BOZEMAN -- Six Saints hit NAIA-A Qualifying standards, two more hit NAIA-B standards and had seven event titles at the Montana State Bobcat Preview at Brick Breeden Fieldhouse in Bozeman Saturday.
On top of the qualifying marks and the event wins, the Saints also notched a considerable number of personal bests and showed improvement across the board.
“We might have had the best meet that we have ever had as a program today,” head coach Harry Clark said. “We had two dozen lifetime PRs today. We had big improvements across the board. Our freshmen came in guns blazing, and we looked ready to go. It was just a blast today.”
Junior Hannah Porch had a big day. She hit an 18-foot-3.75 mark in the long jump to with the event by 11 centimeters and hit the NAIA-A standard. She followed that up with an NAIA-B standard and a first-place finish in the 60-meter dash. Her altitude adjusted time of 7.74 is just 2/100s off of the NAIA-A mark. She also ran a great leg in the 4x400-meter relay that finished first.
“Hannah has been great for us since she stepped onto campus,” Clark said. “But if today is any indication of what she is going to do this season, she is stepping up in a huge way. I expected improvement out of her, but what I saw today was stunning.”
Jack Dunley won the 800-meter dash with a time of 1:55.6, hitting the NAIA-A standard, teammate Darren Hecker was just off of the NAIA-B mark.
“Our 800 guys looked great right out of the shoot,” Clark said. “They were in two different heats, and each won their heat, so it is encouraging to see that this early. They are going to push each other all season and make each other much better.”
Keaton Brady hit the A standard and won the pole vault with a vault of 16-feet-0.75. Janie Reid and Sam Mundel went 1-2 in the NAIA with just one weekend of meets.
Freshman Josh Malone was impressive in the high jump in his Carroll debut, taking second and hitting the NAIA-B mark, just two centimeters off of the “A” standard.
Chris Emter was third in the shot put and surpassed the NAIA-A mark by over two feet with a throw of 53-feet-5.5.
“To have these marks, this early is something that will pay big dividends going forward,” Clark said. “It takes a lot of pressure off of our athletes, and I am thrilled with their performances.”
There were also strong performances from the multi-event athletes, a few in their first collegiate meet. Although the meet didn’t have official multi-event scoring, the Carroll athletes competed in a bevy of events.
“All of the multi kids had some huge PRs which is exciting,” Clark said. “We had kids out there running the hurdles for the first time in competition in their lives. They all did great, and I can’t wait to see what the can do this season.”
Clark was also impressed with the strong contingent of Carroll fans in attendance. The following was noticeable, even from the rival coaches.
“You look across the stands, and there was so much purple out there, and they weren’t sitting on their hand either, they were loud. It was awesome to see,” Clark said. “I had comments from the other coaches, and our athletes appreciate the support.”
The Saints are now off until Jan. 12 when they return to MSU for the MSU Invitational.