MSU track keeps pace, prepares for conference championships

The Montana State track and field team competed in the Cat-Griz Dual Meet on Saturday, April 23 in Bozeman, with both the men’s and women’s teams grabbing first place in a close contest. The men won 100.5 points to the Griz’s 93.5 and the women won 104 to 96 points.

The Bobcats had great performances throughout the meet. The women’s team placed first in 10 of 19 events and the men placed first in 8 of 19 events. Christie Schiel set a new meet record in the 800 meter with a winning time of 2:10.95, putting her in a position to potentially break the school record of 2:09.75. Newcomer junior Nahjee Matlock, who joined the track team after his first season with the basketball team, finished second in the 200 meter and third in the 100 meter.

After last weekend’s great win against the University of Montana, the Cats look to gain another sweep in the Montana Open in Missoula on April 30. The team has two more meets before conference championships to improve and qualify as many athletes as possible. “The next two meets will be crucial for many of our athletes as they try to hold, improve or move into the top twenty on the conference descending order list,” Head Coach Dale Kennedy said.

The MSU track team started their outdoor season with a bang on March 26 with the MSU Open in Bozeman. After an exciting indoor season full of great competition, the team is coming off of a fifth place finish for the men and an eighth place finish for the women at the Big Sky Conference Indoor Championships.

Previously, the Cats kicked off the season with five athletes qualifying for the conference championships at the MSU Open meet against University of Montana, MSU Billings and Rocky Mountain College. Senior Danielle Rider and junior Jessica Chrisp qualified in the heptathlon, with Rider winning the event as well. Sophomore Kyle Douglass won both the shot put and the discuss throw to qualify in both events. Other qualifiers of the meet were sophomore Ty Bermes and senior Tanner Gambill in the men’s javelin, and senior Zach Sharp and sophomore Calvin Root in the men’s hammer throw.

The team then went on to compete against University of Montana, University of Idaho and Eastern Washington University at the Al Manuel meet in Missoula. The Bobcats beat both Idaho and Eastern Washington with the men winning 122-54 against EWU and 120-49 against Idaho, while the women beat EWU 115.5-68.5 and Idaho 137-52. Both teams fell to Montana.

On April 8, the Cats traveled to Salt Lake City for the University of Utah Spring Classic where the team had 25 athletes place in the top eighth. Although the team had no new qualifiers, the Bobcats had six athletes come away from the meet with new personal records.

Junior Eric Zechenelley ran a career best time of 54.03 in the 400 hurdles and sophomore Luke Middlestadt placed fourth in pole vault with a career high jump of 15-03. On the women’s side, sophomore Amanda Jaynes ran a personal best time in the 400 hurdles, Rider and Chrisp both had lifetime bests in the 100 hurdles with times of 14.48 and 14.70, respectively and senior Britnee Grimstad threw 41-08.75 in the shot put to place second with a personal best.

Zachary Kughn (left) and Martin Ponce (right) run for MSU in the Men’s 1500 at the Cat­-Griz track meet on April 23. Photos by Chris Sandison
Zachary Kughn (left) and Martin Ponce (right) run for MSU in the Men’s 1500 at the Cat­-Griz track meet on April 23. Photos by Chris Sandison
Trevor Siminski takes his stride during the men’s triple jump.
Trevor Siminski takes his stride during the men’s triple jump.
Martin Ponce looks around the corner during the men’s 1500 meter run
Martin Ponce looks around the corner during the men’s 1500 meter run

The Cats currently have 22 women and 21 men ranked  in the top 20 for their events in the Big Sky Conference. The Big Sky Conference Championships will be held May 11-14 in Greely, Colorado.