(Editor’s note: Montana State University media release)

BOZEMAN – The Montana State track and field team has received eight National Letters of Intent from future Bobcats during the regular signing period, which began on April 12, MSU head coach Dale Kennedy announced Tuesday. Two more are also set to join the squad from the college ranks after signing financial aid agreements going into the 2017-18 academic year.

Five of the additions originally are natives of Montana. Multiple state championship titles have been produced from the eight who have signed NLIs.

Riley Collins | Bozeman, Mont. | Bozeman HS | Distance

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Bozeman native Riley Collins comes up the road from Bozeman High School after completing a stellar prep career for the Hawks. Collins had several achievements in cross country and on the track, with his greatest notoriety coming in the fall. Collins was a member of Bozeman’s squad that finished first at the Nike Cross Nationals meet in Portland in December, helping guide the school to a national championship. He finished 56th overall at the meet and third in Bozeman’s lineup, while he also took 25th individually the meet before on the Hawks’ regional championship team. He also finished a career-best 43rd at the Nike Nationals as a junior.

Collins has seen success at the MHSA state level, serving as a member of three consecutive cross country Class AA state championship teams. He led the Hawks to the team crown as a sophomore by taking third at the Class AA meet with a time of 15:37.3. Collins again finished third as a junior (15:03.8) then placed fourth as a senior (15:11.1), a year in which he won the Sunfair Invite and Helena Meet.

He has continued to shine during the spring campaign on the track and field team. Focusing on distance events, Collins finished fourth in back-to-back years in the 800-meter run at the MHSA Class AA championships. He placed fifth and sixth in the mile as a sophomore and junior, respectively, along with taking sixth and ninth in the 3,200 in consecutive years. Collins also racked up seven top-four finishes at divisionals over his high school tenure.

“He’s an outstanding student. He has developed well (in the distance group) and comes from a team that has had a lot of success,” said cross country head coach and assistant track coach Lyle Weese. “We’re really excited about him, he seemed to fit in well with our group of guys and they really welcomed him. He has a wide range, he’s competed from 800 meters up to cross country. We will work through it and see what his best event will be and what he wants to pursue at the collegiate level.”

Brandon Hough | Dana Point, Calif. | Dana Point HS | Distance

Brandon Hough is a 2017 graduate and three-time letterwinner in cross country and track from Dana Hills High School. Hough participated at the Nike Cross Nationals in December, finishing 57th overall, an improvement of 20 spots from his first appearance at the meet as a junior. He earned a career-best 13th-place finish at the CIF State Cross Country Championships as a senior behind a lifetime-best mark of 15:31.4, one week after taking 14th in Dana Hills’ CIF-SS Division Finals. Hough made three appearances at the cross country state championships and was a multiple-year selection to his all-league team.

Hough also participated on the Dana Hills High track and field team. He was a member of two teams that finished runner-up at its respective state meet and one third-place finisher. As a junior, Hough earned five-top finishes in the 3,200. He continued to improve as a senior, placing second in the CIF-SS Division I Finals. He placed first in the event twice this past season and racked up six top-three finishes in event during the year. Hough also competed in the 800 and 1,600. An Honor Roll member, Scholar of Scholars in cross country and Eagle Scout, Hough plans to major in computer engineering when he attends Montana State.

“Brandon is an incredible student which is exciting,” Weese said. “He loves the longer events, so in college he’ll excel in cross country along with the 5K and 10K. I think he’ll really embrace those events and once you do you can have great success in them. He has a very good 3,200 time of 9:11 which is a solid high school mark.”

Maddie Lee | Oconomowoc, Wis. | Oconomowoc HS | Mid-Distance

Maddie Lee is a 2017 graduate of Oconomowoc High School in Wisconsin. Lee placed third at the WIAA DI State Track and Field meet in the 800 with a time of 2:13.94 as a senior, a three-second improvement from her previous lifetime best. She’s been a versatile athlete for the Racoons, competing in the 400, 800, mile high jump and relay events.

