Montana heptathletes win 4 of 5 spots at MSU meet

Junior Charlie Bush finished second and helped Montana’s heptathletes claim four of the top five spots on Tuesday as the Montana State multi-events meet concluded in Bozeman.

Bush held a slim two-point lead going into the heptathlon’s final event, but Montana State’s Noah Martin outran Bush by two seconds in the 1,000 meters to win with a score of 4,810.

Bush finished with a score of 4,792, the exact same points he totaled last month at the season-opening Candy Cane Invitational in Cheney, Wash.

He moved ahead of Martin after going 15-3 in the pole vault, the top height of the day, but could not hold the lead despite running a 2:57.68 for the 1,000 meters, a time that would be less than two seconds off his PR when converted.

“Charlie was solid all day,” said UM multi-events coach Adam Bork. “He had a good-looking hurdles race, his vault is getting better, and he ran a pretty good 1,000, so he’s doing really well.”

Freshman Grant Whitcutt finished third with 4,529 points, freshman Josh Riley was fourth with 4,473, and senior Dylan Reynolds, hurt by a no-height in the pole vault, came in fifth with 4,126 points.

Freshmen Morgan Eitel and Brendan Thurber-Blaser did not finish. Eitel pulled out after tweaking a hamstring during warmups for the day’s opening event, the 60-meter hurdles. Thurber-Blaser called it a day prior to the start of the pole vault because of an achy Achilles.

Half of the 14-athlete field would drop out, some because of injury, some because they were only entered to get some early work in their open events. That opened the door for the rest of the heptathletes to continue on and move up the standings.

Bush started the day in fourth, Riley in eighth and Whitcutt in ninth. Riley (9.10) and Whitcutt (9.16) both had solid times in the hurdles. Whitcutt rose up the standings with a vault of 13-11.25. Riley ran a 2:49.74 for the 1,000 meters, second only to Reynolds’ winning time of 2:45.70.

“I expect the freshmen to improve a lot over these next few weeks,” said Bork. “We should hopefully have several of the top-eight spots by the time conference rolls around.”

Montana’s multi-event athletes will next compete in the pentathlon and heptathlon at the Washington Invitational in Seattle on Jan. 27-28.

The Grizzlies will compete for the first time this winter as a full team on Friday when they travel to Bozeman for the Montana State Open.