HELENA – Harry Clark only gets two chances to see his Carroll College track and field program in its hometown. The Fighting Saints host the second of their two invitationals on Friday at the Trudnowski Open.
“Our kids are excited to compete at home one more time,” Clark said. “We love our fans, and with the familiarity of our home track we hope to again hit great marks and set us up for a strong run during our final stretch.”
Carroll currently has 12 different marks ranked in the top 20 nationally, including a pair of performances from runner Leah Esposito and multi-event athlete Crystal Schmidt. Esposito currently ranks sixth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and tenth in the 1,500-meter run. Schmidt’s high jump of five feet, five inches is tied for a top 10 position, while her havelin throw of 134 feet, two inches ranks the same.
11 Carroll College seniors will be honored on Friday. They are the most decorated class in program history, with four individual national titles and numerous all-Americans. Clark knows the impact each has had on the success of the team.
“These seniors helped turn this program from just a few runners into a national champion contender and did it in a very short time,” Clark said. “As we continue to build Carroll track and recruit at a very high level, we can look at this group and a few before and after as the ones that helped us establish the tone of the program.”
Kara Barth and Monica White are each ranked in the top 20 in the women’s 400-meter run and the Saints boast the No. 15 short relay squad. Basketball player-turned-track athlete Mika Robinson is tied for No. 12 in the pole vault (11 feet, 9.75 inches) while distance standout Janie Reid’s half marathon time of 1:27:01.04 at the Buttercup in Arlee is good for top 10 in the country.
On the men’s side, defending NAIA national javelin champion David Barnett is currently in the top six in the country with a heave of 189 feet. Fellow football teammate Chris Emter, who holds the Montana Class A shot put record, is in the top 20 in the event with a put of 51 feet, 1.5 inches. Helena’s own Layne Ryerson is No. 13 in the men’s half marathon after posting a time of 1:11:28.23 last weekend.
Friday’s meet will begin at noon with a mixed 10,000-meter run. Field events begin at 12:30 p.m. at Vigilante Stadium, while the remainder of the track events start at 1 p.m.