By COLTER NUANEZ
Paige Squire and Cristian Soratos lived to run another day.
Each of the Montana State seniors advanced to the NCAA West Regional meet finals after posting qualifying marks in their respective races on Thursday afternoon. Squire, a senior hurdler from Corvallis, and Soratos, a senior distance runner from Salinas, California, will compete on Friday evening in Austin, Texas. Squire will compete in the 400-meter hurdles at 5:45 p.m. MST and Soratos will run the 1,500 on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. MST.
"Both of these athletes have a great chance to advance to the NCAA Championships," MSU head coach Dale Kennedy said in a press release. "They're both capable of running faster than they did today. I'm excited to watch them compete tomorrow and represent Montana State."
Squire, the Big Sky Conference champion in the long hurdles, placed seventh overall in the first round, finishing second in her heat in 59.13 seconds. Earlier this season, the senior moved up to No. 2 on MSU’s all-time Top 10 list with a time of 58.88. Squire earned three All-Big Sky honors at the outdoor championships in the 100-meter hurdles, 400 hurdles and the 4x400 relay.
Soratos won his heat, the slowest of the four in the 1,500. The Big Sky Conference meet Most Valuable Athlete ran a 3:49.81, which is more than 10 seconds off his best time of the year. The indoor All-America placed 21st overall with his qualifying time. Soratos, the MSU record holder in the 800 and the 1,500, had the third-best qualifying time in the West and the sixth-best in the country entering the regional.
Senior Heather Demorest, the Big Sky women’s Most Valuable Athlete, finished 23rd in the 1,500 on Friday to just miss the finals. The Darby native will compete in the 3,000-meter steeplechase finals on Friday evening. The captain has the 11th-best qualifying time in the region entering the event.
Senior sprinter Chantel Jaeger finished 29th in the 400, also missing the cut to compete in the finals. Jaeger ended her career as a Bobcat today.
“Chantel has been a great part of this program and will definitely be missed,” Kennedy said. “The sprinters to follow will have big shoes to fill.”