Diego Leon runs a sub-four minute mile with altitude conversion at the Big Sky Tuner. (courtesy of Bobcat Athletics)

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

BOZEMAN – The Big Sky Tuner provided several highlight performances as the Montana State track and field teams wrapped up their regular season slates inside of Worthington Arena on Friday, Feb. 16.

A total of 10 top 10 program marks or times were made or adjusted during the MSU home meet in preparation of the 2018 Big Sky Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships held in Flagstaff, Ariz., a week from now.

“Every year we kind of question if we should do this meet because we might be taking a chance ahead of the conference championships,” Montana State head coach Dale Kennedy said. “But what happens is there’s several of these standout performances that occur. Our seniors really had quite a night to be truthful about it.”

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Senior Diego Leon delivered a performance that gives him a shot at qualifying for the NCAA Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Leon ran his second career sub-four mile on the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse track Friday. His time of 4:05.70 converted due to track size and altitude put him at 3 minutes, 57.37 seconds, for a lifetime best. Despite still sitting on the program’s top 10 all-time list at third, his mark of 3:57.37 currently places him 12th in the nation and second in the Big Sky Conference.

The top 16 times achieved by mile runners at the conclusion of the conference championship season will qualify for the NCAA meet.

“There’s a better than good chance that he can get into the NCAAs,” Kennedy said. “He had to have some patience. The year started off in a way that it didn’t look like that was going to happen. But he’s been getting a little bit better and he’s gotten more fit as the season progressed.”

“This was a great sign going into the Big Sky meet. We legitimately have a guy that that’s going to be competitive with Northern Arizona no matter who they throw out there.”

Senior Amanda Jaynes made program history a week ago and this week topped her feat.

Jaynes placed first in the women’s 60-meter hurdles by crossing the line in 8.48. Her converted mark of 8.50 still shattered her mark of 8.61 she had established a tie for first in with Carley McCutchen in Bobcat laurels. She now holds the school record alone and paces the Big Sky Conference.

“That was a really great hurdle race,” Kennedy said. “I predicted she’d go under 8.50 which for me was really stretching it because she came in at 8.59. But, she ended up going from 8.59 to 8.48 outright. Something that’s meant a lot to her was getting that record and it happened in the last meet for her on this track.”

Another standout effort in a final collegiate showing inside Worthington Arena was completed by Calvin Root in the opening event of the meet.

Root completed four of his first five tosses in the men’s weight throw by clearing 60 feet and saved his best for his last attempt. His final throw reached 63-06 (19.35m) and topped his previous lifetime best by over 10 inches. His new personal-best mark still stands fourth all-time in the MSU record book and continues to pace the conference performance list.

“That was huge breakthrough tonight,” Kennedy said. “He had some other 60 footers and he ended up nailing it on his last one. He hit it just right and his throw really took off. That started everything this evening.”

The Bobcats had several other event showings that stood out during the Big Sky Tuner.

MSU women’s pole vaulters earned the top three spots in the final results. Isabella Calabrese took over the eighth spot all-time in the event in Bobcat history by clearing 12-06 (3.81m). Her vault also placed her in a tie for fourth in the Big Sky this season. Amber Prevedello (12-02) followed her in second and Carter Theade (11-10) finished in a tie for third.

Kendra Larson finished first in the women’s 800 (2:12.42) while Trisha Carlson had a lifetime best that improved her previous all-time top 10 finish while Ellen Brooks also achieved her top time of her collegiate career in the race.

In the men’s 800 race, Cameron Carroll moved from seventh to sixth in the Bobcat record book with his time of 1:50.60 that paces the Big Sky. Riley Collins, Ty Mogan and Jake Purlee all established lifetime bests in the 800.

“The women’s pole vault had a heck of a night between Isabella and Amber,” Kennedy said. “That was a pretty darn awesome display there. I thought our women’s and men’s 800 were two of the really great races tonight. Cameron really took advantage of having Cristian (Soratos) rabbit for him.”

Both 200 races ended the night and wound up being highlights of the meet.

McKenna Ramsay placed first in the women’s race with a time of 24.83 that moved her into the program all-time top 10 at ninth. She was followed by Jaynes, while Taylor Buschy set a new lifetime best (25.26) to take third. Morgan Evans and Hailey Phillips also set personal-best marks in the race.

Jadin Casey led the way in the men’s 200 by capturing a converted time of 21.71 that moved him into a tie for third in MSU laurels. Behind him was Mitch Honring (21.79) who moved from fifth to fourth on that same list, while Drake Schneider also established the best time of his collegiate career at 22.39.

Kelsi Lasota moved into the 10th spot in the women’s mile in Bobcat history behind her first-place finish and time of 4:51.63.

Samantha Kelderman (mile), Courtney Stromme (400), Megan Ralstin (triple jump), Jaycie Schmalz (3,000) and Jazmin Wilberg (pentathlon) all earned lifetime bests in their respective events. Elisabeth Krieger, Truanne Roginske and Adeline Richardson each completed a top-three finish for the Bobcats.

Parker Walton (400), Noah Martin (high jump) and Kyle Douglass (shot put) each finished first in their respective event on the men’s side. Samuel Bloom and Chris Bianchini helped MSU take the top three spots in the 400. Anthony Schmalz, Drake Schneider, Luke Middelstadt, Caleb Neth, Trevor Simanski and Alec Nehring each completed at least one top-three showing at the Big Sky Tuner.
“I think just coming off of this meet, there’s got to be a lot of enthusiasm and excitement about what happened tonight,” Kennedy said. “All in all, it was a pretty exciting night Individually and collectively for our teams going into the conference championships.”

The Bobcat track and field teams look ahead to next week when they travel to Flagstaff to compete in the Big Sky Conference Championships on the campus of Northern Arizona. The meet will begin with multi-events on Feb. 22 with the championships concluding on Feb. 24.