(Editor’s note: Montana State University press release)
BOZEMAN – Three meets remain in the regular season for the Montana State track and field teams and plenty has yet to be decided. The Bobcats begin action at the Bobcat Invitational on Friday, Feb. 2, inside their home confines of Worthington Arena with field events starting at 4 p.m.
It will be the first of three final opportunities for several MSU student-athletes to make their case to be part of the contingent that travels to the 2018 Big Sky Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships. MSU can bring up to 26 athletes on the men’s and women’s sides, apiece, to Flagstaff from Feb. 22-24.
“We’re going to have some kids on the track doing events that aren’t their main events just for development,” MSU head coach Dale Kennedy said. “Then, we’re going to have some kids that are really trying to battle their way on to the bus in Flagstaff. They’ll be trying to get their best mark of the year and make an argument to be on the travel team for the conference championships.”
The Bobcats return to Brick Breeden Fieldhouse for the run up to the Big Sky meet after splitting the Powder River Dual against Wyoming.
The MSU women’s team combined for six new program all-time top 10 marks during the meet en route to a seven-point victory over the Cowgirls in Gillette. The men’s team dropped the dual by five to the Cowboys, but the Bobcats were highlighted by several performances. Each of MSU’s squads had an event group rise to the occasion, with the throws playing a big role for the men’s side and jumps propelling the women’s side.
“That meet has been historically competitive and this year was no exception to that,” Kennedy said. “I pre-meet scored that before it started, and it was a six-point meet for our men and it came out that way with Wyoming winning it.
“But on the women’s side, we were 21-point underdogs. What happened was our women’s jumps group completely turned it around. Alex scored in all three of her events then we had Isabella and Amber scoring points in two events. It was a fun thing in terms of team development.”
MSU heads into Friday with a sixth-place ranking in the USTFCCCA Men’s Indoor Indoor Track and Field Mountain Region Rankings along with an eighth-place ranking in the Women’s Mountain Region Rankings. The Bobcat men have eight individuals ranked in the top eight of their respective event among regional competitors, including Calvin Root who has the top weight throw in the Mountain Region with a mark of 62-07.50. The MSU women have three individuals among the top eight individuals in the region, while its top distance medley relay of Trisha Carlson, Taylor Buschy, Kendra Larson and Layne Oliver (12:10.19) has the fifth best time among Mountain Region teams.
The Bobcats are currently the highest ranked squad on the men’s regional rankings among Big Sky members, while the MSU women are second among Big Sky regional squads trailing only Northern Arizona. With the calendar flipping to February, coach Kennedy’s teams are past the midway point of their indoor season and have plenty to prove in the coming weeks.
“We’re on the home stretch as we’re getting ready for the conference championships,” Kennedy said. “While this meet isn’t scored, and it’s an open meet, I think it really has an importance of just continuing to rise up as a team.”
Friday’s meet in Bozeman will be a non-scoring meet and features athletes primarily from MSU, Carroll College and MSU-Billings. The meet will be streamed on WatchBigSky.com and on the Pluto TV app. Tickets for the meet are available at the Bobcat Ticket Office.