The Big Sky Conference championship meet took place this last weekend in Bozeman. The indoor track at Brick Breeden fieldhouse hosted the best of the Big Sky - and, from a distance perspective this meant Patrick Casey versus David McNeil. Casey, the super sophomore from Montana State (Laurel High School grad) has been on fire this indoor season (not that his frosh and soph XC or frosh track seasons were all that bad). McNeil, a senior from Northern Arizona (and Australian native) finished second overall in the 2009 NCAA Division I cross country championships.
Casey had gotten second in the 800 in an NCAA provisional qualifier and (I believe) a new personal best of 1:49.97 (missing the title by an oh so close 0.03 seconds)
McNeil took the 3,000 title in an NCAA provisional qualifier in 8:11.93. Pretty fast time, especially at the Bozeman altitude. He had a confortable separation of about 10 seconds on the second place finisher (teammate Ahmed Osman).
The two studs then met in the at between distance of 1-mile. After sitting comfortably in the pack for the first 1,000 meters, Casey went to the lead with about 600 meters left. McNeil came pushing up to Casey's shoulder; but, with a 54 second last 400, Patrick wasn't going to be denied. His 4:09.92 was a stellar tme and his 3rd sub 4:10 indoor mile of the season. He beat out McNeil (4:10.14) and NAU's Jordan Chipangama (4:10.75)(who had beaten out Casey in the 800).
To see a video of the mile, check out this you tube vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQ4AmYh8EOg
A few other highlights from the meet:
Brooke Andrus of MSU (Bigfork) placed second in the 800 and Chloe Palakovich of Idaho State (Whitehall) placed 6th.
Heather Haug of MSU won the women's mile, with Kara Dewalt (UM) getting second (both are Montana natives).
Getting 8th and 9th in the mile were Montana natives and ISU students Zac Barrett and John Ricardi.
Katrina Drennen of UM won the women's 3,000 in a stellar time of 9:47.
Ricardi also came back to get 11th in the 3,000 meters.
Full results can be found at http://www.montana.edu/cats/frameset3.htm
Pretty solid performances by the Montana kids. The home grown crop rose to the top of the top of the talent pool and showed that they can compete against some of the best of the kids from around the country.
Congrats to all the kids who competed and good luck to those who may be fortunate enought to qualify for the big show at the NCAA indoor championships.
See you on the roads, tracks and trails.
The Muddy Buzzard