Montana State Sports Information release

BOZEMAN, Mont. – Montana State closed out the Early Signing Period with ten submitting their National Letters of Intent to join the Bobcat track and field program announced head coach Dale Kennedy on Thursday, Nov. 16.

Each event group had multiple athletes sign before the period deadline on Wednesday. Duncan Hamilton, Isaac Schmidt and Cooper West all will join the MSU distance group headed by assistant coach Lyle Weese. Madison Brockel and Alex Veltkamp are slated to join the Bobcat sprints led by Kennedy. Henry Adams and Elena Carter will work with the jumps crew under the direction of assistant Tom Eitel. Jordan Fink, Josh Mertz and Ethan Saberhagen will compete in the throws and be coached by assistant Jennifer Allen.

Seven of the 10 student-athletes that committed to the Bobcats are Montana natives.

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“Our coaches have done a really outstanding job of recruiting,” Kennedy said. “Lyle landed three of the best distance runners in the state and I think we got two of the best sprinters in the state. Jen Allen has done a terrific job with her group and Tom has found two athletes that should make an impact.

“We have an in-state flavor and we’ve always taken great pride in recruiting the best kids in the state of Montana. I think we’ve taken a step in the right direction and there’s still some kids out there yet that are Montana kids or in the bordering states that we’ll look at. We’re not done, but we’ve got off to a great start. I thought last year was really good because we recruited a record number of kids a year ago, and we went beyond that this year.”

Duncan Hamilton | Bozeman, Mont. | Bozeman HS | Distance | Engineering
Hamilton is a four-time letterwinner in cross country and three-time letterwinner in track and field. Hamilton recently completed his final season of cross country for Bozeman High, helping lead the Hawks to their 10th consecutive MHSA AA State Championship. His season was capped by a second straight runner-up individual finish at the Class AA meet along with a second-place finish at the Nike Northwest Regional Championships with a personal-best time in the 5K of 15 minutes, 16.9 seconds.

The Bozeman native was a varsity scorer in every cross country race during his prep career. He holds the school record in the 5K after a senior year in which out of the seven meets he competed in, he finished second in five, third at one and first at the Great Falls Invitational. Prior to this fall, He placed sixth at the Nike Northwest Regional as a junior and eventually was Bozeman’s second-best finisher on its National Championship-winning team in 2016. Hamilton has been a two-time team captain, MVP Award, Consistency Award and Newcomer Award honoree for the Hawks. He made four appearances at the state meet in cross country and advanced to the state track and field meet on two occasions, finishing a personal-best eighth in the 3,200 as a junior at the Class AA meet.

Hamilton has been successful in the classroom as well. He is a member of National Honor Society, Boy Scouts of America, Engineering Club and has a weighted 4.227 GPA as of the end of his junior academic year.

Distance Coach Lyle Weese on Hamilton
“He will be a great addition in cross country as well as be able to run well at the collegiate level right away. He had a great senior cross country season and he recently finished second at the Nike Regional meet. That’s just a great performance because he was the second-best runner among five states. It just shows where he’s at in his level of ability.”

Isaac Schmidt | Missoula, Mont. | Missoula Hellgate HS | Distance
Schmidt put together his best cross country finish at the MHSA Class AA State Championships this fall when he finished in a career-best fourth with a time of 16:05.9. His senior campaign featured eight meets for Hellgate High, with seven of those ending in top-four finishes. Schmidt also placed first in three of those meets for the Knights including the Bozeman Invitational on Sept. 9. He recently competed in the Nike Northwest Regional Championships where he finished 23rd in the 5K race.

As a junior last spring, Schmidt advanced to the State Class AA Track and Field Championships in both the 3,200 and 1,600. He finished fifth and sixth, respectively, at the state meet in the events. He also earned a ninth-place showing at the cross country state meet as a junior behind a personal-best time of 15:27.5. He placed in the top four in five of seven cross country meets and also earned seven top-three finishes in track.

Schmidt advanced to the state cross country meet all four years of his prep career and has qualified for the Class AA track meet on three occasions heading into his senior slate.

