CollegeMontana State Bobcats


Helena native Elena Carter persevered through injury to shine in final track season at Montana State

Elena Carter
Posted at 2:49 PM, May 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-08 16:49:13-04

BOZEMAN — Elena Carter, a Helena native, has had a standout career for the Montana State track and field program and has shined this year in her final season.

The past year has been anything but easy, however. She has persevered through an injury that could have ended her collegiate career.

"It was just a lot of sitting and waiting and hoping it would heal because they weren’t sure if it would or not, but I guess it turned out fine," Carter said with a laugh.

She broke her navicular bone and sustained a stress fracture, which put her foot in a boot for five months. Then she still had to keep weight off her ankle and foot for another six weeks before this season.

"It was just a lot of not even being able to stand and then taking it really slow," she reflected. "I had to be really careful with myself because I tend to go overboard with stuff."

Originally, she was just excited to get back and train after her injury, but she quickly returned to dominating the track.

Just two weeks ago, she set the school record in the 100-meter hurdles at the Bengal Invitational with a time of 13.45 seconds adjusting for altitude, topping her previous record of 13.53 seconds.

She also won the long jump at that meet with a final mark of 20-05.00, improving her No. 3 all-time mark in MSU history. She’s just one of four women to jump 20 feet in program history.

"It was really exciting. When it first happened, I didn’t know if I’d be able to train consistently at all," Carter explained of her ability to return to an elite level. "Getting back now, I’m really excited. And it finally isn’t hurting."

As for Carter’s legacy with the blue and gold, she's from a Bobcat family. Her father played football for MSU, and her brother now takes the gridiron on Saturday for the Cats. She also shares the track with her sister for the Bobcats.

"It’s been amazing what she’s done here in her career," Bobcats track and field coach Lyle Weese said. "Her father was a football player here, so I think she’s always been a Bobcat. That’s pretty special, when you have someone from the state of Montana that has a legacy in the program to come here and do so well."

"We’re just a big Bobcat family, so it was kind of cool to carry on that family tradition that my dad kind of started," Carter said with a smile.

The Big Sky Conference track and field championships run May 8-11 at the Bobcat Track and Field Complex in Bozeman.