Nationally Ranked Montana State Men’s Cross Country Team Aim To End Another Drought | Bobcats MSU
BOZEMAN – Lyle Weese fondly remembers the 2002 cross country season.
The Montana State cross-country head coach was a senior at MSU at the time, and his all-American performance helped the men’s team reach the NCAA championships in the fall.
Neither the men nor the women of MSU made the national meeting for the next 19 years. This drought has a good chance of ending in the coming weeks.
Bobcat men are currently ranked No. 30 in the latest NCAA Division I Men’s National Cross Country Coaches Poll. This is the first time they have reached the top 30 since 2004, and it bodes well for their chances of domestic encounters.
“When I came in we had a very solid group of guys who all had pretty similar mindsets – mindsets based on improvement and growth – and we really wanted to take Montana State to the next level in the NCAA.” said Duncan Hamilton, an MSU junior. 406mtsports.com Tuesday. “We are finally seeing the product of years of hard work.
The Big Sky Cross Country Championships are on Friday in Hillsboro, Oregon. The MSU men’s team will need to perform well there to qualify for the NCAA Mountain Region Championships, which will determine the national fate of the teams.
The MSU men are ranked second among the mountain region’s teams, but the gap between the Bobcats and the teams below them barely exists.
MSU was fourth among the Big Sky teams in the NCAA poll before the most recent. The Bobcats topped Southern Utah and Weber State, along with six non-conference schools, to place in the standings. Big Sky Northern Arizona program is No. 1 and is the reigning national champion.
“It’s one of the best conferences in all of the NCAA,” Weese said. “We’re up against some of the best and we’re going to do our best. “
Hamilton is the main reason for MSU’s male success. The Bozeman graduate finished 12th at the pre-nationals earlier this month and set a race record at the MSU Cross Country Classic in September. In the spring, Hamilton reached the steeplechase finals at the US Olympic Track and Field Trials in the United States and was fifth in the same event at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
As pristine as his resume may seem, Hamilton would like to accomplish more. He reached the NCAA Cross Country Championships for the first time last season and placed 110th. His goal is to take first place in the conference meet and become an All-American.
Bozeman graduate Camila Noe became the first woman from MSU to achieve cross country status in America when she finished 30th at the NCAA meet in 2019. The now sophomore, who also set a race record at the MSU Classic, missed the national championships in the pandemic-shortened previous season, so she’s hungry to come back.
“It’s definitely the accomplishment I’m most proud of,” Noe said. “It’s cool to have been able to maintain Bozeman’s pride.”
If Noe and Hamilton both return, it will be the first time since 1995 that MSU has sent a male and female member of its cross-country programs to Nationals, according to MSU.
But individual prices are secondary to Hamilton. He and Weese know they have one of the best MSU men’s teams of this century, with strong contributions from runners such as Kalispell Flathead graduate Ben Perrin, Bradley University transfer Matthew Richtman and Laurel graduate. Levi Taylor. Weese said Richtman had taken “such a giant step forward.”
“From the start it was a priority to work for the team rather than the individuals,” said Hamilton. “In every training session and every race we just focus on having five to seven guys having a really good day.”
None of the MSU’s male riders are senior, so they should have a good chance of qualifying for the national championships if they miss next month’s meet, which will be held in Tallahassee, Fla. But the Bobcats have every intention of racing at Apalachee Regional Park on November 20.
“I feel like our program is finally starting to see results from Lyle’s training and all the hard work they’ve put in,” Noe said, referring to the # 30 rank. is really exciting to see that. Something for the women’s team to strive for.