Lee earned all-conference each year of her prep career, beginning with a 4×400 relay appearance as a freshman. She made her first appearance at the state meet on her squad’s 4×800 relay team as a sophomore, while winning a conference title indoors that season in the 4×400. She also finished runner-up in the 800 at the Wisconsin Little Ten Conference meet. She won her first individual WLT Conference crown in the indoor 800 as a junior while taking fourth in the 1,600 at the same meet, all helping her advance to her first state appearance individually. She continued her success as a senior by earning multiple first-place finishes throughout the year, along with winning a conference championship in the 400 (58.72). She currently is the school’s record holder in the 400 and 800.

Lee participated on the Oconomowac cross country team, earning first team all-conference honors for two straight years. She finished runner-up at her conference meet as a senior, then completed a personal-best time of 18:47.6 in a third-place showing to advance to the Wisconsin State Championships. A National Honor Society member, Scholar Athlete and member of the Rho Kappa Society, Lee plans to major in biology at Montana State.

“She was interested in MSU because of the pre-vet program,” Weese said. “She contacted me quite a bit and as I looked at her profile I noticed she ran really well at 400 meters, and they actually compete in the 600 meters as well, and she had a good time in that event. I think she’s someone that can really excel at 800 meters and the mile at the collegiate level. We’re really excited because she’s a great student, has really good speed for a distance runner and really wants to be here at MSU.”

Samantha Kelderman | Issaquah, Wash. | Liberty HS | Distance

Samantha Kelderman completed her prep career at Liberty High School as a four-time letterwinner in cross country and track and field. Kelderman qualified for the Class AA cross country state meet on two occasions individually, finishing a career-best 12th place as a senior following her top district-meet finish of fifth. She served as a team captain in 2016 and was honored with the team’s Coach’s Award. She participated as a member of a state championship team her junior year, while also serving on the squad’s runner-up finish in 2016 and third-place team in 2014.

Kelderman advanced to Washington’s AA state track and field meet as a senior and placed fourth in the 3,200 and ninth in the 1,600. During the season, she earned a total of five top-three finishes including winning the 3,200 at the Arnie Young Invite and improving her personal record by over 30 seconds in the mile run. She capped her Liberty High tenure as a two-year captain on the girls’ basketball team and earned honorable mention all-league accolades each season. She was awarded the Rotary International Club’s Liberty High School Athlete of the Year. A Rotary Interaction Club in Science Student of the Month Award recipient and AAUW Award honoree, Kelderman plans to study chemical engineering at Montana State.

“What stands out about her is that she came for an unofficial visit and at the time her PR’s weren’t what it took to be at the Division I level,” Weese said. “She asked what she needed to run, I told her some times and she went out and did it this spring. Then she went faster than those times. She’s had an incredible improvement, her 3,200 time is really solid, especially for someone like her that played other sports. For her to run 10:52 in her first year of concentrating and being healthy for track was exciting.

Brookelyn Palin | Corvallis, Mont. | Corvallis HS | Throws

A 2017 graduate from Corvallis High School, Brookelyn Palin joins Montana State as a four-time letterwinner for the Blue Devils. Palin completed her prep career with a third-place finish in the discus at the MHSA State Class A Championships, along with a fifth-place showing in the shot put that came in a lifetime best effort (37-05). Palin won a divisional title in the discus with her personal-best mark of 149-04. That throw set a school record and was the top mark among high schoolers in the event in the entire state of Montana in 2017. She won the discus four times and had 11 top-three finishes.

Palin advanced to the state meet on four occasions, earning an individual best runner-up in the discus as a junior. She won the division title in the discus three consecutive years and accumulated over 20 event victories during her time at Corvallis. An Honor Roll member, High Honors graduate and vice president of her school’s National Honor Society, Palin plans to pursue a degree in cell biology and neuroscience.

“Corvallis has an outstanding track and field program and we are excited to add one of their throwers to our team,” said assistant track and field coach Jennifer Allen. It is obvious in Brookelyn’s throwing technique that she has had excellent coaching in high “school and has worked hard to achieve what she has. We are excited to add her drive and competitiveness to the team and to continue to build on her already solid throwing foundation.”

