(MSU Billings release)
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Great Northwest Athletic Conference named 13 Montana State University Billings women’s track and field student-athletes all-conference all-academic in an announcement Friday afternoon. Seven Yellowjackets became multi-year award winners and three earned all-academic for the third straight season. Based on academic criteria set up by the GNAC, winners included Nikki Aiken, Brenna Beckett, Anne Lory Chevalier, Rachel Hiner, Michaela Johnson, Abbie Lohof, Myhia Metzenberg, Hannah Nessan, Jamie Orme, Shaniah Schwend, Josey Smiedala, Hailey Steinbeisser and Janessa Williams.
Schwend and Beckett each held a 3.86 grade point average to lead the team. Schwend earned the award for the third time and is majoring in elementary education. On the track, Schwend finished 10th in the GNAC in triple jump, leading to her selection at the 10th annual Buzzie Awards as track and field female athlete of the year. Beckett majors in broadfield science with a teaching option and took eighth in the 4×400 meter relay at the GNAC outdoor championships. She also competed in long jump and triple jump.
Smiedala and Williams became three-year all academic award winners as seniors this spring. Focusing on public relations, Smiedala posted a 3.33 GPA and ran the 400 meter hurdles and 4×400 meter relay at the outdoor conference meet. Williams is finishing her degree in elementary education with a 3.72 GPA. The Clancy, Montana native finished in first place for triple jump on May 2 at the University of Providence Open and also competed in high jump and 4×100 meter relay.
Others grabbing all-academic honors for the second time include Lohof (Junior, Laurel, Montana), Orme (junior, Helena, Montana), Steinbeisser (junior, Sidney, Montana), and Beckett (junior, Broadview, Montana). Lohof holds a 3.79 GPA majoring in elementary education. She had a top-10 finish in conference for discus throw. Orme (3.34 GPA) is also working toward a degree in elementary education and competed well in high jump and long jump this spring. Steinbeisser earned a 3.77 GPA in health and human performance with a teaching option. She threw shot and hammer at the GNAC outdoor championships as well as discus over the course of the season.
Hiner, a sophomore led the ‘Jacket first time winners with a 3.69 GPA in special education. Hiner competes in middle distance in the 400 and 800 meter dash as well as the 4×400 meter relay. Right behind was Nessan, who posted a 3.68 GPA in her sophomore season majoring in elementary education. A Billings native, Nessan competed in three throwing events at the GNAC outdoor championships and finished fifth in the discus event finals.
In the degree field of criminal justice, sprinter Anne Lory Chevalier earned a 3.35 GPA. Chevalier was arguably the ‘Jackets most consistent sprinter and took 13th place in the 100 meter dash last weekend at the conference meet in Monmouth, Oregon.
Johnson appeared in five indoor meets, running mainly the 60 meter dash and 60 meter hurdles. A junior, she continued to work toward an undergraduate degree in health and human performance with a qualifying GPA of 3.20. Metzenberg capped her sophomore season with a 3.26 GPA in general studies. Hailing from Miles City, Montana, Metzenberg ran in a pair of relay teams and the 200 meter dash for outdoor meets.
Aiken improved her GPA to 3.33 this spring after winning all-academic honors in the fall for women’s cross country. Aiken is a health and human performance major with a teaching option and was the ‘Jackets top distance runner through indoor and outdoor track this year. Aiken demolished her previous career best in the 5000 meters on May 10 to finish 12th at the GNAC outdoor championships. She also ran steeplechase.
Western Washington had 19 total selections to lead all teams in GNAC all-academic selections. Selections to the GNAC all-academic teams must be of sophomore standing or greater, have a 3.20 cumulative grade point average or better and be in their second season of competition at the nominating institution. The Track and Field All-Academic Team includes student-athletes from both the indoor and outdoor seasons and 134 athletes earned the distinction in total.