HELENA — After more than a month hiatus, the Carroll College indoor track and field team is heading back to Bozeman.
And coach Harry Clark foresees more indoor championship qualifications on Friday at the Montana State University Invitational.
“With the two relays (running), I’m thinking about 12 more (qualifiers) this weekend,” Clark said. “That should put us at about 20 at the end of the weekend. I’m looking at 26 by nationals. That’s our goal. That will give us a good chance at a trophy.”
The Saints last took to the track on Dec. 2 in the Bobcat Preview, an anomaly as far as the Saints’ schedule is concerned. Carroll relished the chance to get a meet in that early, and walked away with eight individual national qualifiers.
Carroll will be one of six teams competing in Bozeman. Alongside Montana State and Carroll will be Montana, Montana Western, MSU-Billings and University of Providence.
During the winter break (Carroll students don’t start classes until Tuesday), the Saints have stayed busy. While the weather outside has dropped low enough that running outdoors was off the table for awhile, some of the Saints who traveled back home to warmer climates were able to get some workouts in.
“It was chilly out,” Clark said. “I had about five or six kids in town. We do a lot of pole vaulting and throwing. Running-wise, a lot of kids were more than happy to get some good workouts out of state.”
In particular, Clark is excited to see his distance medley relay teams get on the track and qualify. The men’s group consists of Darren Hecker, Daniel Pendergrast running the 800, Jack Dunley in the 400 and Chance Hyatt running the mile.
On the women’s side, a team made up of Macala Fifield in the 1200, Brigid Bradshaw in the 800, Keely Ehmann in the 400 and Samantha Mundel in the mile is looking to qualify in Bozeman.
“It will be our first time to run the DMR this time, too,” Clark said. “We get our distance runners together and we’re looking forward to that.”
Among the Saints qualifiers already is Hannah Porch, who hit the NAIA A-standard in the long jump and hit the NAIA B-standard in the 60-meter dash.
Dunley, who will be a part of the distance medley relay, also qualified already in the 800.
Keaton Brady hit the NAIA A-standard in the pole vault.
Janie Reid and Mundel both qualified with the A-standard in the 5,000-meter race.
Freshman Josh Malone qualified in the high jump as he hit the NAIA B-standard.
And Chris Emter qualified in the shot put with an NAIA A-standard mark.