CollegeMontana State Bobcats


Six from Montana State, Rocky's Jackson Wilson break four-minute mile to cap Big Sky Tuner meet

Big Sky Tuner.jpg
Posted at 10:01 PM, Feb 16, 2024

(Editor's note: Montana State Athletics release.)

BOZEMAN — Six Montana State men's track and field athletes ran an altitude-adjusted sub-four-minute mile in the same race Friday to highlight the final indoor regular season meet of the year for MSU ahead of next week's Big Sky Conference Championships.

Coming into Friday, just six Bobcats in history had run a sub-four minute mile indoors. But in the final race of the season at Worthington Arena, six total Bobcats in the same race all cleared the historic barrier — an unprecedented feat.

Ben Perrin (3:55.83) and Levi Taylor (3:59.63), who had previously broken the iconic mark, were joined by Rob McManus (3:58.13), Harvey Cramb (3:58.36), Sam Ells (3:58.81) and Matthew Richtman (3:59.69).

Coming into the race, MSU coach Lyle Weese was hopeful that maybe five Cats would be able to cross the line in time. But Richtman, a two-time cross country All-American, crashed the party at the last second, leading to jubilation from his teammates in the aftermath of the race.

"To have six men in one race run the NCAA-adjusted under-four minutes is pretty amazing," Weese said. "Not that many teams ever have had something like that. I think to put it into perspective, I think the University of Washington had something similar last year where they had six or seven people run under four minutes. Really incredible.

"This group of guys had a chip on their shoulder coming off of the Husky Classic (last week), because they'd been training so hard for an extended period of time. I think they were maybe just a little bit fatigued, and then this week their energy levels were a lot better, so I could tell they were all really excited to go out and put in a good performance today. It was a pretty special race and builds momentum heading into conference."

Previous Bobcat runners who occupied space in the exclusive sub-four-minute club include Duncan Hamilton (2023), Patrick Casey (2011), Cristian Soratos (2015), and Diego Leon (2018). Friday, four new Cats joined Perrin and Taylor in that same company.

Perrin is now fourth in MSU history among the top times, McManus seventh, Cramb eighth, Ells ninth, and Richtman 10th.

The women's distance group was also impressive in the penultimate race of the night, as Grace Gilbreth won an exciting women's mile with a converted time of 4:44.0 to move up to third all-time in MSU history.

The meet caps a full slate of indoor competitions ahead of next week's Big Sky Indoor Championships in Spokane, Wash.

"It was a great final meet heading into conference," Weese said. "Those student-athletes that needed to compete, they went out and did really well. It's not only a sign that they have momentum, but all of our other athletes that were sitting out ahead of conference, it's a sign that they also are likely building that momentum and are going to have some pretty special performances at conference."

Rocky Mountain College's Jackson Wilson also broke the 4:00 barrier in the mile with an altitude-adjusted time of 3:59.99. Per Rocky sports information, Wilson is the first runner in the NAIA to break four minutes this season and the first since January 2022 (Zouhair Talbi of Oklahoma City; 3:59.5).

Wilson now owns the fastest mile and fastest 3,000-meter time in the NAIA this season with less than two weeks until the NAIA championships. His finish is a new personal best and school record.