(Editor’s note: Montana State University press release)
BOZEMAN – The Montana State track and field program has two meets remaining on its schedule ahead of the 2019 Big Sky Conference Outdoor Championships in Missoula. The Bobcats prep for the meet by taking on Montana, which will be hosting the championship meet, in the annual Cat-Griz Dual starting at 12 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, at the Bobcat Track and Field Complex.
“I am really excited for the meet,” said Lyle Weese, Montana State’s director of track and field. “The Cat-Griz Dual often times produces really good marks. Our athletes love competing against our in-state competition, so we’re looking forward to it. It has a great history over the years and I had a lot of fun when I was a student-athlete here competing against the University of Montana.”
Montana State has had the recent momentum in the Cat-Griz Dual series, though Montana holds the all-time edge in the men’s and women’s matchups.
The Bobcat women’s team won last year’s dual over the Grizzlies by a 104-85 dual score. While MSU has won four of the previous five duals, Montana holds a 19-17 all-time lead in head-to-head meetings. Montana State’s men’s squad has seen just as much success of late, winning the previous five meetings between the two teams and earning dual victories in seven of the last eight seasons. The Griz hold a 55-30 edge over the Bobcats on the men’s side.
MSU last hosted the Cat-Griz Dual in 2016. The meet resulted in close Bobcats victories as the men topped Montana 100.5-93.5 and the women won by a 104-96 margin.
Saturday’s Cat-Griz Dual will be the first meet during the outdoor season that MSU’s entire men’s and women’s rosters have competed in the same location. A variety of competitors have participated in meets on the West Coast including last weekend when the Bobcats hosted the MSU Open at the Bobcat Track and Field Complex.
“It will be nice to have the whole team together at one meet,” Weese said. “It’ll be so good for our team to have a bit of a run through for the conference championships in terms of the team aspect and team competition part of it. We’re thrilled to get everybody back together for it.”
Team competition will be at a high in Bozeman on Saturday, but individuals on both sides will also be making their final pushes to be part of the Big Sky Championship rosters.
The Bobcats are less than two weeks away from making their debut at Montana’s Dornblaser Field for the conference meet. Spots continue to be up for grabs for each team roster as the men’s and women’s sides are allowed to bring up to 28 competitors to the meet. The MSU women’s squad currently has 37 marks in the top 20 on the Big Sky performance list, while the Bobcat men have 28 marks on the conference’s performance list.
MSU is led so far this season by a variety of competitors that have marks that would currently qualify themselves for the NCAA West Preliminary Round in Sacramento starting on May 23. Alex Lewis ranks the highest among all Bobcats on the West Region qualifying list as he’s tied for 13th in the long jump with his best mark of over 25 feet, 2 inches. Duncan Hamilton(9:01.36) is 35th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and Drake Schneider (52.39) is tied for 36th in the 400 hurdles. The women’s side has four athletes in line to qualify for regionals. Kelsi Lasota (10,000) and Anna French (3,000 steeplechase) are 27th in their respective events, while Lucy Corbett (high jump) and Carley VonHeeder (javelin) sit among the top 48 individuals in the region.
Multiple Bobcats will continue to train to raise their marks for a spot in the preliminary rounds. Others will be working to find a way into a championship appearance. Each MSU event group may have a different focus depending on their regimens to prepare for the Big Sky meet, but Saturday’s Cat-Griz Dual will be the first opportunity for the Bobcats this outdoor season to participate as a full squad.
“Overall, we’re looking at how people compete head-to-head and in a competitive atmosphere,” Weese said. “Even though we want to win the dual meet, we’re really building toward the conference championships. We’re doing everything we can to be prepared to do our very best at the Big Sky meet.”
The Cat-Griz Dual will begin with both field and track events taking place to open the meet. Live results will be available at msubobcats.com/trackresults and a live stream will be available for fans at home on Pluto TV and WatchBigSky.com.