(Editor’s note: Montana State University press release)
INDIANAPOLIS — The NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Track and Field and Cross Country Committee announced the participants for the 2019 Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships Preliminary competitions on Thursday, May 16. Montana State had five athletes declared as entries into the West Preliminary hosted by Sacramento State at Hornet Stadium beginning on May 23.
Representing the Bobcats will be Duncan Hamilton, Kelsi Lasota, Alex Lewis, Drake Schneider and Carley VonHeeder. The NCAA announced the top 48 declared entries in all individual events and the top 24 relay teams in each region on Thursday. The top 12 finishers in each event at the West and East Preliminary Rounds will advance to compete at the NCAA Championships in Austin, Texas, from May 5-8.
“It’s a great opportunity for them to compete against the best athletes at the NCAA Division I level,” said Lyle Weese, Montana State’s director of track and field. “It’ll be a great experience for them, regardless of if they’re in a field event or running event, just to be up against athletes of that caliber.”
Lewis and VonHeeder will both be making their third appearances at the regional meet.
Lewis, who placed second in the men’s long jump at this season’s Big Sky Outdoor Championships and holds the school record in the event, currently is ranked 18th among West Preliminary entries. His best finish at the meet was his 33rd-place showing he earned last year as a junior in Sacramento. VonHeeder makes her third trip to the West Preliminary in three seasons as a Bobcat. A bronze medalist in the javelin at the Big Sky meet last weekend, VonHeeder took 29th in the event at the regional a year ago.
Lasota makes her second appearance at the west regional meet of her Bobcat career. The MSU senior set her lifetime best in the 10,000 at Hornet Stadium in the Preliminary Round a season ago. She took 22nd in the event with her time of 33:47.95 which is the second fastest mark in program history.
Hamilton and Schneider will be making their first trips to the preliminaries for Montana State. Hamilton, a freshman and Bozeman native, won gold in the 3,000 steeplechase at the Big Sky Championships. He qualified for the regional with his personal-best time of 9:01.36. Schneider also captured gold at the Big Sky meet in the 400 hurdles behind a school-record time of 51.38. The Bobcat sophomore is ranked 28th in the event among declared athletes.
“They need to keep doing what they’ve been doing,” Weese said of preparing for the West Preliminary. “If you go into a meet like this trying to do something you haven’t done before, often times that can lead to a disappointing experience. If you go through the same pattern that you’ve used the entire year, that will give you a good chance no matter what your rank is.
“Not everybody has their best day at a regional meet. A lot of it has to do with doing the best you can and trying to put yourself in a position to have your best performance that day.”
NCAA track and field fans can watch live and on-demand coverage of the NCAA Division I West Preliminary Championships on FloTrack with a Pro subscription. Coverage of the preliminary competitions will be available May 23-25.