BOZEMAN — If there was any doubt that Eirka McLeod would be ready to compete following a year away from the sport, consider that doubt gone. All that outsiders need to know is 2-for-2.
McLeod, a senior who redshirted a year ago, showed once again that she used her year away from competition to better herself, winning the pentathlon for the second consecutive meet (3,735). She also won the pentathlon at the Candy Cane XI in December, setting meet and track records and earning Big Sky Conference Athlete-of-the-Week honors.
The two-time conference champion wasn’t alone, however, as she and her teammates swept the event Monday afternoon at the MSU Multis. Sophomores Jansen Ziola (3,410) and Jaree Mane (3,134) finished second and third, respectively. Montana State had three participants and two finishers. (Results)
McLeod, a Butte High graduate, won four of the five events, including several in dominant fashion, posting a time of 2:32.21 in the 800 meters and marks of 5-4.5 in the high jump, 37-1.75 in the shot put, and 18-10 in the long jump. McLeod finished second in the 60-meter hurdles (9.02), with Ziola edging her out.
Ziola, the 2018 Big Sky champion in the pentathlon, won the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.97 seconds. She finished in the top three of all five events, including second in the long jump (18-4.25) and 800 meters (2:32.34). Despite being so early in the season, several of her scorers were within reach of personal bests, while her shot put distance of 29-7.5 was.
Mane had a monumental day, setting personal bests in the 60-meter hurdles (9.45), shot put (34-9) and long jump (16-6.5), in addition to her overall score.
On the men’s side, through four events of the heptathlon, Josh Riley is in fourth place out of six competitors. His day started a little slow in the 60 meters (7.40 seconds) and long jump (20-6.5), before hitting his stride in the shot put (37-5) and high jump (6-4.75). Both marks were the second-best among the field, and Riley’s best throw in the shot put was nearly 3 feet better than his previous personal best. Montana’s other competitor, freshman Aidan Diggs, was a scratch and unable to participate.
Action will conclude on Tuesday with the final three events of the heptathlon — the 60-meter hurdles, pole vault and 1,000 meters — beginning at 10 a.m.