Distance Coach Lyle Weese on Schmidt
“Isaac is not afraid to work really hard, to put in the miles and to really challenge himself. You can even see the passion that he has for running just when you watch him race from a distance. He’ll bring great work ethic and ability to the team.”

Cooper West | Great Falls, Mont. | Charles M. Russell HS | Distance | Engineering
West earned his first individual state title this fall for Charles M. Russell High when he crossed the line in 15:31.9 at the MHSA AA State Cross Country Championship. It capped a successful senior cross country campaign for the Rustlers that featured five first-place finishes and a sixth-place showing at the opening Bozeman Invitational. West served as a team captain for CMR this year while he also competed at the Nike Northwest Regional Championships where he placed 12th overall.

A four-time letterwinner in cross country and three-time honoree in track, West advanced to the state meet in cross country each season of his prep career and also has advanced to the state track meet on two occasions. West previously placed 10th at the cross country Class AA meet as a junior and earned four top-five finishes that season. He competed at the Northwest Regional that year and won his opening cross country appearance at the Great Falls Invite. His track career was highlighted last spring by a fourth-place finish in the 3,200 at the state meet and he has qualified in both high school distance events the previous two years.

West earned his cross country team’s overall top runner award three times. He is a four-year honor roll recipient at CMR. He continues a Blue and Gold lineage on the Bobcat track and field program, with his older sister Keely having previously competed for MSU.

Distance Coach Lyle Weese on West
“It’s very exciting that Cooper will be a Bobcat. His parents have always been supportive of us and we had an awesome experience having Keely as a student-athlete here. He’ll be able to contribute in cross country right away and on the track as well. He’s having an incredible senior season. He was a pretty dominant runner in the second half of his cross country season this fall, which is somewhat unusual just because of how strong the boys distance runners have been in the state of Montana.”

Madisen Brockel | Billings, Mont. | Billings West HS | Sprints | Pre-Med
Brockel heads into her senior campaign for Billings West High with plenty of accolades throughout her prep career. Brockel is a three-time MHSA State Class AA champion individually in the 200 as well as in the 4×100 as the anchor leg for the Golden Bears. She also has earned two state titles in the 100 and one in the 4×400 relay her sophomore season.

Brockel’s success at the high school level continued as a junior. She finished first all nine times that she competed in the 200 and all five times in the 400 during the season. Along with third consecutive titles in the 200 and 4×100 relay, Brockel picked up her first gold medal in the 400 and also finished runner-up in the 100 and 4×400 relay. She captured personal-best times in the 100, 200 and 400 during the 2017 schedule to go along with the 4×100 relay all-class record time of 48.18 she helped set.

The Billing West sprinter has captured a total of 10 state championships and earned the fastest time among competitors in a variety of events over 40 times up this point in her prep tenure. Brockel has been named an Academic All-State recipient, Big Bears MVP for track and earned the team’s Top Sprinter Award on three occasions each. She’s earned multiple letters in track and soccer and is a member of Honor Roll, National Honor Society, Key Club and HOSA.

Sprints and Head Coach Dale Kennedy on Brockel
“She has great range from 100 meters up to 400 meters. She had the fastest 200 and second fastest 100 and 400’s in the state last year. She ran 25.06 last year and she’ll probably go well under that this year. We’re pretty excited about her because she has abilities in the short relay, long relays and the 100, 200 and 400 and has been successful.”

Alex Veltkamp | Manhattan, Mont. | Manhattan Christian HS | Sprints | Livestock Management
Veltkamp put together her best prep track season as a junior by claiming three MHSA State Class C championships for Manhattan Christian High School in 2017. Veltkamp helped the Eagles earn a second-place finish at the state meet by taking first in the 400, 800 and long jump. During her junior campaign, Veltkamp broke her own school and divisional record times in the 400 and won the event all six times she competed in it. She also competed in June at the Golden West Invitational and took first in the 800 out of 12 competitors that were from California and Nevada.

