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Track and field: Griz battle Vandals, Eagles, weather

“The conditions just didn’t allow us to build on what we did last weekend,” said coach Brian Schweyen, whose teams opened the outdoor season at the Al Manuel Northwest Duals in Missoula last Friday and Saturday. (GoGriz.com)

By GoGriz.com

All things considered, with the conditions being described as “rainy, snowy, windy, freezing, miserable” by coach Brian Schweyen, the Montana track and field teams’ performance on Saturday at the 45th annual Pelluer Invitational in Cheney, Wash., was just fine.

The Grizzlies, facing Eastern Washington and Idaho for the second straight weekend, had a dozen individual event winners and picked up a relay victory on a day when eye-popping results were almost impossible to produce.

“The conditions just didn’t allow us to build on what we did last weekend,” said Schweyen, whose teams opened the outdoor season at the Al Manuel Northwest Duals in Missoula last Friday and Saturday.

“The weather didn’t allow us to do what we were hoping to do, but there were still some kids who had really good days.”

The best belonged to Daniel Jones, who won the javelin with a throw of 213-0, an eight-foot PR and a lock to get him to regionals next month in Austin, Texas (where the complaint will be that it’s too hot and humid, but that’s outdoor track and field in the NCAA’s West Region in the spring).

“He was probably the performer of the day,” said Schweyen. “He did it on his first throw, and it was cold and windy when he hit it.”

Kyle Morris went 196-7 to finish second in his first collegiate javelin competition. Brady Coffman, competing for the first time in more than a year after injuring his elbow last spring, was third at 174-0.

On the track for the men’s team, Jordon Wallin led a first-through-fourth finish in the 800 meters with a time of 1:54.82. Karsten Pease, at 1:55.42, and Noah Adams, at 1:55.84, also broke 1:56 on a day when that meant something.

Dylan Reynolds won the 400-meter hurdles, defeating Idaho’s Mack Baxter, who edged Reynolds last Saturday at Dornblaser Field, in a season-best time of 53.36.

Alex Mustard, Sterling Reneau, Callum Macnab and Dominique Bobo teamed up to win the rarely raced 4×200 meters in a time of 1:26.66. Bobo also went 22-11.75 to finish fourth in the long jump.

In the field events, Matt Quist, using a safe, six-step approach because of wet conditions, won the high jump at 6-6.75. Grant Whitcutt won the pole vault at 13-5.75.

The Montana women’s team won four track events, with Carly Smiedala taking the 400 meters in a time of 57.77, Rosa Hardarson the 800 meters at 2:13.98.

Smiedala took a full second off the adjusted 58.77 she ran last Saturday, and Hardarson cut more than two seconds off her PR.

Emily Cheroske finished second to Smeidala in the 400 meters, running a career-best 58.52.

Morgan Sulser won the 100-meter hurdles in a time of 15.21. Olivia Ellis claimed the 400-meter hurdles in 1:03.06.

For the second straight week the Grizzlies dominated the discus, with Kayla Holmes once again leading the way. She threw 156-3 one week after going 161-1.

Holly Houston, a freshman, added more than 17 feet to her throw last weekend, finishing second at 155-7. Samantha Hodgson, who won the shot put at 43-9.25, was third at 154-5.

Jane Booth went 5-7 to win the high jump, her second straight weekend clearing that height, and Madison Page had a PR in the triple jump, finishing second at 37-10.5.

Nearly two dozen athletes will compete for Montana next week in Southern California at the Mt. SAC Relays and Bryan Clay Invitational. The weather is forecasted to be sunny and in the mid-70s.