Erika McLeod, Grizzlies open indoor track season

MISSOULA — The Montana track and field teams will open their indoor season this week when the Grizzlies compete at the Candy Cane VIII in Cheney, Washington. The meet, which will be held at EWU’s Jim Thorpe Fieldhouse, runs Friday and Saturday and will include athletes from Montana and Eastern Washington.

The women’s pentathlon, which begins at 1 p.m. (MT), and day one of the men’s heptathlon, which begins at 1:30 p.m. (MT), take place on Friday. The final three events of the heptathlon will be held Saturday morning, starting at 10 a.m. (MT).

The bulk of the meet takes place Saturday, with the full complement of field events — high jump, long jump, triple jump, pole vault, shot put, weight throw — starting at 11 a.m. (MT). Track events start at 1:30 p.m. (MT) and include only the 55 meters, 55-meter hurdles, 600 meters and 4×800-meter relay.

“I think we’re going to have a lot of great performances,” said eighth-year coach Brian Schweyen. “I think we’re going to see a good amount of really nice marks coming out of this meet compared to what we’ve done in the past.”

Montana’s athletes competing in the pentathlon will be junior Lakyn Connors and sophomores Jenna Dukovcic and Erika McLeod, a sophomore from Butte.

Eastern Washington’s Jozie Kimes won last year’s pentathlon title with 3,359 points. She edged out Montana’s Nicole Stroot, who is competing Saturday in the hurdles but not in Friday’s pentathlon, by 11 points. McLeod came in fourth with 3,300 points, Connors was fifth with 3,278 points.

Connors would go on to finish 12th in the pentathlon at last winter’s Big Sky indoor championships. McLeod placed 14th. Dukovcic, who last year competed only in the jumps, will be competing for the first time in the multi-events.

“Jenna has an aggressive style in her training. She goes for it,” said multi-events coach Adam Bork. “She doesn’t have much experience technically in a lot of events, but she picks things up quickly and hasn’t shied away from anything. It will be fun to watch her compete.”

Competing in the two-day heptathlon will be sophomore Charlie Bush and freshman Jess Beaman, of Kalispell.

Bush, who did not compete in the multi-events at last year’s Candy Cane meet, finished eighth in the heptathlon at last year’s indoor championships. He redshirted the outdoor season.

“Charlie has been looking really good,” said Bork. “We haven’t been putting a lot of time yet into the events, but the ones we’ve been working on, especially his best events, the pole vault and high jump, are looking nice. I would expect a PR from him.

“Jess is very competitive and tough, so he’ll be trying hard in everything. I expect him to have some really good marks as well.”

Montana’s Entries

Women’s 55 meters: Keyera Gaulden, Ana Jarrett, Morgan Sulser, Alanna Vann

* Jarrett, a 2014 graduate of Big Sky High, makes her Griz debut, as does Gaulden, out of Silverdale, Wash.

Women’s 600 meters: Emily Cheroske, Olivia Ellis, Rosa Hardarson

* An event rarely raced during the indoor season. The three Grizzlies will be chasing Emily Eickholt’s school record of 1:35.21 from 2011.

Women’s 55m hurdles: Nicole Anskaitis, Nicole Stroot, Morgan Sulser

* Anskaitis and Sulser both competed in the event at last winter’s Big Sky indoor championships.

Women’s 4x800m relay: Emily Cheroske, Lakyn Connors, Rosa Hardarson, Erika McLeod

* The school record of 9:18.61 has stood since 1987. It would require a four-split average of 2:19 to break.

Women’s high jump: Emma Andrews, Maggie Hering, Maddie Tayler

* Taylor went a season-best 5-4.5 last February to finish 12th at the Big Sky indoor championships.

Women’s pole vault: Nicole Anskaitis, Claire Dalman, Carrie Jacka, Emily Mendoza

* Anskaitis was the Big Sky indoor champion last winter. Jacka, a freshman, joined the program with a prep best at Spokane’s Mead High of 12-6.

Women’s long jump: Emma Andrews, Bettie Carlon, Lisa Carlon, Erika McLeod, Carla Nicosia, Madison Page, Darby Semenza, McKenzie Weber

* The college debuts of the Carlon twins, from Chester, and Nicosia, of Columbia Falls. Weber went a career-best 18-4 at last year’s Candy Cane.

Women’s triple jump: Bettie Carlon, Lisa Carlon, Lakyn Connors, Claire Dalman, Maggie Hering, Carla Nicosia, Madison Page

* Nicosia, the daughter of former Griz football player Mike Nicosia, won the Class A triple jump title last spring with a mark of 37-3.25.

Women’s shot put: Hana Feilzer, Mariah Harvey, Samantha Hodgson, Jo-Anne Jessee, Allie Keleti, Sabrina Keys

* Hodgson, at 50-8.25, is the indoor school record holder in the event and has finished third in the shot put at the last three Big Sky indoor and outdoor championships in which she’s competed.

Women’s weight throw: Hana Feilzer, Mariah Harvey, Samantha Hodgson, Carlie Jessop, Sabrina Keys

* Schweyen: “Hana’s been throwing the weight fantastic. That’s someone who is going to come out of this meet and make people in the conference go, Hey, she’s ready to throw.”

Men’s 55 meters: Dominique Bobo, Dionee Marrero, Andrew Monaco

* Marrero spent two years at Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix before transferring. Schweyen: “Bobo is going to run a nice 55. Dionee is going to run a REALLY good 55.”

Men’s 600 meters: Emmette Dustybull, Joe Lesar, Andrew Monaco, Karsten Pease, Ty Rather, Sterling Reneau, Bobby Smollack

* Reneau is the favorite and could challenge Drew Owens’ school-record time of 1:23.93 from last year’s meet.

Men’s 55m hurdles: Taylor Trollope

* Trollope was the state’s top prep hurdler last spring for Billing Skyview.

Men’s 4x800m relay: Emmette Dustybull, Joe Lesar, Karsten Pease, Ty Rather

* Dustybull, Pease and Rather are all racing for the first time in a Montana uniform.

Men’s high jump: Matt Quist

* Quist finished eighth at last winter’s Big Sky indoor championships as a freshman with a season-best height of 6-5.

Men’s pole vault: Jakob Alme, Brett Dringman, Pierce Frazier

* Dringman had Montana’s top height last year, indoor or outdoor, when he went 16-0.75 in February at Montana State.

Men’s long jump: Dominique Bobo, Davon Collins, Pierce Frazier, Dionee Marrero, Nolan Staats

* All of a sudden a strong event for Montana. Bobo is coming off a fourth-place finish at last spring’s outdoor championships. Collins, of San Antonio, Texas, joins the program with a prep best of 23-11.

Men’s triple jump: Jess Beaman, Davon Collins, Matt Quist, Nolan Staats

* Montana has not had someone finish in the top three at the Big Sky indoor championships in the triple jump since Chris Hicks in 2008.

Men’s shot put: Bo Harris

* Harris, of Fairfield, is a former defensive tackle for the Griz football team. He’ll be competing for the first time since the 2012 Class B state meet.

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