Parker Walton | Post Falls, Idaho | Post Falls HS | Sprints

Parker Walton was a four-time letterwinner in track and field, along with multiple letterwinner in football, at Post Falls High School. Walton made three trips to the IHSAA 5A Track and Field State Championships. He set lifetime bests at the state meet in the 400 and 200 as a senior, winning the 400 with a time of 48.33 and placing third in the 200 (21.76). Walton broke school records in the 200, 400 and the 4×200 as a senior and racked up seven event victories.

Walton had success as an underclassmen, being named Team MVP and the Most Improved Athlete as both a junior and sophomore. He originally set his first school record in the 400 as a junior and eventually earned fourth at the state meet in the 400. Walton finished no worse than fourth in the 400 that season and also earned four runner-up finishes.

The Post Falls graduate was a two-time all-league wide receiver for the Trojans. He plans to pursue a degree in psychology.

“Him going 48.33 and 21.76 at the state meet was absolutely awesome improvement for him,” Kennedy said. “It really demonstrates that he’s a guy that can come in and compete in the Big Sky right away. It’s not going to be just a development thing for him. I think he’ll come in and help us instantly. We’re certainly excited about how much he improved from his junior year to his senior year.”

Joby Rosenleaf | Butte, Mont. | Butte HS | Mid-Distance

Joby Rosenleaf graduated from Butte High School in 2017 as a versatile athlete for the Bulldogs. Rosenleaf competed in the 800, mile and two-mile races during the MHSA State Class AA meet. She completed lifetime bests in all three, finishing fifth in the 1,600 (5:08.29), sixth in the 3,200 (11:19.90) and ninth in the 800 (2:19.39).

Rosenleaf’s previous best performance at the state meet came in a 10th-place showing as a sophomore in the 3,200. She racked up over 10 event victories during her prep career for Butte, including 11 top-five finishes as a sophomore.

Rosenleaf also participated on the Bulldogs’ cross country team. She competed at the state meet all four years at Butte, completing her senior campaign by taking 18th at the Class AA meet. She finished second at the Great Falls Invite and placed sixth behind a personal-best time of 18:00.0 at the Butte Invite. Rosenleaf currently plans to study health and human performance at MSU.

“I noticed her name in results, but coach (Tom) Eitel’s daughter raced her a bunch so I heard a lot about Joby and how she’d go out aggressive and was tough,” Weese said. “I started to follow her more and she ran some big PRs this spring between the 800, 1,600 and 3,200. Joby is an outstanding student and received the MUS Honors Scholarship.”

Evan Duggan | Darby, Mont. | Darby HS | Distance

Evan Duggan is a 2017 graduate of Darby High School that brings multiple state titles to Bozeman. Duggan has accumulated six MHSA Class C titles, impressively sweeping the distance events (cross country, mile, two-mile) over his junior and senior seasons.

The Darby native, which earned the Kiwanis All-Valley Class C Award as a senior, has shown his versatility since the start of his prep career.

Duggan began to see success his sophomore campaign by finishing runner-up at the Class C state cross country championship while helping his team take third place. He continued to show improvement heading into the spring, taking second in the 3,200 (10:11.07) at the state track and field meet and seventh in the 1,600. He won his first gold medal as a junior and launched his roll over Class C by earning back-to-back titles in the three-mile cross country during the fall, along with the 1,600 and 3,200 finals in the spring. He crossed the finish line first in 15 races as a senior and 10 times as a junior in track and field. Duggan plans to study neurology while at Montana State.

“He is the type of high school athlete that has come to MSU and had a lot of success. He’s from a smaller school, he’s won a lot of state championships and he’s use to winning. Those are the types of athletes that have done really well at MSU,” said Weese.

Two more have signed financial aid agreements that previously have competed at the Division I level. Anna French and Isabella Pape are set to compete for the Bobcats beginning this fall.

Anna French | Plymouth, Minn. | Wayzata HS | Distance | Sophomore (West Viriginia)

Anna French joins the Bobcats after two years in Morgantown as a part of the West Virginia cross country and track and field programs. French placed 47th overall as a freshman in 2015 at the NCAA Cross Country Mid-Atlantic Regional and was an Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team member. She competed in three cross country meets during the 2015-16 calendar year. She redshirted for the Mountaineers during that year’s indoor and outdoor track and field seasons, then didn’t compete in 2016-17.

