BILLINGS — One of the most anticipated events of the Big Sky State Games Opening Ceremonies is set for approximately 8:20 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at Daylis Stadium.
The 2019 Montana Mile marks the 28th running for men and the 18th for women. The race is invite-only featuring some of the state’s fastest high school, college, and post-collegiate mile runners.
Reigning champion Isaac Petsch will shoot to defend his men’s title. 2017 men’s champion Dawson LaRance and both 2016 winners, Ty Mogan and Tiahna Vladic, will also race.
The Women’s Montana Mile record is 4:53.9 set in 2011 by Lois Ricardi Keller. Laurel’s Patrick Casey set the men’s record in 2010 with a time of 4:07.9.
Ase Ackerman just completed his first year at Montana State University-Billings, competing in steeplechase, 5000m, and cross country. He earned All State honors for Dawson County High in the 3200 in 2018. Ase is majoring in Health and Human Performance.
Rocky Mountain College student-athlete George Beddow earned All Amercian honors in the Marathon at the 2019 NAIA National Championship placing 6th. The Billings Central grad has a 4:35 mile personal best. George is majoring in biology/exercise science.
A Senior this fall at Billings Senior, Finn Bentler will make his Montana Mile debut. He earned All-State honors in the 800m this spring and has a best mile time of 4:33.
A soon to be senior at Montana State University- Billings, Ivan Colmenero, is running the Montana Mile for the third time. MSU-B team captain was an All-State runner for Manhattan High School and part of Manhattan’s State Champion team. He is majoring in criminal justice and has personal best of 4:27 in the mile.
Jorey Egeland, a Billings Senior product finished his college career in 2018 as one of MSU-Billings best distance runners in school history. He earned GNAC All-Conference honors seven times and won conference races in the 3k steeplechase and 5k his senior year. He earned NCAA Division 2 second team All-American honors in the steeplechase. This will be his 3rd time competing in the Montana Mile, last year he placed 3rd. Jorey’s mile PR is 4:20.
Drake Henson, a California-native, will be making his 2nd appearance in the Montana Mile. Last year he placed 6th with a time of 4:30. He owns his high school’s 800m record at 1:56 and the MSU-Billings indoor 800m record at 1:55. Drake will be a sophomore this fall majoring in criminal justice. His mile PR is 4:18.
Carroll Saint and Bainville Bulldog, Chance Hyatt, will be competing in his first Montana Mile. The recent Carroll College grad will be teaching Elementary/Special Education in his hometown. Chance has had much success throughout his running career capturing two Class C Cross Country titles, as well as titles in the 1600m and 3200m on the track. He is a 10 time NAIA All-American. Chance’s mile best is a 4:12.
University of Minnesota Gopher Dawson LaRance had stellar high school career at Billings Senior earning All-State Cross Country honors twice and All-State Track honors ten times. Dawson was the 2017 State Champion in the 800m, 1600m, and the 4x400m Relay. He also set the All-Class record in the 800m and was a member of the All Class Record 4x400m Relay team. One of Dawson’s top running accomplishments was winning the prestigious Brooks PR 800m in 2017. His mile best is 4:09.
Carroll College Student-Athlete Noah Majerus will be participating in his second Montana Mile. His 1600m best of 4:28.5 earned him the runner-up position at the 2018 Class A State Meet and the Fergus High School record. He is a three-time state placer in cross country and track. This past year, as a freshman studying civil engineering at Carroll College, he became an NAIA All American in the 800m at Indoor Nationals with a time of 1:51. His best mile is a 4:28.
Tyus Mendoza runs for Montana State University- Billings. He was the 2013 Class B Cross Country State Champion and the 3200m State Champion in 2014, running for Colstrip. His personal best mile time is 4:30.
The 2016 Montana Mile Champion Ty Mogan, will be a 5th year senior at Montana State University-Bozeman and running his 5th Montana Mile. His mile PR is an impressive 4:08. He was a highly decorated Class “A” runner at Laurel High School where he was a three-time state champion and a two-time runner up. Mogan earned All-Mountain Region honors in Cross Country and was a NCAA Cross Country Championship qualifier in 2018. His major is sociology and elementary education.
Rocky Mountain College Senior, Isaac Petsch is slated to race his 6th Montana Mile. Last year he claimed his first Montana Mile victory with a time of 4:19. The former West High Bear was a three-time All-State runner in track, placing 2nd in the boys 1600m at the 2015 class “AA” State Meet. The five-time NAIA All American raced to a 2nd place finish in the 1500m at the 2017 Outdoor NAIA Track Nationals and earned 4th place at the NAIA Indoor Track Nationals in the 4x800m relay for Rocky Mountain College. Isaac’s mile best sits at 4:08.
