is scheduled to compete in the shot put, discus and hammer throw, taking on the majority of the throwing events. Junior, Brady Ostermiller will compete in the shot put and discus with Cross. Dillon Gongliewski will be the ‘Jackets sole javelin competitor.
Halie Warren will be the only Yellowjacket entered into the women’s javelin field. The sophomore is just outside the top-20 on the GNAC performance list.
A full slate of women’s throwers are scheduled in the shot put, discus and hammer throw with Abbie Lohof, Hannah Nessan, Hailey Steinbeisser, Taylor Stringari and Kassadee Kuoha entered in all three events. Nessan is in the top-20 in all three events in the GNAC standings topping out at sixth in the discus. Steinbeisser is 10th in the shot and 20th in the hammer throw while Stringari is in 15th and 19th in the shot and discus respectively.
Jumps will also have a lot to look forward to as the Jamie Orme, Janessa Williams and Shaniah Schwend bid to secure a spot in the high jump. Orme and Williams are each tied for 17th in the league at a height of 5’ 0.25” (1.53m) while Schwend is 19th 4’ 11.75” (1.52m). Schwend is sixth in the GNAC in the triple jump and 11th in the long jump while Williams is ninth in the triple.
Girard will look to fine tune his jumps in the high and long jump as the sophomore sits in fourth and ninth in each respective event.
Kaelen Shay will have the most to gain among Yellowjacket sprinters in Dickinson. The junior is 20th in the conference in the 100-dash and on the outside in the 200. Teammates Lamont Frisby and Mason Schram are within the qualifying times for conference in both events and may have their schedules adjusted on Friday.
Eyer will run a 400-dash separate from his participation in the 4×400 relay. It is likely that Eyer will run in the 400 at the GNAC Championships for the ‘Jackets.
Beckett, Chevalier and Collins will race in the 100-dash with Collins currently holding the 19th best time in the conference this season. Chevalier is 26th in the GNAC as she hopes to join Michaela Johnson in the event at the championships.
In the 200, freshman Myhia Metzenberg will be the sole representative for the ‘Jackets. It will be her sixth 200 of the season and she goes into the meet with a season-best of 29.56. She will also run the 400 for the second time in her outdoor schedule.
Johnson will compete in the 100-meter hurdles where she is third in the GNAC with a time of 14.65 from the Montana Open. She ran a 14.71 in the event the last time the Yellowjackets visited Dickinson State.
Currently ranking ninth in the GNAC, Nikki Aiken will look to improve her time in the 3,000-meter steeplechase on Friday. The sophomore has run the event twice this season and finished first at the Montana Open in Missoula, Mont. the last time she ran it.
Mark Hovland will run the 800 and the 1,500 on Friday and currently ranks 19th in the conference in the ladder event. Freshman Drake Henson will look to secure his spot at the conference meet in the 800 where he is currently sitting in 20th.
Jack Pickell will race the 3,000. The event is not a GNAC Championship event during the outdoor season. It will be the first time Pickell races the distance since the indoor season back in January.