Griz-Cat Dual gets early start with multi-events

Cassius Ehlers was a Big Sky qualifier in the 200 meters last weekend

Cassius Ehlers was a Big Sky qualifier in the 200 meters last weekend

April 24, 2013

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The Griz-Cat track and field dual annually provides a late-April main course. And this year it comes with an appetizer. Before Montana faces Montana State Saturday at Dornblaser Field in Missoula, the Grizzlies will host a small heptathlon and decathlon Thursday and Friday.

The multi-events are not part of the Griz-Cat dual and will not feature any Montana State athletes.

Saturday's meet will be the 31st dual between the Montana and Montana State women. The series is currently tied 15-15. It will be the 80th recorded men's dual dating back to 1906. Montana holds a 54-25 advantage.

The field events will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the women's hammer. Running events commence at noon with the women's steeplechase.

Thursday and Friday's multi-events will include just a handful of athletes, but with UM juniors Lindsey Hall and Austin Emry competing, the quality will make up for any lack of quantity.

The reason for the hastily arranged multi-events is Montana coach Brian Schweyen's desire to have Hall and Emry, both holding national-level talent but not national-level marks (yet), post point totals that will ensure their spots to nationals in June.

That would free both athletes from having to focus on performing double duty at the Big Sky outdoor championships next month in Forest Grove, Ore.: Winning Big Sky titles while also worrying about doing it with a score large enough that will get them to Eugene, Ore., site of nationals.

Hall scored 5,343 points in winning the heptathlon at UNLV earlier this month. That point total ranks 20th nationally, but with three weekends of meets still to come and only the top 24 making the cut to nationals, that mark won't stand the test of time.

A score of 5,400 almost certainly would, and that is well within the reach of Hall, who competed at nationals in 2011 and has three Big Sky multi-event titles to her credit.

Hall will be competing against freshman teammate Lindsey Dahl and junior Shayle Dezellem, who is redshirting the outdoor season. Latecia Howell is also competing, as are a couple of athletes from Eastern Washington.

The heptathlon at the Big Sky championships is shaping up to be an exciting battle between Hall, Portland State's Joenisha Vinson and Southern Utah's Shaye Maurer.

Vinson and Maurer finished first and second in the pentathlon at the indoor championships in Hall's absence while she redshirted. Hall's 5,343 point total from UNLV is just over 100 points ahead the season bests for Vinson (5,212) and Maurer (5,201).

Emry competed in the decathlon at UNLV, and he was good but not great, and great is required to qualify for nationals.

Emry will have Carroll's Steve Edmonds to compete against Thursday and Friday. He'll also have a handful of Griz track athletes, who will be in the opening day's events to get an extra shot at racing the 100 and 400 meters.

"My hope for Austin is that he comes in ready to compete and has some really solid marks across the board, with no events being down," Schweyen said. "A really solid performance. That's what I'm looking for."

The mark that currently ranks 24th in the nation is 7,078 points, but that will rise over the next three weeks to somewhere in the range of 7,400 to 7,500 points, if not higher.

Emry's career best in the decathlon is the 7,169 points he scored last May while finishing third at the Big Sky outdoor championships.

The multi-events begin at 1:30 p.m. both Thursday and Friday.

Saturday's duals both have clear-cut favorites. On paper the Montana State men and Montana women would win, but their paper-based advantages are not so large that the possibility of upsets is outside the realm of possibility.

"You never know, because I think it's pretty close on both side," Schweyen said. "Their guys have a slight edge, but if our guys do what they are capable of, it may come down to the final relay, which would be exciting.

"On the other side, our women should win, but there are no guarantees. We will still have to perform very well across the board to come out on top."

The Hot List:

* In the women's 400 meters, Kourtney Danreuther (55.02) and McKenzie Luth (55.66), both juniors, rank second and fourth in the Big Sky. Sac State sophomore Dominique Whittington has gone 54.41.

* Hall's career-best 13.71 in the 100-meter hurdles last Friday at the Mt. SAC Relays ranks third, behind Maurer's 13.61 and Sac State's Sakya Bolton's 13.47. All three times were run at the Mt. SAC Relays.

* Danreuther is still seeking her first sub-60-second 400-meter hurdles race of the year, but her season-best 1:00.50 still ranks second in the Big Sky behind Idaho State's Hayli Worthington (59.33).

* Should the women's Griz-Cat dual come down to the 4x400-meter relay, keep this in mind: Montana State (3:48.05) ranks first in the Big Sky in the event, Montana second (3:48.31).

* Gwenn Abbott's career-best 5-8.5 high jump at the Beach Invitational last Saturday ranks second behind Northern Arizona's Lauren Laszczak (5-10). Hall and MSU's Amber Amsbaugh are tied for third at 5-7, which makes Saturday's women's high jump an event to watch.

* Hall (18-11.25) and freshman Tess Brenneman (18-9) rank fourth and sixth in the Big Sky in the long jump.

* Junior Kellee Glaus (41-4.5) ranks first in the triple jump. Her protégé, freshman Samantha Evans, ranks fourth (39-2.5).

* Hall continues to lead the Big Sky in the javelin at 160-4. That's two inches farther than Weber State's Tiffany Hellstrom's season-best throw.

* Freshman Samantha Hodgson moved up to fourth in the discus with her throw of 152-5 last Saturday at Washington State. Three of the top four in the women's discus in the Big Sky are freshmen, and eight of the top 10 are underclassmen.

* Sophomore Dylan Hambright (47.72) ranks third in the men's 400 meters, which should be an exciting event at the Big Sky championships. Seven athletes now have times that sit between 47.38 and 47.99.

* Emry's 110-meter hurdles time of 14.47 at the Al Manuel Invitational is holding up at fourth on the Big Sky list.

* If everyone has a career day at the Big Sky championships, watch the men's high jump. Emry and sophomore Lee Hardt are tied atop the performance list at 7-0.5, along with Northern Colorado's Trevor Evanson. Northern Arizona's Deante Kemper is fourth at 6-11.75.

Evanson and Kemper had a scintillating head-to-head dual at the Big Sky indoor championships. Evanson won, Kemper was second, with both going 7-0.5.

* Junior Kaleb Horlick's career-best pole vault of 16-4.75 dropped down to third in the Big Sky. Idaho State's Michael Arnold continues the Bengals' tradition of dominance in the event. He has gone 17-4.5.

* Junior Lukas Scherer's javelin throw of 217-11 at the Al Manuel Invitational has been bumped down to No. 2 in the Big Sky. Sac State's Jesse Elvrom, who was second at last year's outdoor championships, threw 231-2 at Mt. SAC.

* Sophomore Brandon Forson's 168-0 in the discus ranks fifth, but he is within five-feet one-inch of leader James Kinloch of Sacramento State.



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