NCAA Championships roundup: Montana State's Levi Taylor advances to steeplechase finals

Montana State steeplechase
Posted at 6:59 PM, Jun 05, 2024

EUGENE, Ore. — The NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships started Wednesday at Hayward Field with five athletes with Montana ties competing: Montana State's Levi Taylor, Rob McManus and Owen Smith in the steeplechase, Montana's Evan Todd in the javelin and Washington State's Lee Walburn, a Whitefish native, in the decathlon.

Montana State's Levi Taylor punches ticket to steeplechase finals

Taylor advanced to the finals in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase Wednesday at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field.

Taylor, a senior from Laurel making his third consecutive appearance at the NCAA Championships, was one of three Bobcats running in the first heat of Wednesday's prelims. He used a late kick down the backstretch to place fifth in the heat with a time of 8:33.11 to automatically qualify for Friday's finals.

Fellow Bobcats McManus and Smith placed seventh and 12th, respectively, in the first heat. McManus finished in 8:33.43, just missing qualifying for finals. Alexander Korczynski of Northeastern took the final qualifying spot after clocking a time of 8:33.13.

The top five in each heat, plus the next two fastest times, qualify for finals.

The first heat featuring the three MSU runners was won by Abdelhakim Abouzouhir of Eastern Kentucky with a time of 8:32.58.

The second heat featured Wednesday's six fastest times, with James Corrigan of BYU winning in 8:28.84.

Finals for the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase are scheduled to begin at 7:24 p.m. (MT) Friday.

Montana senior Evan Todd places 22nd in men's javelin

After scratching his first throw, Todd marked throws of 205-5 and 214-1 on his next two attempts. His 214-1 throw placed him 10th in the first heat and 22nd overall.

Remi Rougette of Mississippi State won the first heat with a throw of 240-11.

Todd, a three-time Big Sky Champion and Montana’s school record holder, was the first Grizzly since 2019 to compete at the NCAA Championships. A product of Kalispell Glacier High School, Todd has seven of the 10 best marks in UM history, including the school record of 246-6.

Todd will next compete at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, which are also in Eugene, on June 21.

Whitefish native Lee Walburn in 11th after first day of decathlon

Walburn, a Whitefish native competing at Washington State, sits in 11th place in the men's decathlon after the first five events.

Walburn has 3,976 points, just behind No. 10 Josh Farmer of UC Irvine with 3,980 points. Texas senior Leo Neugebauer leads the decathlon with 4,685 points after recording first-place finishes in the long jump, shot put and high jump on Wednesday.

Walburn's best event Wednesday was the shot put, in which he placed fourth with a throw of 49-2½. He was 10th in the 100-meter dash (10.85 seconds), 11th in the 400-meter run (48.4 seconds), 13th in the high jump (6-2¼) and 22nd in the long jump (21-4).

The decathlon continues Thursday with the 110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500-meter run.