ASUZA, Calif. — The Montana track and field teams capped their week in California on Friday with the final day of the Bryan Clay Invitational.
Perhaps no performance was bigger than Dylan Kipp in the javelin, who established a lifetime best with a second-place finish (191 feet, 11 inches). Right behind the junior transfer from Ashland University was his Griz teammate Jensen Lillquist, who placed third out of 43 throwers (189-0).
Lillquist led for the first two rounds, and still finished third, despite throwing nearly 25 feet below his season best. Kipp took the lead after the fifth throw, with his PR, before New Mexico's Beau Clafton won the event on his sixth and final throw. Both Grizzlies were within five feet of the top distance.
The javelin has been one of Montana's biggest strengths in recent memory, with the Grizzlies winning the event at the last three Big Sky Championships, including twice by Lillquist.
The women have been equally impressive in the javelin, and that was again the case on Friday behind Kimberly Earhart (141-10, 12th out of 42), Zena Smith (134-9, 18th) and Darby Henthorn (132-4, 21st). Montana was one of two schools to have three throwers finish in the upper half.
Montana also had strong performances in the high jump.
Jane Booth was one of six jumpers to reach 5-7.25 in the women's event, tying for first and eventually finishing fourth out of 57 jumpers via a jump off. Matt Quist cleared 6-7, placing 11th out of 54.
Other highlights from the field events included Carla Nicosia, who despite being seeded in the bottom third of the 64-jumper event, placed 22nd overall in the triple jump with a lifetime-best jump of 38-8.75.
A day after competing at Long Beach State, throwers Holly Houston and Hana Feilzer were back in action in the discus. Out of 43 total throwers, both Grizzlies finished in the top nine. Houston was in ninth place going into her final throw, before recording a season-best 154-8 on her final attempt, to jump up to fifth. Feilzer's final throw was also her best, placing ninth (149-2).
Brent Yeakey, who also performed well Thursday at Long Beach State, placed 11th out of 49 throwers in the shot put (53-2.75) and 22nd out of 40 in the discus (141-11).
While the majority of the highlights came in the field, Montana also had several strong performances on the track.
Olivia Ellis had a busy day, competing in both hurdles and coming in 10th out of 62 athletes in the 400-meter hurdles (season-best 1 minute, 1.27 seconds). Montana's male sprinters were also busy. Freshman Xavier Melice competed in the 200 meters, 400 meters and both relays; Paul Johnstone, Callum Macnab and Sterling Reneau competed in three of those four events.
In the 200 meters, all four Montana runners placed in the upper half, led by Melice's career-best 21.46 (17th). Montana was one of three schools to have a pair of athletes rank in the top quarter of the 400 meters, including Johnstone (48.25, 18th) and Reneau (48.46, 23rd).
The Grizzlies had plenty of success in the relays, as well, with Montana finishing in the upper third of both events and placing fourth out of 18 teams in the 4x400 (3:13.63).
The evening concluded with the women's 1,500 meters. Senior Maryn Lowry posted a lifetime best in the event, clocking a 4:24.72 and finishing in the upper quarter of an event that featured nearly 200 runners. Lowry's previous season best of 4:26.52 was already the best time in the Big Sky this season. Sophomore Madeline Hamilton also had a PR in the 1,500 meters (4:32.71). Additionally, Carly Smiedala placed 33rd out of 126 runners in the 800 meters, posting a season-best time of 2:10.13.