On Saturday, Sept. 19. the sun was shining brightly as runners gathered to compete in the 36th Annual MSU/Bozeman Running Company Cross Country Invitational. After months of preparation the runners finally got a chance to test their endurance on the foothills of mountains at Bridger Creek Golf Club.
The men’s teams took off first and MSU-Billings runner Robert Peterson cruised to victory with a time of 25:43 after jumping to an early lead. Two Montana State freshmen finished in the top 10: Justice Lamer third and Ty Mogan 10th. New MSU runner Diego Leon took 20th while still nursing a minor foot injury. “[Today] was my first major run in a couple of days,” said Leon, “It was pretty frustrating but I can’t be too upset, it felt great to finally get out there and compete at this level.” He used this race to test his ankle in preparation for the upcoming meets. Senior Jake Turner suffered an injury during the race that made him unable to finish. Despite these injuries the Cats were still able to finish second.
In the women’s race, University of Montana freshman Makena Morley won the race with a time of 16:43, beating her nearest opponent by more than 40 seconds. The MSU team took third overall with freshman Alyssa Snyder leading the way. Snyder’s third place finish showed she is more than ready for collegiate competition with her 5:51 per mile pace totaling 17:33. “It was my first college race so I wasn’t really sure what to expect yet.” That didn’t hinder her from making an incredible first impression. As a team the Bobcats had six runners in the top 25. MSU Head Coach Lyle Weese remarked that this team is “a cohesive unit, they train together, they believe in each other, and they really enjoy running with each other.”
Both teams are eager to continue their success with another shot at racing in two weeks at the Montana Invitational in Missoula. Weese is looking for improvement week by week as the season continues. With runners returning from injuries and freshman getting more experience the Bobcats expressed optimism for both teams. With only two races before the Big Sky Championships the Bobcats have opportunities to gain experience and contend for a conference title.