The Saints, after weeks of training, finally had a chance to strut their stuff on Saturday at Vigilante Stadium in the Carroll College Open.
“Today was getting on the track,” Saints coach Harry Clark said. “Getting competition. You know how it is when you practice forever. They’re all fired up to get on the track.”
Athletes from Great Falls, Rocky Mountain College and Montana Western, along with some unattached competitors, clashed on Saturday. The Saints men’s and women’s team won 25 of the 36 events, with the women winning the meet with 122 points to second-place Great Falls’ 35.
The men ended the meet with 88 points, followed by Great Falls’ 36.
"That’s the thing, we’re using this,” Clark said. “Training through it. It was nice to see the kids get after it."
The Saints scored wins in both 400-meter relays to start the meet. Carroll’s grouping of Monica White, Keely Ehmann, Hannah Porch and Brooke Endy ran a time of 48.66. The men’s side consisted of Bryan Anderson, Kyle Nickol, Josiah Osborne and Steven Helm, and recorded a 43.49.
“We had a few good surprises,” Clark said. “That relay team went really well. Short and long. Times weren’t that great. It was awful windy. That wind was rough.”
Carroll’s women’s 1,600 relay won in a time of 4:06:18, with the team consisting of Ehmann, White, Hannah Porch and Kara Barth.
The men’s side also took home a convincing win, running a time of 3:29:55 behind Bryan Anderson, Jack Dunley, Helm and Nickol.
Carroll’s standout distance runners each scored wins in the 1,500, as Leah Esposito won by a staggering 24 seconds with a clocking of 4:40.87 to top the field. Chance Hyatt won on the men’s side, edging Rocky Mountain’s Isaac Petsch at the line after a battle down the entire homestretch with a time of 4:01.93. Petsch finished in 4:01.98.
“We’re coming off a high-intensity indoor season this year,” Clark said. “Easing into outdoor a little bit. We ran really hard through March. I was being nice to them today. That doesn’t happen.”
Clark said athletes didn’t compete in all of their events, some opting to only run in one of their better events to conserve energy and not risk any early season injuries.
Crystal Schmidt landed a pair of qualifications in the javelin and high jump, winning both events with a throw of 40.89 meters and a jump of 1.65 meters.
“Schmidt had a really nice day,” Clark said.
The Saints will focus their efforts toward the Montana Open at the end of the month, which will be a meet at which the Saints will really measure how they're stacking up. Before then, the team will travel to Spokane next weekend, Billings the weekend after that, and then compete again at Vigilante in the Trudnowski Open on April 21.
In previous years, the Saints had traveled out to compete in the Oregon Relays held at Historic Hayward Field in Eugene. The event is canceled this year, however, as Hayward is renovated to host the World Championships in 2021.