By COLTER NUANEZ
Nine Montana State Bobcats will compete one more time this weekend at the NCAA track & field Outdoor Championships.
Earlier in the week, the NCAA announced the field for the NCAA preliminary regional meet set to begin Thursday in Austin, Texas. The top 48 marks in the region in each track or field advance to the first round of the event and will compete for a chance to advance to the national meet in Eugene, Oregon next month.
“It’s great for our program to be visible on a national stage,” MSU head coach Dale Kennedy said in a press release. “I’m excited to see these athletes compete for a shot at nationals with some of the best athletes in the country.”
Among the nine athletes who’s outdoor seasons continue, five are females and four are males. Five are seniors who could be competing for the last time as Bobcats.
Senior distance standouts Cristian Sororatoes and Heather Demorest, senior thrower Sean Ferriter, senior hurdler Paige Squire and senior sprinter Chantel Jaeger headline the group. Javelin throwers junior Tanner Gambill and sophomore Ty Bermes will look to stay hot after a stellar Big Sky Championship and junior Casey Teska will compete in the pole vault. Dawn Blevins, a sophomore from Charlo, was added to the field after a late scratch. The standout will compete in the javelin.
Soratos and Demorest likely have the best chance to chase regional championships after standout weekends in Cheney, Washington at the league championship meet. Soratos, a product of Salinas, California, and Demorest, a Darby native, each earned Most Valuable Athlete honors at the Big Sky meet. Soratos won the 1,500 meters and the 800 meters and placed in the 5,000. Demorest won the 3,000-meter steeplechase in a Big Sky-record time while also winning the title in the 5,000 and taking second in the 1,500.
Soratos will compete in the 1,500 in Austin. His Big Sky-record time of 3:39.65 is the third-best in the region and the seventh fastest in the country. Demorest’s steeplechase record time of 10:14.21 is the 11th-fastest in the West region. Her time of 4:24 in the 1,500 narrowly qualified her for that race as well.
Ferriter, a Butte Central product, will compete in the hammer throw after placing second in the event at the conference championships. Ferriter’s career-high throw of 211-08 ranks 14th in the West Region.
Gambill, a Forsyth native, and Ty Bermes, a Roberts product, have been a one-two punch all season in the javelin, ranking 21st and 23rrd in the West. Gambill threw 223-08 at the conference championships, winning the event by more than feet. Bermes had a season-high of 221-02 at the Weber State Open in April and placed second at the Big Sky championships.
Squire come into the prelims ranked No. 9 in the 400-meter hurdles, running her fastest time of 58.16 to win the Big Sky in the event. Squire currently sits at 29th in the country.
Jaeger will represent the ‘Cats in the 400 with the 34th best time in the region. The senior finished second in the Big Sky last weekend, crossing the finish line in 53.96, her fastest time this season.
Teska and Blevins are the lone field athletes competing for the Bobcats on the women’s side. Teska cleared a height of 13-05.25 at the end of April. Teska earned All-Big Sky honors with a second-place finish at the championships. Blevins finished 7th at the Big Sky meet with a throw of 144-07.