School record, lifetime bests highlight Griz home opener

MISSOULA — University Montana track and field coach Brian Schweyen expected the performances to happen — Hana Feilzer’s school record, Matt Quist reaching seven feet, Sterling Reneau cracking 48 seconds — he just didn’t expect them to happen only two weeks into the outdoor season. Results

Feilzer’s, Quist’s and Reneau’s were three of a number of standout performances Friday and Saturday as the Grizzlies made their home debut at the Al Manuel Northwest Dual at Dornblaser Field in Missoula.

Montana swept all six of its duals against Montana State, Eastern Washington and Idaho, won 20 events and added nine new Big Sky Conference qualifiers.

“I think we had a fantastic day. We had a lot of lifetime bests and some great early performances,” said Schweyen.

“You want to be at your best at the end of the year, without a doubt, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a best the first week. That’s where it has to start. You need those early performances and lifetime bests to really fuel you.”

Feilzer, who broke the Montana record in the weight throw during the indoor season, got Montana rolling on Friday afternoon when she went 194-9 to win the hammer throw by more than 20 feet.

She entered the outdoor season with a PR of 175-7 and went 173-4 to win the event last Saturday at the Montana State Open. That she took down Caitlin Caraway’s school record of 194-2 wasn’t a surprise. That she took it down the first weekend of April certainly was, even to her.

“I’ve been throwing mid-180s in practice, so I knew it was coming. I’m just surprised it came as early in the season as it did,” she said. “I was like, Oh my god, where did that come from?”

“I wanted to get the record this year, and I ended up getting it early. That just makes my expectations that much higher. Now it’s about getting over 200. That’s the big thing now.”

When she does, it will be the type of significant breakthrough — a mark that separates the contenders from the pretenders — that Quist finally made Saturday. Going head-to-head with fifth-year senior Lee Hardt, Quist won the high jump at 7-1, his first time clearing seven feet.


“A lot of people play up the 7-footers’ club and say once you clear seven feet, you’re a legit collegiate high jumper, so it felt good to finally get over that,” Quist said. “It was definitely a big barrier I crossed over today.

“I kind of feel free now in a way. I can set my mind on other things, like going to regionals and going for the school record.” He doesn’t have far to go. Jas Gill’s program record is 7-2.5.

While it was individual performances that produced the headlines, it was an across-the-board team effort for Montana’s men’s and women’s teams that allowed the Grizzlies to sweep the day’s duals.

Junior Sammy Evans, who is inching closer to joining the 20-40 club, was a double winner in the long and triple jumps, sophomore Alex Mustard won the 100 and 200 meters, and freshman Kayla Holmes swept the shot put and discus for the second straight week.

Reneau was a one-event winner, but his performance will get the attention of sprinters across the Big Sky Conference. He sliced his PR in the 400 meters from an adjusted 48.59 to 47.60.

His was one of nine wins, including relays, that the men’s team had on the track. In addition to Mustard’s and Reneau’s wins in the sprints, senior Jacob Leininger and junior Dylan Reynolds gave the Grizzlies a sweep of the 110-meter and 400-meter hurdles.

Even the team’s distance runners, a group finally showing signs of life after being dormant for an extended period, helped the cause.

Freshman Jonathan Eastwood won the 1,500 meters and sophomore Paden Alexander had the type of performance in the 5,000 meters usually only displayed by visiting runners.

In a three-man battle for much of the race, Alexander put down the hammer with 600 meters to go, building a 10-meter lead in a matter of seconds. It was risky, going for the win that far from the line, but it was a move for which Montana State’s Justice Lamer and Idaho’s Dwain Stucker had no answer.

Alexander’s altitude-adjusted time of 15:08.93 was an eight-second PR.

Sophomore Jensen Lillquist gave Montana a second win the field events, going 204-11 to win the javelin. It gives him back-to-back meets throwing in the 200s for the first time in his career.

And he wasn’t even the event’s best story. Three years removed from elbow surgery and without a throw in competition since 2014, redshirt junior Daniel Jones dismissed his PR of 179-4 and landed a pair of throws beyond 190 feet. His top throw of 196-7 gave him a third-place finish.

While the men were picking up most of their victories on the track, the Griz women were getting it done in the field.

Evans led her teammates to a big day in the long jump, winning at 19-4, less than an inch off her PR. She came back later in the day to win the triple jump at 40-4.

She was one of three Griz long jumpers to go 18-5 or farther. Sophomore Erika McLeod, a Butte High graduate and the Big Sky indoor champion in the event, finished third at 18-9.25. Junior Nicole Stroot was fifth at 18-5.

Holmes went 42-6.75 to win the shot put, 142-4 to win the discus.

Montana’s victories on the track came from McLeod in the 400-meter hurdles and sophomore Reagan Colyer in the 1,500 meters. McLeod ran a career-best 1:00.83, Colyer an altitude-adjusted 4:35.45.

The Grizzlies swept both the men’s and women’s 4×100-meter relays and closed the meet by improving on that, going 1-2 with their A and B teams in both 4×400-meter relays.

Sure, Montana was the only school competing Saturday with a full team, so the dual victories need to be taken with a grain of salt, but performances are performances and marks are marks, no matter who else was at Dornblaser.

“The duals aren’t really an indicator of where we’re sitting, but when you look at how we performed, that’s super exciting,” said Schweyen. “I love what happened today.

“Several people who have been to these meets said, ‘Wow, you guys have a lot of really great competitors.’ We haven’t always seen that before, so that’s a huge compliment for this team. We have some kids who work hard, and that’s starting to show and bleed across the whole team.”

Montana will compete twice on the road next week. The Grizzlies will go head-to-head against Eastern Washington on Friday at the 44th Pelluer Invitational in Cheney. On Saturday Montana will compete at Spokane Community College’s War IX.

— Montana Sports Information

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