(Editor's note: Montana State athletics release)
EUGENE, Ore. - Montana State track standouts Duncan Hamilton and Levi Taylor closed out an incredible outdoor season finishing fourth and seventh, respectively, at the USA Track and Field Championships in the finals of the 3000m steeplechase, Saturday afternoon at Hayward Field.
Hamilton, a native of Bozeman, led the race between the 1800 and 2200-meter marks, before falling to sixth place, then bouncing back picking of two runners in the final 500-meters to become a first alternate for the World Championships in three weeks. The top three finishers earn a spot at the world meet. Hamilton finished just 1.07-seconds out from a spot on the squad clocking 8:20.23.
Hillary Bor won the event in 8:15.76, while Evan Jager (8:17.29) and Benard Keter (8:19.16) went second and third, respectively.
“It was an amazing race for Duncan and Levi,” said Dale Kennedy Director of Track and Field, Lyle Weese. “Duncan came so close to making the world team as a collegian, and that’s a very rare thing, and to have Levi progress from an okay cross country season to a solid indoor season to being in the top seven at the US Championships is just unbelievable.”
Taylor, a sophomore from Laurel, as he has all season, went to the back of the pack sitting in 14th place at the 1300-meter mark. He moved up to tenth at 2100-meters and picked-off two competitors in the final 500-meters to place seventh with a time of 8:29.75.
“Levi had a conservative start,” Weese said. “And then ran a smart race. I can’t remember anyone in my coaching career that has made the progression he has this season. I think his best time was 8:55 and then to come from that to being one of the very best collegians in the event is unbelievable.”
Also running on Saturday afternoon was Drake Schneider. Schneider, a senior from Eau Claire, Wis., ran in the semifinals of the 400-meter hurdles, placing eighth in 52.30. Rai Benjamin, a silver medalist in the event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, recorded the best time of the day in 47.93.
“Drake is another unbelievable story.” Weese said. “He came in as a walk-on and won four straight Big Sky Conference 400-meter titles and set the conference record. He was also a big part of our 4 x 400 relay team. He might’ve been a little fatigued today, but as a collegian, he’s run a lot more races this than what the professionals had coming into USAs. Drake had an incredible season.”
MSU will finish its USATF Outdoor meet on Sunday as Cantor Coverdell competes in the javelin finals at 12:35 p.m. (MT).