Her gold medal in the 800 was her second straight in the event, with her clinching her first state Class C title by finishing in a personal-best and school-record time of 2:17.58 as a sophomore. Veltkamp originally broke Manhattan Christian’s 400 and 800 school records in 2016. The year prior, she made her debut at the state meet when she took second in the 400 and third in the 800.

The Eagles have gotten contributions from Veltkamp in a variety of sports. She has lettered four times in volleyball, three times in track and field and basketball and once in cross country. She’s been a team captain for the basketball and volleyball teams during her prep career and has received all-state, all-conference and academic all-state recognition in three different sports. She’s currently a National Honor Society member and has been previously named a Rotary Student of the Month honoree.

Sprints and Head Coach Dale Kennedy on Veltkamp
“She’s an all-around athlete who’s participated in a wide-range of sports which I think spells for a higher level when she begins to specialize in track. Her all-around athletic ability will translate into a really good long sprint specialist down the road. I see her primarily in the 400 or 800. She can be a lot like a McKenna Ramsay or Taylor Buschy in that they have good sprint abilities and she will definitely be part of the relays. You look at the state meet deep list, you can see that she had the best quarter mile in the state at a little class C school. I think it says a lot about her and how good she can be.”

Henry Adams | Edina, MN | Edina HS | Jumps/Hurdles
Adams had a strong senior campaign while competing for the Edina Hornets in Edina, Minn. Adams capped his prep career in 2017 by earning a state title behind a personal-best and school-record time of 14.07 in the 110 hurdles in a class division that features the largest schools in Minnesota. He finished first in the event 10 of 11 times he competed in it. Adams also participated at the 6AA Section Chamionships in the 4×100 relay and 4×200 relay for the Hornets, helping Edina finish fifth and second in the events, respectively. He individually picked up a Section 6AA title in the 110 hurdles along with in the pole vault by clearing a career-best mark of 15-02.

His first trip to the state championships came in his junior year. That season he finished 12th in the 110 hurdles at the Class AA meet after winning the section title with a then personal-best time of 14.81. He also had success in the pole vault, placing fourth at the section meet in the event.

Adams served as a team captain as a senior and was named the team’s Field Athlete of the Year. He’s currently living in Bozeman taking a gap year before attending Montana State University.

Jumps Coach Tom Eitel on Adams
“Montana State was a good fit for him and he was really interested in our school first. He really liked the community and the outdoor activities Montana can offer. His senior year he started to get really good in his events. He went off that year and he’s currently out here right now working. He has good marks in the vault and among the best times I’ve seen coming here in the hurdles. He’s a guy that improved a lot in a small amount of time and he has a load of talent.”

Elena Carter | Helena, MT | Helena Capital HS | Jumps/Hurdles
Carter earned her first MHSA State Meet Class AA title as a junior and saw success in a variety of events for Helena Capital High. Carter capped the 2017 season by taking first in the long jump at the state meet with a personal-best and school record mark of 18-08.25, just a month after trying the event out for the first time. She also was a member of the Bruins’ runner-up 4×100 relay team at the Class AA Championships that also set a school-record time of 49.15. She competed in a total of four events at the meet, taking third in the 100 hurdles and ninth in the 100 dash. In a junior campaign that featured 10 event victories, Helena’s Independent Record named her its 2017 Girls Track and Field Super Team Athlete of the Year.

Prior to 2017, Carter had made trips to the state meet two consecutive years. She advanced to the Class AA Championships in four events as a freshman, placing as high as eighth in the 100 hurdles. She won the event five times as a freshman and took second at the divisional meet.

Carter earned a then career-best fourth-place finish in the 100 hurdles at the state meet as a sophomore. She won the divisional title the week prior in the event, while she also advanced to the MSHA meet in the 100 dash and as part of the Bruins’ 4×100 relay squad.

