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Four Montanans advance to NCAA outdoor track and field championships

Posted at 12:45 PM, May 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-24 14:46:08-04

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Four Montanans qualified for the NCAA outdoor track and field national championships on the first day of the NCAA West Preliminaries on Thursday.

Montana’s Hana Feilzer, a Missoula Big Sky High School alum, placed ninth in the hammer throw; Washington’s Chase Smith, a Helena High School product, finished seventh in the pole vault; Colorado junior Makena Morley, a former Bigfork High School standout, placed ninth in the 10,000-meter run; and San Francisco runner Sadi Henderson, a Corvallis High School graduate, placed 21st in the 800-meter run.

For more on Feilzer’s day, please click here.

Smith’s season was on the line multiple times Thursday. The junior cleared 17 feet, 5 inches on his third attempt to get to the final height of 17-7. It took him three attempts at that height, too, but Smith was one of only eight athletes to clear 17-7, sending him to the outdoor championships for the first time in his career. He has twice competed at the NCAA indoor championships, earning second-team all-American honors in both 2017 and 2018.

Smith is the Montana high school state record holder in the event, having cleared 16-4 at the 2015 Class AA state track and field meet. (State records can only be set at state meets.)

Morley, who still has the 5,000-meter run on Saturday, crossed the line in 33 minutes, 44.72 seconds in Thursday’s 10,000. It’ll be the third consecutive June that Morley has run the 10k at the NCAA championships. She finished 17th in 2017 and 11th in 2018, which earned her second-team all-American honors. Morley also earned all-American honors last fall in helping lead the Buffs to the 2018 NCAA national cross country championship.

While at Bigfork, Morley won the Class B state cross country championship each of her four years to become a four-time Gatorade runner of the year.

Henderson is in her only season running at San Francisco after an all-American career at Boise State. The graduate transfer clocked a time of 2 minutes, 7.66 seconds in the 800-meter run to finish 21st and again qualify for the NCAA championships. She was a four-time all-American while at Boise State and nine-time high school state champion at Corvallis — three in cross country and six in track.

The NCAA West Prelim continues through Saturday. The NCAA outdoor track and field championships are June 5-8 at Austin, Texas.