BOZEMAN — Montana State's cross country teams get back to racing this Friday at a high-level competition when they participate in the 2021 FSU Invitational/Pre-Nationals meet.
The event, hosted by Florida State in Tallahassee at Apalachee Regional Park, is the site of this year's NCAA Championships scheduled for Nov. 20.
Both teams were assigned to the Garnet fields, featuring the toughest competition at the meet. The men's 8-kilometer race is scheduled for 6 a.m. MT while the women's 6-kilometer race follows at 6:35 a.m.
"It's an incredibly strong field," said Lyle Weese, Montana State's program director. "I'm excited about our teams having a chance to go up against a field at this level. The race will be extremely competitive and have a lot of great teams, but also just have a giant field of competitors so it will be a different environment for us. We're looking forward to seeing how we stack up."
MSU's men's squad hopes to find its way into a spot among nationally ranked teams. Eleven teams are ranked among the 30 in the USTFCCCA coaches' poll.
Another three are receiving votes. In all, the Bobcats will be competing against 38 teams. The race includes Big Sky foes Northern Arizona (No. 1 nationally) and Weber State (No. 25), along with top five teams in Notre Dame (No. 2) and BYU (No. 5).
Montana State's women's team will be racing with 36 teams in the 6K race. The field has 10 nationally ranked teams along with seven receiving votes.
"The men's team has a goal to be in the top 10," Weese said. "Hopefully they can finish even a little higher than that, but a top 10 showing would be a good one. Our women's team has struggled in years past at this meet, so I think we really want to just go in there and have a solid race and finish higher than we have recently. A finish in the middle of the pack would be an incredibly strong team performance."
Representing the Bobcat men will be Riley Collins, Duncan Hamilton, Rob McManus, Ben Perrin, Matthew Richtman, Owen Smith, Levi Taylor and Cooper West. The Bobcat women's squad features Mya Dube, Grace Gilbreth, Samantha Kelderman, Alex Moore, Camila Noe, Hannah Perrin, Lauren Stanford and Elena Vandersloot.