University of Montana track and field athletes swept several events on a gray Saturday at their last home track meet before the Big Sky Conference Championships.
“Most of our kids will also compete at conference, but for those not, it’s their last meet of the season,” assistant coach Adam Bork said. “I think it’s that time of the season where our athletes really start performing better.”
And perform they did. The Griz men won 11 of 19 events at the Montana Open at Dornblaser Field in Missoula. The women won eight of their 19. Five Griz were first-time winners. It was an impressive showing, taking top spot out of a half dozen Montana colleges, but it’s even more impressive considering many of the top Griz athletes were competing in UCLA’s Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee Invitational.
UM athletes swept the medals in three events. Sterling Reneau, Cade Johnstone and Mitchell Ward finished first, second and third in the men’s 400 meter run. Megan Franz, Mijah McLeod and Erica Simison took first, second and third in the women’s 800 meter run. Abby Dodge, Carla Nicosia and Rachel Lewis swept the women’s triple jump.
The Griz took the top two spots in six more events: men’s shot put, men’s long jump, women’s discus, women’s pole vault, women’s 100 meter hurdles and the women’s 5000 meter run.
The Grizzlies won both the men’s and women’s 4x100 meter relays, and senior Jessica Bailey came in almost 20 seconds ahead of the rest of the pack in the women’s 300 meter steeplechase.
Junior Callum Macnab won two events, the men’s 110 meter hurdles and the men’s 400 meter hurdles.
Senior Dillon May competed in his first meet in four months last weekend. May runs the steeplechase as his main event, but ran the 5000 meter Saturday. At one point early in the race, May reached behind him to high-five Ivan Colmenero from MSU-Billings.
“I’m just happy to be back and racing again,” he said.
Since he’s graduating in May, the Montana Open was one of May’s final meets running as a Griz athlete.
“I’m sure it will start sinking in more and more,” May said. “Especially with applying for teaching jobs and trying to plan out my next couple months, I’m starting to think, ‘Man I could be moving in a month,’ and then I start thinking, ‘Oh man, my last couple laps around the track here.’”
Although the Montana Open will be the last home meet for some of the team, May is thinking ahead.
“Hopefully I’ll be running the steeple for the Griz at conference,” he said. “I’m certainly planning on it.”
The Grizzlies will host the Big Sky Conference Championships May 8–11 at Dornblaser Field. They’ll head to California this weekend for the Bryan Clay Invitational, before spending the last two weekends of the regular season in Bozeman for the Griz-Cat Dual and Tom Gage Classic.