Track capitalizes on last chance

Athletes from around the area crowded into the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse on Feb. 21, eager to make the most of the Bobcat Open, the last indoor track meet of the men’s and women’s regular season. The meet was the last chance for runners, jumpers and throwers to qualify for the conference championships and an opportunity for one final tune up for those already qualified. Aside from the Bobcats, the meet included competitors from Carroll College, Dickinson State University, Rocky Mountain College, University of Great Falls and a handful of unattached participants.

The meet was non-scoring, so there were no team scores, but the Cats came up big at home, winning 15 of 29 events. Junior Rory Bauer of MSU snagged a win in the men’s 400 meters and a conference berth with a time of 49.02 and teammate Sonia Antar, also a junior, winning with a time of 56.61 on the women’s side. The 55 meter dash also belonged to MSU, earning a sweep led by seniors Chris Wilson for the men and Chelsea Borque for the women. The Bobcat men went one and two in the weight throw, with junior Sean Ferriter (59’) and senior Derek Marsh (54’10.25”) taking first and second respectively, while the women got two on the podium, with juniors Mary Koppy (52’6.5’) grabbing first and Madison Wills (51’5.75”) placing third. Sophomore Casey Teska soared to a MSU victory in the women’s pole vault, with a 12’9.5” jump, beating the next closest competitor by nearly a full foot.

Overall, six Bobcat athletes earned new conference berths: sophomore Kaylee Schmitz (mile), senior Libby Madison (pole vault), Bauer (400 meter), senior Jacob Kirk (800 meter), senior Cristian Soratos (mile) and senior Matthew Tex (mile). Madison was the only new qualifier as the others had previously qualified in other events.

“Going into the Big Sky meet, it looks like we could maybe be taking travel teams of about 20-22 kids on either side,” MSU Head Coach Dale Kennedy remarked, “This may be the least number of qualifiers we had in quite a few years, but there’s some pretty high-end performers there.”