Track athletes turn in top performances at WA Invitational
Sammy Evans won the triple jump and the Montana track and field teams had a handful of other standout performances on Saturday as the Washington Invitational wrapped up in Seattle.
Sitting outside of the top three in a field of 42, Evans came through with a clutch sixth and final jump, going 41-5 to move into first place and come within three and a half inches of her school record.
Hers was the only event victory of the weekend for the Grizzlies but not the only notable performance.
Megan Franz won her section of the 800 meters in a time of 2:13.60, a PR of more than a second. She finished 22nd overall.
“That was an incredible race for Megan and a big PR,” said UM coach Brian Schweyen. “It was fun to watch that. And Emily and Carly ran nice 800s as well.”
In the women’s mile, Reagan Colyer finished sixth in a time of 4:53.83. It was the best raw time of her career and just off her adjusted PR of 4:52.26 she ran as a freshman at the Big Sky indoor championships in Pocatello, Idaho.
In the 3,000 meters, Emily Pittis continues to excel. She began the season with a PR of 10:14.80. She slashed that to 10:00.34 last Friday at Montana State, then cut it to 9:44.88 on Saturday to finish fourth in her section, 39th overall.
“That was a huge PR for Emily. She just keeps getting better every week. It’s fun to see,” said Schweyen. “And Reagan is running great. I think she’s ready to put one down too.”
In the women’s field events, Evans picked up a win and Arielle Walden made a big move in the same event. She jumped beyond 38 feet for the first time, going 38-3.25 to finish fifth in a field of 42.
“That was great for her,” said Schweyen. “She’s fought hard to get into shape, and it’s paying off. She had a great jump, and I couldn’t be happier for her.”
In the men’s track events, Chase Armstrong ran a season-best 8.61 in the qualifying round of the 60-meter hurdles, Jordon Wallin went 1:54.88 in the 800 meters for his first sub-1:55 race of the winter, and Sterling Reneau made his season debut in the 400 meters, racing to a time of 49.32.
In the field events, Nick Jackson placed 11th in the shot put at a distance of 53-6.25.
Whitcutt finished fourth in the pole vault at 13-7.25, Reynolds had the day’s third-fastest time in the 1,000 meters of 2:43.86.
Otherwise it was a mostly quiet day and quiet weekend for Montana. Some highlights but maybe not as many as would have been expected.
“I think coming back from break and then getting right back into training and lifting, it catches up to the athletes a couple of weeks in. To a degree I think there were some heavy legs and some fatigue, but we had some kids who had a great meet,” said Schweyen.
Montana will get a chance to compete on another oversized track on Friday when the Grizzlies compete at the Idaho Duals in Moscow. Then it’s a meet at Pocatello, another at Bozeman, then the Big Sky championships, this year at Idaho State.
“We come out of the gates early and have some great meets, then the athletes start getting pounded a little bit through training and lifting. That’s where we’re at now,” said Schweyen.
“Next week we’re going to be on an oversized track with a fast surface, and it’s set up for just a few schools. I think next week we’re really going to raise the bar on what we want to do.”