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'SteeplechaseU' continues legacy at Montana State following Big Sky championship

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Posted at 3:06 PM, May 16, 2024

BOZEMAN — Every year, Montana State men's track and field continues its legacy of dominating in the 3,000-meter steeplechase event.

This season has seen no different, as Bobcats junior Rob McManus and redshirt senior Levi Taylor finished the event at the Big Sky championships first and second, respectively.

"It’s awesome, we’ve been 'SteepleU' for many years now," Taylor said. "I don’t see that going away anytime soon. (Coach Lyle Weese is) a great steeple coach, so I think we’ll be on top for awhile."

Taylor overcame a sickness from earlier in the week to prevail and finish strong in the event, earning his team points that went towards its eventual team title — its first since 2005.

"I got sick this week, so I just tried to run with as little energy as possible," he said. "As long as an MSU guy was beating me, that was fine."

Despite illness, Taylor still ran an impressive time of 8:51.81, holding off Weber State from finishing second.

Taylor crossed the finish line right behind his teammate McManus, who took home his first individual Big Sky championship in steeplechase with a time of 8:50.06. McManus adds to a long legacy of conference champions in the event.

"When I first came into the program, I redshirted my first year of track, but I got to see a bunch of the guys older than me go out and kill it at conference meets in steeplechase, so it’s really cool to carry on that," McManus said.

And with 'SteeplechaseU' hosting the Big Sky championships this year, the Bobcats got to compete in front of their home crowd which gave them their extra boost to take home the team title.

"For our student athletes to have that experience of competing for a conference championship in front of their home crowd and getting such great support, was pretty special, and I know it’s something that they won’t forget," Weese explained.

Taylor, a Laurel native, also spoke to what it was like to compete at this meet in Bozeman.

"It feels good," he said. "It feels a lot better, you know, I have a lot of family out here to see me, and yeah, it feels more home-y. It feels like I’m running for the fans out there."

What shines through for this team — beyond the stats that won the team title, is a brotherhood and commitment to one another that lasts long beyond their time on campus.

"It’s a great group of guys, they're some of my best friends, and it’s really nice that we don’t have a set hierarchy," McManus said. "I think we really try and listen to each other, understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses, so it’s really good. We balance off each other really well."

"They stick together," Weese said. "They are friends for life. So, yeah. They definitely support and feel like they’re not alone out there, and I think that’s an important part of going out there and competing is feeling that you’re not alone."

Up next are the NCAA West Region championships at the University of Arkansas from May 22-25.