Montana State Host First Track & Field Open of the 2016 Season, - News, Sports and Weather

Montana State Host First Track & Field Open of the 2016 Season, Highlights and Results from Saturday 3/26

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The Montana track and field teams had 15 individual event victories and nine Big Sky Conference-qualifying performances Saturday as the Grizzlies opened their outdoor season at the Montana State Open in Bozeman.

Redshirt junior Sammy Evans, back competing in a Montana uniform for the first time in more than a year, swept the long and triple jumps, freshman Kayla Holmes won the shot put and discus, and sophomore Jensen Lillquist may have already booked a second straight trip to regionals in the javelin.

After two days of wintery conditions that hindered the heptathlon and decathlon on Thursday and Friday, athletes from Montana, Montana State, MSU Billings and Rocky Mountain enjoyed as good of conditions as Bozeman can produce in late March.

“The weather turned out to be pretty nice. It was sunny with not a lot of wind, and that allowed for a lot of really nice performances,” said coach Brian Schweyen. “From our distance runners to our throwers to pretty much everything else, we were really solid. I’m pretty happy with the way we started.”

The return of Evans from back-to-back redshirt seasons not only gives Montana the favorite to win the long and triple jumps at the Big Sky outdoor championships in May at Greeley, it gives the Grizzlies an infusion of dynamic personality.

Evans won the long jump at 19-0.75 and triple jump at 40-9.75, both Big Sky-qualifying marks in events that Evans could be competing in late May at regionals in Lawrence, Kan. She also came in second in the high jump at 5-2.5.

“It’s nice knowing we have someone the quality of athlete, competitor and leader that Sammy is back competing for the team,” said Schweyen. “I think there are a lot of girls who look up to her and feed off her energy.”

Also back after sitting out the last two seasons is redshirt junior Dylan Reynolds, who scored in the 400-meter hurdles at the Big Sky outdoor championships as both a freshman and sophomore.

He won the event on Saturday in a solid season-opening and qualifying time of 54.17. Redshirt senior Jacob Leininger (55.10) was second, redshirt junior Bobby Smollack (57.04) third and freshman Taylor Trollope (58.36) fourth.

“All those guys ran well in that race,” said Schweyen. “For not competing for a year, it was really nice to see Dylan do what he did. His time is only going to get better and better.”

Schweyen only had encomiums earlier this week when talking about Lillquist, who had a season-best javelin throw of 208-9 last spring as a freshman. That was good enough to get him to regionals.

Lillquist picked up right where he left off, opening his sophomore season with a throw of 208-5 that easily surpassed the Big Sky standard of 187-0 but was only good for third place in a loaded event.

Montana State’s Ty Bermes and Tanner Gambill went one-two with throws of 216-9 and 210-11. Griz freshman Brady Coffman came in fourth. He also reached the Big Sky standard with a throw of 195-6.

While Coffman was getting his Montana throwing career off to a good start, Holmes, who redshirted the indoor season, was doing the same thing.

She won the shot put at 42-8, then outdistanced the field by more than 20 feet in the discus, winning with a throw of 152-6 that surpassed the Big Sky standard by nearly five feet.

“For Kayla to redshirt the indoor season, then go out today and throw very solid in the shot put and win that, then PR in the discus the way she did, that was fun to watch,” said Schweyen.

“When we recruited her last year, we anticipated she would be a great help and a factor for us. Today she showed she’s going to be.”

Senior Lindsey Dahl went 147-6 in the javelin to finish as the top attached athlete in the event, come within a foot of her PR and reach the Big Sky standard of 137-9.5. In the men’s throws, junior Nick Jackson went 179-2 in the hammer to finish third and also qualify.

Montana’s other Big Sky qualifier was sophomore Jessica Bailey, who ran an adjusted time of 36:45.11 to finish third in the mixed 10,000 meters.

After finishing third and fourth in the heptathlon Thursday and Friday, sophomore Erika McLeod and junior Nicole Stroot were back at it on Saturday and swept the hurdles. Stroot clocked a PR of 14.56 to win the 100-meter hurdles. McLeod won the 400-meter hurdles in a time of 1:03.42.

Sophomore Alanna Vann won the 100 meters (12.60), redshirt sophomore Reagan Colyer the 1,500 meters (adjusted 4:37.06) and freshman Emily Pittis the 5,000 meters (adjusted 17:47.40).

Sophomore Maddie Tayler won the high jump (5-2.5), senior Emily Mendoza the pole vault (11-1.75) and sophomore Hana Feilzer the hammer (173-4).

On the men’s side, senior Joe Lesar claimed the 400 meters (50.40), Trollope the 110-meter hurdles (15.42). Lesar and Reynolds joined redshirt senior Andrew Monaco and redshirt freshman Ty Rather to win the 4x400-meter relay.

Montana will host Montana State, Eastern Washington and Idaho next Friday and Saturday at Dornblaser Field at the Al Manuel Northwest Dual.

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