The University of Montana Track and Field team finished better this year at the Big Sky Indoor Championship in Pocatello, Idaho Feb. 27-29 than originally predicted in the preseason poll.
The Montana men’s team came in 5th place, its highest finish since 2015. While the Women’s team came in 6th place. Northern Arizona was able to take home two first-place honors in the Men’s and Women’s teams this weekend.
Montana sophomore, Jacob Lamb, was unable to reach the finals last year in the 800-meter race, but that changed this year as he took first place in the entire meet, running a time of 1:53.71. Montana hasn’t had an individual champion in three years in the Big Sky.
Lamb also contributed to the Men’s 4x400 relay team by running the second leg. Callum Macnab, Lamb, Paul Johnstone, and Xavier Melice ran a time of 3:15.50, placing 1st by almost 3 seconds.
Paul Johnstone placed second in the 400 meters and seventh in the 200 meters. Johnstone was able to score the most points for the Men’s team throughout the meet. He collected 12.5 points out of the 60 scored by Montana.
The Women’s team was highlighted by senior, June Eastwood, who took first place in the mile. She entered the race as the favorite to win and proved it, as she ran her second-fastest time of the year with a 4:50.28. When Eastwood was handed the baton on the final leg of the 4x400 race, her team was in 7th place but when the race finished, Eastwood passed multiple runners to increase her team’s place to second.
Another standout of the championship was runner Emily Pettis. She placed 3rd in the 3000-meter race after dealing with back injuries for the past two years. Olivia Ellis was also able to place 4th in the 60-meter hurdles by shaving two-tenths of a second off her prelim time.
In the throwing events, Montana didn't disappoint either. All three of the Men’s shot put team placed in the top nine. This includes Brent Yeakey, who broke the school record with a throw of 59-0.75. The record was previously 57-8.5, set by Paul Pallas in 1992. Yeakey placed fourth, due to a very tough conference for throwing this year.
The track season is not over though. The outdoor section is just starting for each team. The next meet Montana will compete in is the Al Manuel Northwest Invite, which will be held in Missoula on March 27th and 28th.