(Editor's note: Montana State media release)
GREELEY, Colo. -- Four Bobcats completed all-conference performances as both Montana State cross country teams earned strong showings at the Big Sky Championships on Saturday, Nov. 2, at Boomerang Golf Course.
History was made by Montana State freshman Camila Noe. The Bozeman native took first place in the women's 5-kilometer race with a time of 17 minutes, 41.3 seconds. Her gold medal performance was the first for the MSU women's team in 27 years when Jennifer Bayliss won the conference championship in 1992.
"It feels pretty incredible," Noe said of her individual title. "I have a lot of pride and am really happy to be in Montana and being able to run for Montana State means a lot to me."
The individual championship by Noe is the first by any Bobcat cross country runner under the guidance of MSU director Lyle Weese. Noe earned Big Sky Freshman of the Year honors and served as the third consecutive season MSU has had an all-conference performer on the women's side.
"Winning a Big Sky Conference Championship is never easy, especially in cross country," Weese said. "It's a pretty incredible accomplishment winning it. She really dominated from start to finish and took control of the race early. It's incredible for how talented the field was today."
Noe jumped out to the lead from the opening gun to begin the race. She never trailed as her final mark was 34 seconds ahead of runner-up Mikayla Milaspina of Northern Arizona.
"It went really well," Noe said of her race. "I guess I just went in with the mentality that I wanted to go out hard and wanted to stay in that first position and give it my best.
"I've been staying focused these past few weeks and following Lyle's training. Today was definitely a day, where given the conditions, I was able to execute what I've been doing in practice. With the snow back home, I think it really prepared me for this race too."
Montana State's remaining three all-conference performers came on the men's side.
Collin Buck, Ty Mogan and Duncan Hamilton became the men's team's first all-conference runners since the 2014 Big Sky Championships as they placed eighth, ninth and 10th, respectively. Buck completed a time of 27:10.8, Mogan crossed in at 27:14.7 and Hamilton followed at 27:16.9. All three runners were less than 30 seconds off the pace of Northern Arizona's top three finishers.
"It's definitely a good feeling," Mogan said. "All the guys have been working so hard since week one and it's nice to see our hard work pay off finally. Knowing that we can continue to improve so much in the next couple weeks ahead of regionals is exciting."
The Bobcat men's three all-Big Sky showings was the first time an MSU trio placed in the top 10 since 2002. That team was the last to advance to the NCAA Championship meet and included standout individuals Casey Jermyn, Kevin Murphy and coach Weese.
"It's been a long time since we've had three individuals on the men's side get all conference," Weese said. "To have those three finish all conference is great. They got out well at the start and ran solid the entire way. They had a high level of concentration and ran with purpose the entire race."
Montana State's men's squad placed third overall in the team standings with 74 points. It was MSU's best finish at the conference meet since 2012 and its lowest point total accumulated since the 2010 championships.
Sophomores Isaac Schmidt and Braden Stremcha helped contribute to the Bobcat team score. Schmidt finished 21st in a time of 28:09.2. Stremcha placed 27th overall with a mark of 28:26.3. Cooper West (28:37.5) and Cameron Carroll (28:42.0) finished 34th and 37th, respectively, while Gannon Chamberlain (29:47.1) placed 66th overall.
"It's exciting to have an overall young men's team still and to compete that well at the Big Sky Conference Championships," Weese said. "They're excited about what they did today, but also about what they can do the rest of the year looking at the Mountain Regionals and hopefully beyond that."
Northern Arizona won the men's championship with 24 points, narrowly ahead of Weber State which totaled 40. MSU placed ahead of Southern Utah as the Thunderbirds scored 102 points.
"This is what I've been wanting the last few years, having a team that can contend to qualify for Nationals," Mogan said. "Everyone has the same mindset that we can all qualify for Nationals as a team. It makes me emotional because I love being part of this team and the drive every one of these guys has is incredible.
"It's kind of hard to explain, but I think we just responded well to Weber State and Northern Arizona today. We know we're a lot better now and can contend with those teams."
The MSU women competed in a tight battle for second place in the team standings and eventually placed fifth. MSU scored 116 points to finish behind Idaho (90), Southern Utah (93) and Weber State (94).
Madison Liechty and Gillian Maness placed 25th and 26th overall crossing the finish line in 19:20.4 and 19:21.2, respectively. Lexi Kyro had a strong outing by finishing in 32nd with a time of 19:32.4. Anna French completed MSU's scoring lineup by taking 34th by clocking in at 19:39.9.
Trisha Carlson (19:58.7) placed 43rd, Kathleen Glockner (20:26.9) took 57th and Sydney Dickinson (22:56.0) finished 81st to round out the Bobcats' showing.
"The women's team had a much better performance this week and ran really well," Weese said. "They competed well as a pack, they're so much better than they were two weeks ago. They weren't that far out of second place if you look at the team score. I thought they did really well especially coming off a meet where they struggled."
Northern Arizona captured the women's championship by totaling 36 points with four individuals in the top 10 overall.
The Montana State cross country teams look ahead next to the Mountain Region Championships. The Bobcats will compete on Nov. 15 in Salt Lake City at Rose Park Golf Course.