Griz add six qualifiers on day one of Mountain States Games

The University of Montana indoor track and field teams added six new Big Sky Conference qualifiers and had one individual champion on the opening night of the Mountain States Games Friday in Pocatello, Idaho. Day two of the two-day meet starts at 10 a.m. Saturday with the resumption of the men's heptathlon. The men's and women's 1,600-meter relays conclude the meet mid-afternoon.

Qualifying Friday were seniors Baily Cox in the long jump, Megan McKinnie in the pentathlon and Levi Zell in the pole vault, sophomores Megan Betz in the pentathlon and Chris Hellekson in the weight throw and freshman Christian Segota in the high jump.

Senior Curtis Bean won the weight throw with a career-best effort of 59-7. That improved upon his previous BSC qualification of 59-2.25, which he threw last weekend at Moscow, Idaho.

Betz and McKinnie finished seventh and 11th, respectively, in the pentathlon, with Betz scoring a career-best 3,239 points and McKinnie totaling 3,101 points.

Betz had indoor career-bests in four of the five pentathlon events, posting a 9.53 in the 60-meter hurdles (to place 10th in that event), 5-3.25 in the high jump (tied for sixth), 16-1.5 in the long jump (14th) and 2:37.97 in the 800 meters (12th). Betz had the third-best shot put of the day, reaching 34-3.5.

McKinnie tied for 14th in the 60-meter hurdles (career-best 9.64), tied for 15th in the high jump (4-8.25), finished ninth in the shot put (31-11.25), placed 14th in the long jump (16-5.75) and came in sixth in the 800 meters (2:29.55) to eclipse the qualifying standard by a single point.

Cox and junior Amber Aikins also competed in the pentathlon Friday, but neither finished the multi-events. Cox, who is the Montana school record-holder in the pentathlon and already qualified for the Big Sky meet with a season- and Big Sky-best total of 3,676, did not start the final event, the 800 meters.

Aikins did not start the 800 meters either, passing on the final event after no-heighting in the high jump.

Cox had a qualifying mark in the long jump as part of the pentathlon, jumping 18-5 to finish second in that event.

Aikins improved upon her previous 60-meter hurdle qualifying time of 9.17 when she ran a 9.05 as part of the pentathlon. That time placed third overall. Aikins then improved upon that time when she ran a career-best 8.89 in the 60-meter hurdle preliminaries, placing fourth, to advance to Saturday's final.

Zell qualified for his sixth Big Sky Conference championships when he tied for sixth in the pole vault with a height of 15-6.25, meeting the qualifying standard of 15-6 by a quarter inch.

Hellekson, who is already qualified in the shot put, added the weight throw to his qualifying events, placing fourth behind Bean with a throw of 53-2.

Segota qualified for the high jump, hitting 6-5.5 in the event as part of the heptathlon.

Segota sits in third after day one of the heptathlon with 2,770 points. Sophomore Chris Hicks is in sixth place with 2,589 points. Both are chasing Idaho State's Levi Keller, who leads after day one's four events with 2,972 points.

Segota placed second in both the high jump and long jump (22-1.75). He was fourth in the 60 meters (7.39) and ninth in the shot put (33-1).

Hicks had his best finish in the shot put, placing fifth at 36-7.75. Hicks finished sixth in the long jump (20-11.75), seventh in the high jump (5-11.5) and eighth in the 60 meters (7.49).

In preliminary action Friday, senior Loni Perkins-Judisch advanced in the 200 meters, running a career-best 24.58 to post the day's fastest time.

Junior James Brown and senior Cody Henning each advanced in both the 60 and 200 meters.

Brown tied for ninth in the 60 meters in 7.13 and finished fourth in the 200 meters in 21.98.

Henning tied for 11th in the 60 meters in 7.15 and tied for 10th in the 200 meters in 22.47.

Freshman Kyle Danreuther advanced in the 60-meter hurdles, finishing the preliminaries in 11th place with a time of 8.65.


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