Some surprisingly good racing up front for at the Snow Joke ½-Marathon a couple of weeks ago. On a very cold Saturday morning, with less than ideal road/footing conditions, Jimmy Grant of Missoula defended his 2010 title. Breaking the tape in 1:14:56, Jimmy secured an almost 4 minute win over Adam Jensen (1:18:25). Great time given the conditions. After not hearing much from Jimmy during the fall season, he’s clearly back in the game for the 2011 racing circuit. A close 3rd went to Flathead High School distance ace Zac Perrin in 1:18:51.
On the master’s side, Scott Gaiser of Kalispell held off Brian Fruit of Missoula – 1:25:20 to 1:29:22
The women’s field was headed by Kara DeWalt in 1:23:57. But, the best female race of the day was on the master’s side. Julie Gilchrist of Ovando secured a win over the 2010 Master of the Year Debbie Gibson of Helena – 1:36:51 to 1:38:36.
You can find full results at http://www.cheetahherders.com/SJResults2011.html
The other big news from the Montana distance running scene was at the Big Sky Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships. And, two of the stars at that show were MSU’s Patrick Casey and UM’s Katrina Drennen.
Casey won his signature event with a 4:10 mile. In addition, he was a member of the winning Distance Medley relay team. Having an off day in the 800 (word has it that Patrick was fighting some illness in the week leading into the meet), he placed 6th @ 1:55.58. Pretty incredible talent when an off day gets you a 1:55!!!
Drennen probably did Patrick one better during the meet. Securing wins at the 3,000 meters and the DMR, she added a 2nd in the mile. Pretty big day of points for the Griz star.
Both will be in action on Friday, March 11th at the NCAA indoor track and field championships. Casey has the #1 seed in the men’s mile (based on his sub-4:00 effort at Bozeman earlier this year – and the subsequent altitude adjustment); and, his heat will take off at 4:00 p.m. Looking at the field, I think Casey should easily get himself into the final. And, if all falls into place properly – he clearly has a shot at an individual title.
Katrina will be next up at 4:15. Seeded 16th in the women’s field, she’ll have a harder path to make the finals. But, magic can always happen at the big meets – that’s why they base the results on the actual races and not the seed times.
Good Luck to both Patrick and Katrina at Nationals. Go Cats!!! Go Griz!!!!
The Muddy Buzzard