French was a highly decorated runner out of Wayzata High School in Plymouth, Minn. She placed 19th, eighth and 34th in consecutive years at the Nike Nationals Cross Country Meet. She was a three-time all-state honoree for the Trojans, while serving as a member of two state championship teams (2012, 2014) and one Nike Nationals champion (2013). She was a conference and section champion three consecutive years during her prep career, finishing as high as seventh at the MSHSL Class 2A meet. She also served as team captain her senior cross country season. She is majoring in conservation biology and ecology.

Said Weese: “Anna is spectacular in the classroom with a 4.0 GPA through high school and her first two years of college. She was an outstanding high school distance athlete, especially in cross country. She placed eighth at the Nike Nationals meet which means she was one of the best in the country. She was really attracted to Montana State because of the availability of cross country ski trails to supplement her training with low impact Nordic skiing.

Isabella Pape | Corvallis, Mont. | Corvallis HS | Distance | Sophomore (Wyoming)

Isabella Pape joins the Bobcat cross country and track and field squads after attending the University of Wyoming for two years. Pape competed in two seasons for the Cowgirls in cross country. She raced in five races for Wyoming in 2016, including Montana State’s Bozeman Running Co. Invitational. Her time of 17:29 would have placed second in the Bobcat lineup. Her top finish as Cowgirl came in her freshman season when she finished 15th overall and as Wyoming’s second-best finisher in 2015 at the Rocky Mountain Shootout.

Pape redshirted the indoor and outdoor track and field 2015-16 seasons, then did not compete this past spring.

Pape was a four-time letterwinner in cross country and track and field at Corvallis High School. A member of four MHSA Class A State Championship teams, Pape won the 1,600 race as a junior. She also had two runner-up showings at the Class A meet as a sophomore. She wrapped up her career at Corvallis by earning all-state honors in track on four occasions and all-state honors in cross country three times. She will be majoring in animal science at MSU.

“It’s exciting to get someone that has collegiate experience; someone that ran well at our home cross country meet last fall. She is a native Montanan that really wanted to be back in Montana and closer to home,” said Weese.

2017-18 Montana State Men’s Track & Field/Cross Country Additions (updated as of June 12)
*Chris Bianchini | Snohomish, Wash. | Glacier Peak HS | Mid-Distance
^ Riley Collins | Bozeman, Mont. | Bozeman HS | Distance
^ Evan Duggan | Darby, Mont. | Darby HS | Distance
^ Brandon Hough | Dana Point, Calif. | Dana Point HS | Distance
^ Parker Walton | Post Falls, Idaho | Post Falls HS | Sprints
*Fall 2016 NLI Signee, ^Spring 2017 NLI Signee

2017-18 Montana State Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country Additions (updated as of June 12)
* Trisha Carlson | Great Falls, Mont. | Charles M. Russell HS | Distance/Mid-Distance
* Morgan Evans | Great Falls, Mont. | Great Falls HS | Sprints
# Anna French | Plymouth, Minn. | Wayzata HS | Distance | Sophomore (West Viriginia)
^ Samantha Kelderman | Issaquah, Wash. | Liberty HS | Distance
^ Maddie Lee | Oconomowoc, Wis. | Oconomowoc HS | Mid-Distance
* Molly MacDonald | Missoula, Mont. | Missoula Sentinel HS | Distance
* Rachael McGree | Butte, Mont. | Butte Central Catholic HS | Jumps
^ Brookelyn Palin | Corvallis, Mont. | Corvallis HS | Throws
# Isabella Pape | Corvallis, Mont. | Corvallis HS | Distance | Sophomore (Wyoming)
^ Joby Rosenleaf | Butte, Mont. | Butte HS | Mid-Distance
* Jaycie Schmalz | Hamilton, Mont. | Hamilton HS | Distance

*Fall 2016 NLI Signee, ^Spring 2017 NLI Signee, #Signed Financial Aid Agreement

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