(Editor’s note: Montana State University press release)
BOZEMAN – The Montana State cross country teams displayed their depth and experience as the Bobcats cruised to first-place team showings at the 42nd MSU Cross Country Classic on Saturday, Sept. 15, at Bridger Creek Golf Course.
The Bobcats began their season-opening meet by taking eight of the top 13 spots in the men’s individual standings. MSU’s top five accounted for the top nine finishes, leading to a team score of 22 points. That mark edged Idaho State (35) and Montana (76) in the team standings.
Redshirt junior Ty Mogan paced the MSU men’s squad in the 5-mile race from the start. He finished first in the race with a time of 24 minutes, 51.37 seconds. Freshman and Bozeman native Duncan Hamilton made his debut for the ‘Cats. He completed a strong effort by placing second in a time 25:16.69.
Sophomore Collin Buck took fourth overall by crossing the line in 25:36.91. He was followed by freshman Cooper West (25:36.91) who placed sixth and freshman Isaac Schmidt rounded out the team score by taking ninth in a time of 25:48.41.
Finishing in the Bobcats’ top seven were Riley Collins (25:56.15) and Braden Stremcha (25:59.10) who placed 10th and 11th, respectively. Brandon Hough finished 13th overall with a time of 26:04.99, Justice Lamer crossed the line in 20th in 26:22.06, Anthony Schmalz placed 24th in 26:31.86, Logan Morely followed in 25th at 26:35.16 and Gannon Chamberlain took 28th with a time of 26:54.49.
“It just shows how far we’ve come in the past year on the men’s side,” Weese said of MSU’s performance to start the day. “Our depth is a lot better and we were stronger up near the front. We’ve taken huge steps from last year to this year.”
The MSU women were up next and controlled the three-mile race and earned the team title. They easily distanced themselves from the pack, with the Bobcats scoring 18 points with their top six taking the top nine individual spots. Montana (61) narrowly finished ahead of Idaho State (63) in the team standings.
Montana State senior Kelsi Lasota placed atop the individual standings by crossing the finish line in 17:13.56. She was followed by sophomore Samantha Kelderman who finished runner-up in a time of 17:19.99.
Newcomer Gillian Maness placed fourth overall with a time of 17:23.98 and senior Layne Oliver took fifth with a mark of 17:27.01. Junior Madison Liechty (17:54.06) rounded out MSU’s scoring lineup with a ninth-place showing, just ahead of Kendra Larson who placed 10th with a mark of 17:54.37. Sophomore Joby Rosenleaf rounded the Bobcat top seven by taking 16th in a time of 18:17.29.
“It was an exciting race,” Weese said. “It was good to see Kelsi and Samantha up there at the front, but also good to see Gillian and Layne up near the front as well. Madison and Kendra had solid races too which also helped us. It really showed our depth because we had some of our top runners out today and we were still able to come out here and perform really well.”
Freshman Kathleen Glockner (18:30.11) led the remaining Bobcat contingent competing by taking 20th overall. Sophomore Ellen Brooks (18.41.67) finished 23rd, sophomore Sierra Tucker (18:43.75) placed 24th, freshman Lexi Kyro (18:57.23) followed in 25th and sophomore Jaycie Schmalz finished 28th overall with a time of 19:05.78.
“Cross country is all about trying to have as small of a split as possible,” Weese said. “Often times, the fifth runner’s performance is almost more important than the first runner’s in terms of their impact on the team score. We’re always trying to bring up the back of the pack.
“Over the next two weeks, we’ll really concentrate on some race-specific workouts. We’ve done a lot of general stuff with a time trial and a race today. We haven’t done a lot of race-specific stuff yet, so we’ll have some more workouts on both sides to prepare for the race-specific demands.”
The Bobcats split their lineups during their next competitive action in two weeks. Half the Bobcat team will travel to Missoula on Sept. 28 to compete in the Montana Invitational, while the other half heads to Minnesota to participate in the Roy Griak Invitational.