CollegeMontana Grizzlies


Montana's Erin Wilde, Carter Petersen claim Big Sky field athlete of the week honors

Erin Wilde
Posted at 3:35 PM, May 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-06 17:37:00-04

(Editor's note: Montana Athletics release.)

MISSOULA — The Montana track and field team closed out the regular season Saturday with the Tom Gage Classic, and a pair of athletes made the most of the final day of competition.

Erin Wilde and Carter Petersen had big days in their respective events and earned the Big Sky Conference field athlete of the week awards as a result, the league announced Monday.

Carter Petersen
Montana's Carter Petersen competes in the pole vault at the Tom Gage Classic on Saturday, May 4, 2024, in Missoula.

Wilde has put together an incredibly consistent outdoor season as a follow-up to her indoor Big Sky title. In the five meets leading into the Tom Gage, Wilde had cleared at least 5-7.

She nearly didn’t jump, but after entering the week just inside the bubble for regional qualification, the coaching staff decided to let her compete with the hopes that she would up her season-best.

Wilde did that, clearing 5-9¼ on her second attempt to move safely into regional qualification. Once there, vertical jumps coach Erica Fraley gave her one attempt at the school record.

She wouldn’t need another. Wilde grazed the bar but cleared 5-10½ on her first attempt, breaking a 30-year-old school record in the event. It extended her lead in the Big Sky Conference and also moved her into a tie for 21st in the West Region.

“Great honor for Erin coming off of the school record; 1.79 meters really puts her in the upper echelon not only of the conference, but of the West Region,” head coach Doug Fraley said. “I’m really happy to see her get this award, it’s well deserved. She’s been very consistent and now is hitting some big jumps.”

Petersen had a breakout performance at the Tom Gage Classic. The sophomore had jumped at three events this season, and had never cleared 16 feet in his career. He started off 2 for 2 at 15-0 and 15-6.

He set a new PR by clearing 16-0 on his first attempt, and moved up to the 16-6 bar. Once again, it took Petersen just one attempt to clear it, sailing over for a double PR. It was enough to win the Tom Gage Classic, which featured three of the top four athletes in the Big Sky.

“Great breakthrough for Carter. It’s been building,” Fraley said. “He’s a kid that came in with a lot of promise out of high school, has had some injuries and struggles, but the last couple months he’s really began getting on track and maturing as an athlete.”

Petersen jumps all the way up to a tie for 59th in the West Region with the mark, and also climbs into a tie for fourth in the Big Sky.

“We’ve been waiting for him to hit this breakthrough and Saturday was the day,” Fraley said. “It’s a great honor for him as he starts to hit his stride as a collegiate pole vaulter, and I couldn’t be prouder of his performance on Saturday.”

Wilde, Petersen, and the rest of the Grizzlies will be in action at the Big Sky Championship meet this week in Bozeman. The heptathlon begins on Wednesday with the full meet opening up on Friday.