Griz, Cats battle elements in Day 1 of outdoor season

MISSOULA — Like baseball’s spring training, but without the sunshine and warm breezes, Montana’s multi-event athletes got an early jump on the outdoor track and field season when the Grizzlies competed in the heptathlon and decathlon Thursday on the opening day of the Montana State Open in Bozeman. Results

The day started out mild and in the mid-40s. It ended with snow, brisk winds and temperatures that dipped almost to freezing.

“Considering the conditions and it being an early meet and the way our training’s been going, I thought things went pretty well,” said coach Brian Schweyen. “You always want things to be a little better here and there, but for the most part everything was pretty good.”

In the women’s heptathlon, Montana State’s Danielle Rider, who was second in the pentathlon at last month’s Big Sky Conference indoor championships, leads the six-athlete field with 3,018 points.

Montana athletes are sitting third, fourth and fifth. Junior Nicole Stroot has 2,772 points, sophomore Erika McLeod, the Big Sky pentathlon champion, has 2,764, junior Lakyn Connors has 2,566.

Stroot, who finished third in the 60-meter hurdles at the indoor championships, extended her improvements to the outdoor 100-meter hurdles, running a time of 14.61 that was just one-hundredth of a second off her PR and the best time of the day by a wide margin.

MSU’s Jessica Crisp took the lead after two events by going 5-4.5 in the high jump, and Rider jumped up to the top spot with a shot put of 42-9.5, a heave that was nine feet better than anyone else in the field.

All the athletes clocked slower-than-normal times in day’s final event, the 200 meters, which was raced into a stiff headwind.

Stroot went 5-2.25 in the high jump, 32-6.25 in the shot put and 27.86 in the 200 meters, putting her 144 points ahead of her day-one score from last May’s outdoor championships, when she would finish sixth.

McLeod, a Butte High graduate, had marks of 15.36 in the hurdles, 5-1 in the high jump, 33-9.25 in the shot put and 26.63 in the 200, the day’s second-fastest time. Connors went 15.37, 5-1, 32-8.5 and 28.81.

The heptathlon concludes Friday with the long jump, javelin and 800 meters.

In the decathlon, redshirt freshman Charlie Bush is in third place with 2,942 points. Montana State’s Mason Storm, with 3,353, is in first, MSU’s Trevor Simanski is in second with 3,027.

Bush tied for second in the field of six in the high jump, going 5-10.5 for his best showing of the day. He finished third in the 100 meters (11.86), long jump (20-6.75) and 400 meters (56.22), a race done in heavy winds, and fourth in the shot put (30-8.25).

Day two of the decathlon features the 110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500 meters.

“Competing this early in the season allows these athletes to get familiar with things again and get rolling with the multis,” said Schweyen. “The next one we do should be in better weather, and everything should be much improved.”

— Montana Sports Information

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