Emry Shatters School Heptathlon Record

By University of Montana Sports Information

Junior Austin Emry scored 5,623 points in the heptathlon Saturday at the Candy Cane V track and field meet at Cheney, Wash., and in the process broke the school record and put his name on the watch list for the multi-events at nationals.

Emry, who set or matched personal bests in five of the heptathlon’s seven events despite competing solo Friday and Saturday, eclipsed his previous best score by nearly 500 points. He also scored 145 more points than Andrew Levin did in 2004 while winning the heptathlon at the Big Sky Conference indoor championships and setting the previous school record.

Emry ran a 7.63 in the 55-meter hurdles, a PR by more than three-tenths of a second, matched his career best in the pole vault at 15-1 and ran a personal-best 2:53.00 in the 1,000 meters.

“Austin looked really good today,” UM multi-events coach Adam Bork said. “He hurdled just like he has been in practice, he looked great in the pole vault, and he ran a great 1,000 meters, which can be tough when you’re running by yourself.”

Emry’s total is the second-best heptathlon score in Big Sky Conference history, just 108 points behind the 5,731 Montana State’s Asa Staven scored to win the title at the 2012 Big Sky indoor championships, and it would have placed him 10th at the NCAA indoor championships last March.

“Austin’s training will continue, but we’ll be getting into more technique work, and he’ll get more speed work just by competing in the relays at our indoor meets,” Bork said.

Austin Emry Shatters UM Heptathlon Record. Photo courtesy of UM sports information.

“I think he can improve 50 points per event, minimum, which would get him close to 6,000 points. And you put him in a big competition like nationals and the adrenaline would add even more.”

To put 6,000 points in perspective: Duke junior Curtis Beach won the NCAA title last March with 6,138 points. Wisconsin sophomore Japheth Cato was second with 6,083. No one else broke 6,000 points at the national meet.

Once Emry had crossed the line in the 1,000 meters, the rest of the Candy Cane meet began. All six field events — the four jumps plus the weight throw and shot put — were competed, plus the 55 meters and 55-meter hurdles.

The Montana women won seven of the eight events in a meet that included just the Grizzlies and Eastern Washington. The Eagles claimed six of eight on the men’s side.

The UM women swept the running events, with redshirt freshman Morgan Braby winning the 55 meters (7.29) and senior Anika Green winning the hurdles (8.19).

The Grizzlies also took both throwing events. Senior Kiandra Rajala won the weight with a throw of 53-3.5, a career best by over two feet, and freshman Samantha Hodgson won the shot put (39-11.25).

Senior Gwenn Abbott won the high jump (5-5), junior Shayle Dezellem the long jump (17-6.25) and junior Kellee Glaus the triple jump (37-8.75).

Griz track and field coach Brian Schweyen. Photo courtesy of GoGriz.com.

On Friday Dezellem won the pentathlon with a Big Sky-qualifying mark of 3,353. In addition to winning the long jump, Dezellem also finished second to Green in the hurdles Saturday.

“Shayle had a nice weekend,” UM track and field coach Brian Schweyen said. “She had a nice performance in the pentathlon Friday, then came back and competed well today.”

Abbott and Glaus both won their events with Big Sky-qualifying marks. Sophomore Hannah Swift also qualified for the indoor championships, which will be held the final weekend of February in Bozeman, with a third-place height of 11-9.75 in the pole vault.

Emry’s heptathlon score was easily a Big Sky Conference qualifier, as were his individual marks in the 55-meter hurdles, long jump and high jump.

The only other men’s qualifier on the weekend was sophomore Lee Hardt, who claimed both of the men’s wins on the day, in the high jump and triple jump.

Hardt won the high jump with a qualifying height of 6-8.75, and he claimed the triple jump with a PR of 44-8.25, three inches shy of the qualifying standard.

“Lee competed well today, and that was nice to see,” said Schweyen, who added that Hardt was clear of 6-10.75 in the high jump before clipping the bar with his heels.

The men’s team had five freshmen who were competing at the collegiate level for the first time. All impressed Schweyen, particularly Missoula’s Austin Lindquist, who finished second to Eastern’s Nick Stearns in both the preliminaries and finals of the hurdles.

“Austin really stuck out to me today,” Schweyen said. “He really got himself ready to run and compete.

“I wasn’t sure what we were going to get out of the freshmen, but they surprised me with how well they did. Actually the entire team did better than expected. We had a lot of nice performances.”

Montana will not be in action again until its multi-event athletes compete at Montana State Jan. 7-8.

Montana Sports Information  —  GoGriz.com