BOZEMAN — The Montana State track and field teams had standout performances across a variety of disciplines that helped propel both squads to runner-up finishes at the Big Sky Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday, Feb. 23, in Worthington Arena.
Predicted to finish third and fifth in the preseason poll voted on by the conference’s coaches, MSU’s men and women each exceeded expectations.
The Bobcat men scored 113 points to easily distance themselves from third place Southern Utah (74). Northern Arizona won the men’s competition with 178.50 points. The MSU women recorded 79 points, placing ahead of Northern Arizona (75) and Southern Utah (70). Sacramento State won the women’s competition with 100 points.
The Bobcats’ men’s showing was their best since 2013 at the indoor Big Sky meet and the women’s finish was their best since the 2015 indoor championships.
“It was good to hold our position in a lot of areas,” said Lyle Weese, Montana State’s Director of Track and Field. “We had some people that really broke through that helped our team score. We scored more on the men’s side than what we predicted on paper, so that’s always a good sign that your team went out and competed well.
“The women really outperformed what they were supposed to get coming in, so that was really exciting. That was a team that just performed really well at the conference championship. I think that just comes down to our student-athletes and then our coaches that have been working with them throughout the entire year.”
The MSU men and women combined for 14 all-conference performances on Saturday. Earning gold medals on the final day of the Big Sky Indoor Championships were Wyatt Thompson-Siporen, McKenna Ramsay, Lucy Corbett and both of MSU’s 4×400 relay squads.
Thompson-Siporen finished atop the men’s pole vault for his second medal of the championships. The MSU junior cleared 16 feet, 2 inches (4.93m) to claim first place. Noah Martin also tied for third in the event for bronze with a mark of 15-04.25 (4.68m), while Caleb Neth finished seventh in the pole vault by clearing 14-08.25 (4.48m).
Ramsay had a standout day for the MSU women’s team. She finished first in the 400-meter run by crossing the line in 55.09 seconds, improving on a lifetime best which converts due to track size and altitude. Elisabeth Krieger also took sixth in the event by clocking a time of 59.23 seconds to contribute to the team score.
Lucy Corbett took first in the women’s high jump in her first ever Big Sky meet. She cleared 5-09.25 (1.76m), which moved her from a tie for fourth to a tie for second all-time in program history, and took the top spot on the podium by completing fewer misses on her attempts.
The MSU men’s 4×400 relay had one of the top highlights of the meet for the Bobcats. The relay squad of Drake Schneider, Christopher Lange, Mitch Horning and Jadin Casey completed a time of 3:14.30. The conversion of approximately 3.11.60 seconds should give the group a new program record by more than two seconds.
The Bobcat women wrapped up the meet by also finishing first in the 4×400 relay. Courtney Stromme, Hailey Phillips, Krieger and Ramsay crossed the line at 3:44.37, which converted is a top three time on the MSU all-time top 10 list.
“The relays are special in track and field,” Weese said. “For us to win three of the four relays all together, with one distance medley relay and two 4×400 relays, we were really excited about that. Especially with the 4x400s being the last two events, it’s a great way to finish off a meet.”
Casey, Schneider, Horning and Samuel Bloom each claimed individual medals on Saturday on the men’s side.
The Bobcats earned two of the top three spots in the men’s 400 finals. Casey finished runner-up in the event with a season-best converted time of 47.55, while Schneider followed in third with a mark of 48.72.
Horning earned his highest individual finish of his collegiate career. The Bobcat senior completed his eligibility by picking up a silver medal in the 200 by finishing in a time of 21.98. Bloom also capped off his first individual all-conference effort by taking second in the 800 with a time of 1:53.31. He led an MSU 2-5-6 finish in the event, with Cameron Carroll and Chris Bianchini close behind in less than three-tenths of a seconds.
Truanne Roginske also added an individual all-conference finish for the Bobcats. She took third in the 60 with a time of 7.58. Ramsay added a bronze to her individual accolades in the 200 with a time of 24.76, while Roginske took seventh by crossing in at 25.30. Roginske also completed a personal-best mark of 38-03.25 (11.66m) in the triple jump to take ninth overall.
Freshman Delaney Smith took fourth overall in the women’s 60 hurdle finals. She moved from eighth to a tie for sixth in program history with her converted time of 8.71 seconds. Morgan Evans contributed to the team score by competing in the finals event.
Derrick Olsen and Henry Adams combined for three points in the men’s hurdles by taking seventh and eighth, respectively. Alex Lewis also took sixth overall in the triple jump with his mark of 47-04.25 (14.43m).
Kendra Larson placed fifth overall in the women’s 800 with a time of 2:14.61 and Kelsi Lasota (10:00.90) took sixth in the 3,000 to close out the squad’s point scorers on Saturday. Gillian Maness took 11th in the 3,000, Lexi Kyro finished 12th in the mile, Twila Reovan placed 14th in the triple jump and Madi Arneson led the women’s throwers with a 15th-place showing in the shot put.
“The men’s jumps crew got us off to a great start,” Weesei said. “The men’s and women’s sprints were really strong. I think we got a lot of contributions from all areas and we had a lot of people that had their best performance of the year at the conference meet. That’s a great sign of not only peaking well for this meet, but the possibility of really having a strong outdoor season.”
The Bobcats completed their indoor season at the Big Sky Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships. They return to action when they begin their outdoor campaign in March.