Colyer named Big Sky Conference's co-Track Athlete of the Week

Reagan Colyer - File photo
Reagan Colyer
— image credit: File photo

MISSOULA, MONT. — Reagan Colyer earned her first Big Sky Conference Track Athlete of the Week award Feb. 18 after her performance in the 800 meters for the University of Montana track team in January.

Colyer, a freshman and 2013 graduate of North Kitsap High School, ran an adjusted 2:08.25 in the 800 meters. Her raw time of 2:08.96 improved upon her school record by 2.08 seconds, kept her atop the Big Sky Conference and moved her up to 53rd in the nation.

She shared the athlete of the week award with Weber State senior Amber Henry, who ran a 9:22.24 for the 3,000 meters at Ames, Iowa recently.

Coyler never raced the 800 meters before Jan. 17. Not just collegiately, but in her life.

“I ran the mile twice my senior year, but the rest of my high school career I ran the 100- and 300-meter hurdles and the 4x100 and 4x400 relays,” she said. “My events never went over 400 meters.”

Colyer’s latent talents in the distance races started showing themselves last fall during Montana’s cross country season. She finished first on the team at four of the Grizzlies’ final five races.

“The cross country season went great, so I totally trusted [coaches Collin Fehr and Vicky Pounds],” Coyler said. “I came into the indoor season with the mindset that I would do whatever they told me to do.

“It’s been a lot of new stuff, but it’s been a lot of fun.”

Colyer ran an adjusted 2:14.17 on Jan. 17 in her first career 800 meters, then a week later ran a 2:10.32. Her raw time of 2:11.04 in that race broke the Montana record in the event that had stood since 1989.

“I never really realized there was much strategy to the 800,” Colyer said. “I didn’t really know there was a specific way to run the race, so having Vicky [Pounds] for a coach, who specialized in the 800, has just been awesome.

“Going into every race she’s given me a new strategy to work on, and it’s things I would never have thought to do by myself. Where to push harder, where to float. It’s been a total learning experience for me.”

Pounds was a 14-time All-American at Alabama and had a collegiate best of 2:03.40, so Colyer still has a ways to go to eclipse Pounds, but it’s hard to ignore the trend of faster times: 2:14.17 ... 2:10.32 ... 2:08.25.

On Feb. 14 Colyer lined up against MSU’s Kaylee Schmitz, Danreuther and the Bobcats’ Christie Schiel. By the end of the race, Coyler (2:08.25) and Schmitz (2:08.63) had adjusted times under 2:09 and Danreuther (2:10.10) and Schiel (2:10.89) were under 2:11.

Danreuther’s raw time of 2:10.82 would have broken the Montana record from 1989 had Colyer not gotten to it first. And then sliced off another two-plus seconds on Friday.

“I went out a little more conservatively (than when I raced my 2:10) and was able to hold it a lot better,” said Colyer, who ranks eighth in the Big Sky in the mile at 4:55.79. “I got into a good pace early in the race and was able to hold it better until my kick at the end. That was my best race, tactically.”

Colyer will be off until the Big Sky Conference indoor championships, which will be held Feb. 27 through March 1 at Pocatello, Idaho.

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