The Montana State men and women earned third and sixth place, respectively, at the 2021 Big Sky Conference Cross Country Championships on Friday, Oct. 29, held at Meriwether National Golf Course.
The MSU men’s squad finish ties its best showing in the last decade at the Big Sky meet with the Bobcats previously taking third in 2019 and 2013. The Bobcats’ top four individuals held firm for most of the 8-kilometer race and eventually claimed spots among the top 20 finishers.
Ben Perrin earned his first All-Big Sky performance in cross country by pacing the Bobcats. He finished sixth overall with a time of 23 minutes, 26.4 seconds. He was joined among the top 10 all-conference by Duncan Hamilton who took 10th by crossing the line in 23:58.8.
“Ben ran great,” said Lyle Weese, Montana State’s Dale Kennedy program director. “He’s ran really well at Big Sky meets before, so he tends to show up and do really great at these Big Sky Championships. It was awesome to see him breakthrough and run in front with some really solid runners.”
MSU’s scoring lineup received a boost from the efforts of Matthew Richtman and Cooper West. Richtman took 12th with a time of 24:05.3 and West finished 17th in 24:20.0.
“It was awesome to see Cooper have a breakthrough race, that’ll be huge for us as we head to the Mountain Region meet,” Weese said. “Richtman has been solid for us all year and he had another great race today. It was good to see some different guys step up for us.”
Levi Taylor rounded out MSU’s scoring lineup by placing 35th in 24:55.5. Owen Smith (25:06.4) took 40th, Riley Collins (25:24.9) placed 48th and Rob McManus (26:29.1) finished 66th.
The Bobcats scored 80 points as a team finishing ahead of Weber State (89) and Idaho (137). NAU won the team title with 30 points while Southern Utah followed with 53.
MSU’s women’s squad was led by Camila Noe who claimed her third All-Big Sky finish of her college career. Noe sat among the lead pack for most of the 5K race before eventually taking eighth with a time of 16:50.6.
“I think it will be important for Camila to come off of this meet feeling ready to go for the regional meet,” Weese said. “She just needs to go out there and put forth her best effort so she can see if she can get into the NCAA Championships.”
MSU’s scoring lineup included Mya Dube, Lauren Stanford, Samantha Kelderman and Kendra Lusk. Dube (17:48.2) finished 39th, Stanford (18:00.6) placed 44th, Kelderman (18:13.8) took 46th and Lusk (18:17.4) came in 51st. Also competing for the Bobcats was Grace Gilbreth (18:23.2) who finished 56th, Hannah Perrin (18:34.6) who took 62nd and Alex Moore (19:44.3) who finished 80th.
“It was good to get the women’s team into a Big Sky Championship race,” Weese said of the squad that features nearly all underclassmen. “Especially the freshmen with this being their first experience, it was good for them to have that and know what it’s like going forward.”
Montana State returns to competition on Nov. 12 when the Bobcats participate in the NCAA Mountain Region Championships. The meet hosted by BYU takes place at Timpanogos Golf Course.
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