(MSUB Athletics release)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – During day one of the 2018 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships, the Montana State University Billings Yellowjackets saw Jorey Egeland earn a spot in Friday’s 3,000-meter steeplechase final while Sam Zook became the first athlete in program history to compete in two national championship meets.
Egeland placed 11th in qualifying for the 3,000-meter steeplechase and will race again Friday evening at 5:15 p.m. Mountain Time in the final. Zook finished 16th in the 100-meter dash, concluding a stellar junior year for MSUB’s top sprinter.
“Jorey didn’t run the prettiest race but he got it done,” head coach Jonathan Woehl said of the Billings native’s performance. “He really gutted it out in the end and we will see what he can do tomorrow. I know Sam wanted to finish higher. When we get to this point everything is down to just hundredths of a second. He was so close but everyone is so good at this level that you have to have your very best moment to make finals and that didn’t happen for him today.”
Egeland qualified for Friday’s race with a time of 9:10.73 in his preliminary heat. Twelve runners will compete in the final assuring Egeland of at least second team all-American status with top-8 finishers named first-team selections.
In an extremely competitive second heat, Egeland maintained his pace in the back of the pack from the start of the race. After nearly half of the race was complete, the Yellowjacket picked up his pace and moved up four positions after the 1,400-meter mark to earn his spot. He edged out fellow GNAC competitor Oliver Jorgenson from Simon Fraser in the heat.
“Typically you will see that first heat run a little slower but they came out fast today,” Woehl said of the group before Egeland’s heat. “In heat two the guys knew what time they were going after and it was a tight pack through most of the race. Jorey ran an even pace and put himself in position to be successful and closed out that last lap and a half really well.”
In the 100-meter dash, Zook placed 16th with a time of 10.69 while racing in the second heat. Just by running, Zook made MSUB history as he became the first Yellowjacket to ever compete in two national championship meets after running the 100 and 200 last season.
Zook set a new MSUB-record in the 100 this season with a time of 10.41 but was just over one-tenth of a second behind the final qualifying time. The junior will have a chance at a third trip to nationals next season and finishes the season as a member of MSUB’s first-ever Great Northwest Athletic Conference 4×100-relay championship.
Returning Division II 100-meter champion Mobolade Ajomale was the top qualifier with a time of 10.30. Tiffin University had two sprinters qualify for the finals, the only school to do so. The top-8 runners will compete in Saturday’s final at 2:45 p.m. Mountain Time.
The Yellowjackets will remain in action the next two days as Egeland runs the steeplechase final tomorrow at 5:15 p.m. Mountain Time and Beau Ackerman throws the javelin at 8:30 on Saturday morning. A live stream of the championships can be found on NCAA.com with live results posted via Leone Timing.