Griz in third at Big Sky track championships

Griz in third at Big Sky track championships

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Montana women’s track and field team got scoring from nine different athletes on Friday, and the Grizzlies’ 41 points through three days of the Big Sky Conference track and field championships at Sacramento, Calif., has them in third place. Results

Heading into Saturday, when a bulk of the meet’s available points will be up for grabs, Weber State holds the lead with 56 points, while the host Hornets are sitting on 50.

Weber State and Sacramento State are also in first and second place in the men’s standings. With limited scoring opportunities on Friday, Montana was shut out and is sitting in 11th place with Josh Riley’s three points from Wednesday and Thursday’s decathlon.

The women’s team didn’t produce any individual champions on Friday, but three athletes came through with third-place finishes: Jessica Bailey, who ran a career-best 10:24.09 in the steeplechase, Sammy Evans, who went 19-8 in the long jump, and Jane Booth, who cleared 5-8 in the high jump.

With a majority of the meet’s scored running events taking place on Saturday, most of Montana’s other points on Friday came in the field events.

Nicole Stroot and Butte High graduate Erika McLeod joined Evans in giving the Grizzlies three scorers in the long jump. Stroot, who finished third in the heptathlon, placed sixth at 19-2, her first time this spring breaking 19 feet. McLeod was eighth at 18-8.

Montana had a pair of freshman scorers in the javelin. Darby Henthorn finished fourth at 143-2, Kimberly Earhart was eighth at 132-1.

Carrie Jacka finished fifth in the pole vault at 12-2.75, and Lauryn Wate picked up a pair of points with a seventh-place finish in Friday night’s 10,000 meters. Her time of 36:16.66 took nearly two minutes off her PR.

Friday’s track events were largely preliminaries, feeder races into Saturday’s scored finals, and both Montana teams advanced a good number of runners.

Stroot moved on in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 14.31. Emily Cheroske and Carly Smiedala, who had nearly identical times of 2:09.99 and 2:10.00, will make up two of the eight finalists in the 800 meters.

Olivia Ellis made it through in the 400-meter hurdles, running a time of 1:01.17, Alanna Vann advanced in the 200 meters, running a 25.33.

The men’s team just missed out on scoring on the track on Friday. Nathan Wellington finished ninth in the steeplechase in a season-best time of 9:26.49. Paden Alexander came in 10th in the 10,000 meters, taking 51 seconds off his PR and finishing in a time of 31:05.11.

The scoring will have to wait until Saturday, after the Grizzlies had seven performances that allowed them to advance.

Alex Mustard moved on in both the 100 and 200 meters, clocking times of 10.62 and 21.39. Dominique Bobo will join him in the 200 meters after running a 21.47.

Big Sky Conference indoor champion Sterling Reneau had the second-fastest qualifying time in the 400 meters, running a 48.16, and Karsten Pease moved on in the 800 meters, racing to a career-best time of 1:52.04.

The other qualifiers came in the hurdles. Chase Armstrong advanced in the 110-meter hurdles in a time of 15.06. Dylan Reynolds moved on in the 400-meter hurdles, going 54.32.

Saturday’s big day begins at 11 a.m. (MT) with the women’s hammer. Track events start with the 4×100-meter relays, the women’s race going off at 1:15 p.m. (MT).

— Montana Sports Information

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