Despite inclement weather conditions, Montana State’s multi-athletes kicked off the outdoor track and field season strong at the Montana State Open.
Senior Danielle Rider and sophomore Mason Storm claimed victories in the heptathlon and the decathlon, respectively, as a collection of Bobcats and Montana Grizzlies earned Big Sky Conference qualifying marks in the first outdoor competition of the season.
Rider, a Billings West product, notched the top marks in the shot put (42 feet, 9.5 inches) and the javelin (116 feet, 10 inches) while posting top three marks in the 100 hurdles, the 200 meters, the high jump and the 800 to total 4,880 points. MSU junior Jessica Chrisp used the top marks in the high jump and the 200 to pile up 4,641 points and also earn a Big Sky Outdoor Championships automatic qualifying mark.
“The way Danielle and Jessica competed the last two days is a great testament to the heptathletes they are,” head coach Dale Kennedy said. “The weather was not in their favor, but they fought through it and competed really well. Today we broke the ice of the outdoor season and shook off some cobwebs.”
Storm, a Great Falls C.M. Russell High product, posted wins in the 100 meters, the long jump and the shot put on Friday, the second day of the 10-event competition. He posted the top marks in the 110 hurdles, the discus and the 1,500 on Thursday to earn a first-day lead. His 6,311 points helped him win the decathlon by nearly 100 points ahead of teammate Trevor Simanski. Storm’s mark is short of his personal best of 6,469 points but is good enough to earn an automatic qualification to the Big Sky Championships.
Montana State’s men’s throwers earned six BSC qualifying marks On Saturday. Sophomore Kyle Douglas won two events, throwing the shot put 54-04.5 and the discus 161-09, each good enough for automatic qualifications. After sitting out for the whole indoor season — there is no javelin indoors — Ty Bermes and Tanner Gambill, the 2015 outdoor javelin champion and runner-up, took the first two spots on the podium. Bermes, a sophomore from Joliet, threw 216-09 and Gambill, a senior from Forsyth, threw 210-11.
Senior Zach Sharp and sophomore Calvin Root rounded out the conference qualifiers for the throwers, placing first and second in the hammer with distances of 188-10 and 182-06, each automatic qualifying marks.
Montana’s Lindsey Dahl threw the javelin 147-06 to qualify for the conference meet while MSU junior Dawn Blevins threw the jav 138 feet to earn a spot as well.
Dylan Reynolds of Montana ran 54.17 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles to win the event and punch a BSC championship ticket. UM’s Samantha Evans sored 19-00.75 in the long jump and 40-09.75 in the triple jump to win both events and post automatic qualifying marks. UM’s Alanna Vann ran 11.93 seconds in the 100 meters to qualify in the event.
MSU sophomore Mitchell Hornig swept the 100 and the 200, edging out freshman teammate Dustin Sobrero in the straight sprint by 0.01 with a time of 11 seconds flat. Hornig won the 200 in 22.52. Neither met the automatic qualifying standards of 10.75 and 21.70, respectively.
MSU junior Josephine Petruska had a strong debut to her outdoor season with a win in the 200 in 25.46. Sophomore Luke Middelstadt jumped 15-01 in the pole vault for the victory.
MSU junior Christie Schiel looked healthy after cross-country and indoor seasons ravaged by injuries. The reigning outdoor 800 meter champion won the event in 2:13.93, barely edging sophomore Taylor Buschy (2:14.75). Indoor 800 champion Kaylee Schmitz finished the race in fifth.
Montana State sophomore Diego Leon posted wins in the 800 (1:55.67) and the 1,500 (3:59.11) despite running unattached. He is redshirting this outdoor season so he can only race in open meets.
Montana’s Nicole Stroot just missed the BSC qualifying time of 14.40 in the 100 hurdles but won the race in 14.56.
Erika McLeod, the indoor champion in the pentathlon, won the 300-meter hurdles in 1:03.42, short of the qualifier of 62 seconds. McLeod also finished second in the long jump in 18-03.25, missing the automatic qualifying mark by five inches. McLeod, a sophomore from Butte High, scored 4,548 points in the pentathlon to finish third behind Rider and Chrisp.
Photos by Brooks Nuanez. All Rights Reserved.