(Editor's note: Montana State press release)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.— The Montana State men’s track and field team saw three more of its athletes claim their tickets to Eugene as multiple Bobcats advanced to the national stage with their finishes on Friday, May 27, at the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds at John McConnell Field.
MSU’s day began with Duncan Hamilton and Levi Taylor both running in the first of three heats of the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase. The top three times in each heat, along with the three next best times completed, would qualify for the national championship field.
Hamilton took charge of the lead from the opening gun and never surrendered the spot over the course of the race. The Bozeman native paced the field and eventually came in first place in the heat with a time of 8 minutes, 34.58 seconds, to automatically qualify for Eugene.
Levi Taylor meanwhile stuck with the lead pack of runners that featured five runners for a majority of the race. That group stuck together through six laps before the top four began to create even more separation with Taylor in the fourth spot. The Laurel, Mont., native closed down the home stretch on BYU’s Garrett Marsing and Estanis Ruiz of LMU and narrowly finished behind the two. Taylor finished just a half a second behind Marsing (8:36.19) and Ruiz (8:36.42) despite clocking a lifetime best mark of 8:36.42.
Taylor, who improved on his time that sits third all-time at Montana State, would have to wait out the next two heats to see if his time stuck as one of the top three fastest times outside of automatic qualifying position. His mark would hold up as the second fastest as he finished eighth overall in the entire field, while Hamilton’s was the fourth fastest time.
Hamilton will be making his second trip to the NCAA Outdoor Championships returning to Hayward Field after finishing fifth in the steeplechase at last season’s national meet. Taylor is making his first national championship appearance. It’s the first time Montana State sends multiple steeplechasers to the same NCAA Championship.
MSU wasn’t done stacking its contingent to send to Eugene.
Drake Schneider raced in the second heat of the men’s 400 hurdle quarterfinals on Friday. Schneider was neck-and-neck with the leaders the entire race and wound up second in his heat with a time of 49.33 which was the second fastest mark of his career. His second-place finish in the heat automatically earned Schneider a spot at the national championships.
Schneider will be making his second appearance at Hayward Field – previously competing last summer in the US Olympic Team Trials – but first at the NCAA meet. His time in the prelims was the fourth fastest overall in the field and was faster than any competitor in the East Preliminary Rounds. Schneider is also the first Bobcat men’s 400 hurdler to ever qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Hamilton, Taylor and Schneider, along with Colby Wilson who qualified for the NCAA meet in the pole vault on Wednesday, sets a program record of four men’s athletes to advance to the same national championship. The Bobcats’ previous best of three was set in 1997.
Two other Bobcats participated in the West Preliminaries on Friday. Ben Perrin ran in the first of two heats of the 5,000. He stuck with the lead pack for more than 4,200 meters but would finish 14th in his heat and 27th overall with a time of 13:53.28. Ian Fosdick made his first prelims showing in the triple jump but didn’t record a mark in his three opportunities at jump attempts.
Montana State winds down the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds on Saturday. Lucy Corbett is scheduled to compete in the women’s high jump which begins at 1:30 p.m. MT. Alex Hellenberg is slated to take part in the triple jump that starts at 5 p.m. MT.