Jumps Coach Tom Eitel on Carter
“She’s got good sprint speed, she’s a good hurdler and a really raw long jumper and yet she holds a school record in the event. I expect her to be a sprinter, hurdler and jumper so she’ll help in multiple areas. She’s got a lot of talent. Her first two years she competed in a lot of events. This last year, she focused on more events that we’d expect her to compete in at Montana State and she excelled. Her long jump was unreal. In the hurdles, she’s at the point where she’s doing things well and as she continues to improve her technique, she’s going to have a great senior year. I’m really looking forward to working with her at the college level.”

Jordan Fink | Gillette, WY | Campbell County HS | Throws | Physical Therapy
Fink is a three-time letterwinner in outdoor track and field and has lettered once in both basketball and outdoor track for Campbell County High. She has been part of successful teams in multiple sports, winning state meets in indoor and outdoor track as a junior and freshman, along with serving as a member of a state-title winning basketball team as a sophomore.

Fink earned a personal-best third-place finish at the Wyoming State Indoor Track Championships in the shot put as a junior with a personal-best toss of 38-05.50. She followed that during the outdoor season with a fifth-place finish in the discus and seventh-place showing in the shot put at the WHSAA State 4A meet. Following the state meet, Fink qualified for the New Balance National Outdoor Championships in North Carolina where she finished 20th overall in the shot put.

The Gillette native placed fourth and sixth, respectively, in the shot put and discus at the WHSAA state championships during the outdoor season as a sophomore. Fink made her first appearance at state as a freshman in both throwing events. She has won five events during her prep tenure, including a regional championship in the shot put in 2016. She is part of her high school’s Honors Society.

Throws Coach Jen Allen on Fink
“Jordan has already shown she is a great leader with her dedication to her team at Campbell County High School. She has worked hard at both indoor and outdoor track to achieve what she has and is excited to continue that success with the team at Montana State. I look forward to coaching Jordan in shot, discus, hammer and weight throw.”

Josh Mertz | Middleton, ID | Middleton HS | Throws | Health Science
Mertz is a four-time letterwinner in football and track and field, along with a four-time participant at the IHSAA 4A State Track and Field Championships. Mertz put together his best state performances of his prep career as a junior. He finished runner-up in the shot put (55-02) and fourth in the discus (155-04) behind personal-best marks. Mertz placed first in a combined nine events over the course of the 2017 season.

The Middleton, Idaho, native made his first appearance at state as a freshman. It was the first of two ninth-place finishes he earned in the discus at the 4A State meet, while he also placed fourth in the shot put as a sophomore. During the 2016 season, Mertz had four event victories and finished in the top three in events 11 times.

Mertz was a captain on the Vikings’ football team as a senior and was part of Middleton High’s Leadership Program. He has accumulated over 200 hours of community service.

Throws Coach Jen Allen on Fink on Mertz
“Josh is coming to us with a passion for track and field that will inspire others. He has big goals, a lot of drive and the work ethic to accomplish whatever he sets his mind to. He is a great fit with our throwing crew and we are happy he wants to be a Bobcat.”

Ethan Saberhagen | Billings, MT | Billings Senior HS | Throws
Saberhagen joins the Bobcat throws group as a three-time letterwinner for the Billings Senior High track and field program.

Saberhagen made his first appearance at the MHSA Class AA Track and Field meet as a sophomore count in 2016. He completed a then personal-best throw of 162-02 in the discus to earn a state championship. That season, he earned top-three showings eight times for the Broncs.

The Billings native continued his success into his junior season in 2017. Saberhagen again advanced to the state meet, but this time did it in the discus and the shot put. He capped the year off by taking third in the discus by tying his lifetime-best mark of 162-10. He also finished ninth in the shot put behind a personal-best toss of 48-10. Saberhagen completed the season with eight top-three finishes.

Throws Coach Jen Allen on Fink on Saberhagen
“Billings Senior has a long history of excellence in the throwing events and we are happy to add one of their throwers to our team. Ethan is a really good student and a very dedicated athlete. That combination makes us excited to see what he can do in the hammer throw as well.”

The Montana State track and field program gets its 2017-18 indoor season started on Saturday, Dec. 2, with the Bobcat Preview inside of Worthington Arena.

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