(MSUB Athletics release)
BILLINGS – Montana State University Billings track and field teams open their outdoor season Saturday at the Yellow Jacket Spring Open hosted by Black Hills State University in Spearfish.
MSU Billings last competed in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Indoor Championships February 15-16. With more than a month to recover and prepare for the move outdoors, the Yellowjackets have their first shot at Division II competition in the Yellow Jacket Spring Open this weekend.
Favorable spring weather in the low 50’s is expected at Lyle Hare Stadium on the campus of Black Hills State University. Other teams expected to compete include Chadron State, Black Hills State, South Dakota School of Mines, Minot State, Dickinson State and University of Mary (though the list is tentative). The same group of teams could potentially appear in Billings on March 30, when MSUB hosts the Yellowjacket/Battlin’ Bears Open in the only home track meet of the season.
“Everybody is really excited to get outside finally and compete,” said head coach Jon Woehl. “Our sprinters will have had the chance to run on an outdoor track ahead of this week’s meet. We have to get a little bit more creative with some of the field events because there is still a lot of snow and water where we want to practice, but we can still do some run-throughs and jumping workouts. We are going to try and get the throwers outside to practice the next couple days if we can.”
MSU Billings track and field is looking to make up ground after the men finished ninth at the GNAC Indoor Championships and the women finished 10th out of 10 teams.
“The break provided an opportunity for the team to recover from indoor season a little bit but we’ve ramped up our training the last week or so in preparation for outdoor season,” commented Woehl. “With only eight weeks left in the season, it is going to go fast so we have to use every opportunity we have to perform at our best, no matter the conditions.
Men expected to compete in Spearfish include Ronald Venema (distance), Isaiah Girard (jumps/middle distance), Lucas Harper (sprints/jumps), Marcus Lindquist (sprints/jumps), Kyle Patelis (sprints/relays), Mason Schram (sprints), Kaelen Shay (sprints), Ty Stanton (jumps), Matthew Poore (throws), Ase Ackerman (distance), Mark Hovland (distance), and Logan Straus (middle distance).
On the women’s team, the Yellowjackets will have Brenna Beckett (sprints/jumps), Myhia Metzenberg (jumps), Jamie Orme (sprints/high jump), Shaniah Schwend (jumps), Maddy Thompson (sprints/relays), Abbie Lohof (throws), Hannah Nessan (sprints/high jump), Hailey Steinbeisser (throws/sprints), Taylor Stringari (throws), Nikki Aiken (distance, steeplechase), Rachel Hiner (middle distance), Miranda Livingston (middle distance/relays), Kailee Stoppel (distance/hurdles), and Kaitlin Mason (sprints).
“I am excited for the outdoor events on Saturday,” Woehl said. “I think Nikki is going to compete in the steeplechase this weekend and we’ll be able to gage where she’s at from there. It will be nice to see both the men and women in the 100 meter dash as well. Sierra is probably going to run the 400 hurdles for the first time so it will be fun to see how that goes. Marcus decided to do the 400 hurdles as well and we have been working on that event quite a bit.”
Josie Smiedala is expected to make a comeback during outdoor track and field season after suffering an injury that kept her out of most competition in the fall and winter.
“Josie was hurt most of indoor season but Tom (Ebel, MSUB certified athletic trainer) has been doing a really good job helping her with rehab and she is back to training and been healthy for almost a month. She has the school record in the 400 hurdles so I’m excited to see her compete for the first time in a long time. She will be well prepared.”
Field events are scheduled to begin at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday March 23, followed by running events at 2:00 p.m. The top nine finishers in each event will qualify for the event finals. Fans can follow the Yellowjacket track and field @msubxctf for the latest updates on the team.