Owen Smith will be competing in his first Montana Mile. The incoming senior at Billings Senior High placed 3rd in the 1600m AA State Meet. Owen’s mile PR is 4:24.
Logan Straus recently completed his freshman year running for Montana State University-Billings. This will be his first Montana Mile and his best converted mile time is 4:32.
Laurel High grad and Montana State University commit, Levi Taylor, is a two-time Class A Cross Country Champion and five time State Champion in Track. Levi went undefeated in Montana in the 800m, 1600m, and 3200m this year. His mile PR is 4:17.
Montana State University-Billings, senior Nikki Aiken is a Manhattan Christian High School record holder in the 1600m and the 3200m. She has earned All-State in Cross Country and the 3200m every year of her high school career and she also earned All State honors three times in the 1600m. Nikki has a converted mile time best of 5:20.
Emberlyn Gaschk of the Skyview Falcons holds the Falcons’ record for the 5k in cross country with a 18:29. This upcoming junior was All-State in cross country in 2018 and a two year varsity letter winner in both cross country and track. She has lived in Montana her entire life and has a PR mile time of 5:19.
Whitney Hanson just graduated from Colstrip High School and will be attending Minot State in the fall. She is the 2018 Class B Cross Country Champion and the 2019 state track champion in the 800 and 1600. She has also earned All-State cross country and track multiple years and her best mile time is a 5:12.
Kylie Hartnett, a Helena High School freshman, will be competing in her first Montana Mile. She is the Junior Olympic Female Athlete of the Year. Kylie holds Helena High’s 1600m and 3200m school records and is an All-State athlete in both cross country and track. This year 2nd and 3rd at the State AA Track and Field Meet. Kylie’s mile PR as a freshman is a 5:02.
Hallie Hemenway of Manhattan High School recently completed her sophomore year as a tiger. She is an All-State Athlete in the 1600m and 3200m for Class B track. Hallie also was a part of her high school’s team in their winning of the Class B cross country Championship in 2018. This is will be her first time competing in the Montana Mile and her mile PR is a 5:19.
A Wyoming-native, and University of Montana – Western Bulldog, Mindy Kaufman is participating in her first Montana Mile. She earned All American status at this year’s NAIA Nationals racing to 3rd place in the 1500m, She has clocked a 1500m time of 4:39.
Former MSU Bobcat and RMC runner MacKenzie O’dore placed third in the Montana Mile last year. MacKenzie is an eight-time Class C State Champion for Joliet, three-times in Cross Country, three-times in the 1600m and once in both the 800m and 3200m. She has run the 1500m at Rocky Mountain College in a 4:39 which was fast enough to hit the “B” qualifying mark for NAIA Nationals and her PR for the mile is 5:02.
After finishing her sophomore year in Hamilton, Brynnili Poulsen will be competing in her first Big Sky State Games Montana Mile. She had an impressive State Track and Field meet this past spring, where she took the title of Class B state champion in the 800m with a time of 2:17, and also placed 2nd in both the 1600m and the 3200m. Her best mile time stands at a 5:09.
A standout runner for Billings Senior High, Tiahna Vladic won the Montana Mile in 2016, her debut at the race. Vladic is a two time AA State Cross Country Champion and was awarded the Montana Gatorade Cross Country Runner twice in her high school career. She is the 2019 State Champion in the 3200m in track and also earned the honor of Midland Roundtable Athlete of the Year. Vladic plans to attend Boise State and her PR for the mile is a speedy 4:56.
Helena High’s Odessa Zentz recently finished her freshman year. Odessa’s Father, Jesse Zentz, ran the Montana Mile 5 times, winning it in 1998. Following in her father’s footsteps, this will be Odessa’s first Montana Mile. This spring she captured the State AA Track and Field Champion titles in both the 400m and 800m. Her best mile time is a 5:18.
The Montana Mile is sponsored by Montana Pipeline Presents. Opening Ceremonies is sponsored by Wendy’s. Major Sponsors of the State Games are Kampgrounds of America (KOA), First Interstate Bank, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana. The gates to Daylis Stadium open at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free to State Games athletes with their Open Ceremonies ticket. Student and adult admission is $5 and free to children under the age of six (6). For more information call 406-254-7426 or go to bigskygames.org.