(MSU Billings release)
MONMOUTH, Ore. – The Montana State University Billings Yellowjackets claimed three titles on Saturday during the final day of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships in Monmouth, Ore. Jorey Egeland, Beau Ackerman and the men’s 4×100 relay team all won their respective events on Saturday netting the ‘Jackets a total of four titles from the championships.
The Yellowjackets finished the meet sixth in the men’s events with 74 total points and 10th in the women’s events with eight points.
“Across the board we had great performances,” head coach Jonathan Woehl said at the conclusion of competition. “Beau was awesome again in the javelin. Our men’s 4×100 won, which was their goal all year long. Kaelen (Shay) ran a great third leg for them and Sam (Zook) took care of the rest. We wanted to finish higher in the women’s events but we saw a lot of improvement. Our points came from a variety of events and from a lot of people that will be back next season so we have a lot to look forward to.”
Egeland earned his second conference championship of the weekend with a victory in Saturday’s 5,000-meter. His time of 14:47.88 is a collegiate-best for the senior. Egeland finished the race strong with incrementally faster splits on each of the final four laps. He finished just over two seconds ahead of Western Oregon’s Tyler Jones (14:50.08).
With the win, Egeland becomes MSUB’s first outdoor 5K champion. The Billings native will likely compete at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships in the 3,000-meter steeplechase where he currently ranks seventh in the nation after Friday’s victory. His excellent steeplechase outing earned him the Performance of the Meet award on Saturday.
“I was less surprised that he did well in steeple, which he was third in coming into the meet,” Woehl said of the senior’s efforts. “I was nervous for him in the 5K, which he led the conference in, after what he did in the steeple on Friday. He ran a great 5K and it was very hot. I think it will bode well for him at nationals. Hopefully he will run in the prelims and finals in the steeple in two weeks and we know he can run tough races on back-to-back days.”
Ackerman continued his dominance in the javelin where he won the event with his first throw of the day measuring 67.99 meters (223’ 1”). The throw was over two meters further than that of the second place finisher. Ackerman is the Yellowjackets’ first-ever men’s field outdoor GNAC champion. He currently ranks fourth in the nation for the event.
“Beau had two throws that would have won the event,” Woehl noted of the performance. “He’s been a beast in the javelin all year and it is awesome to see him have his two best performances on the biggest stages. We’re excited for nationals.”
Sam Zook, Mason Schram, Lamont Frisby and Kaelen Shay were also crowned champs on Saturday for their performance in the 4×100 meter relay. Their time of 41.54 was just short of a season-best for the group but secured the championship.
The women’s 4×100 also scored points on Saturday with Jewlz Collins, Michaela Johnson, Shaniah Schwend and Brenna Beckett taking sixth in the final with a time of 40.54.
Looking to defend a couple titles in the individual sprints, Zook put up strong performances in the 100 and 200-meter finals where he placed second in both.
“It wasn’t the day that Sam was hoping for but he showed up and got second in two events,” Woeh said of the junior. “To get two seconds at a conference meet is an outstanding performance and he was huge for us in the 4×100. I know he wanted to repeat in both but he had a good performance and I hope he gets into nationals.”
Zook’s time of 10.64 in the 100 was less than a tenth-of-a-second behind Concordia’s Carlos Ortiz (10.55) and in the 200 Zook (21.54) was even closer to Ortiz (21.50). Zook currently ranks 18th in the nation for the 100 and 21st in the 200, which could secure him a place at nationals depending on the rest of this weekend’s results.
Schram and Frisby also scored in the 100-meter final with Schram placing fifth with a time of 10.87 and Frisby taking eight at 11.24. Frisby also took eight in the 200 with a time of 22.30. Both newcomers for the 2018 season, the ‘Jackets scored 16 points with the duo of Schram and Frisby.
Isaiah Girard broke a 46 year-old school record on Saturday with a high jump of 2.02 meters eclipsing Mark Halland’s mark of 2.01 meters from 1972. With the jump, Girard took third in the event. He cleared the height on his third jump while Alaska Anchorage’s Chris Brake and Central Washington’s Justin Peterson cleared the bar on their first jump. All three failed to clear 2.05 and Brake was crowned the champ for reaching the mark in the fewest attempts.
“Isaiah did awesome,” Woehl said of the sophomore’s high jump performance. “He finally broke the school record that has been there for a long time. I think that weight is off his back now and he will be ready to go higher next season. After failing his first two attempts he made it look easy with his third try.”
Rounding out the men’s scoring for Saturday, Nels Flanagan earned a seventh-place finish with his hammer throw of 53.04 meters. The throw was just short of his season best in the event.
“Nels finished his career well,” Woehl said of the senior. “He moved up a little in the hammer and scored for us. He was solid for us all year long.”
Flanagan was also the ‘Jackets second finished in the javelin with a throw of 51.16 meters placing 12th. Dillon Gongliewski finished 13th in the javelin and Beau Peaslee took 15th.
Peaslee finished 18th in the hammer with a throw of 43.32 meters. Also in the hammer, Hailey Steinbeisser had a breakthrough performance with a personal-best of 41.35 meters. While the throw placed 14th, it was well over a meter further than her previous best.
“Hailey had a huge personal-record in the hammer,” Woehl said of the throw. “We used a wild card to get her in and she made the most of it.”
Taylor Stringari (40.39m) placed 17th in the hammer ahead of Kassadee Kuoha (39.45m) and Hannah Nessan (36.60m).
Marcus Lindquist narrowly missed scoring in the triple jump where he qualified for finals and placed ninth. After battling injuries late in the season, the sophomore recorded a jump of 13.50 meters at the championships.
Beckett and Schwend finished 10th and 11th in the triple jump.
Concordia University (Ore.) won the men’s championship with 138 points over the weekend and Seattle Pacific was named the women’s champion with 154.5 points.
NEXT: The NCAA Division II National Outdoor Championships will take place on May 24-26 in Charlotte, N.C. where the ‘Jackets will send Egeland and Ackerman. It will be the third consecutive year that the Yellowjackets send athletes to the national meet.