The Saints racked up 27 event wins and Gunnar Hilborn picked up a national qualification as both the men’s and the women’s team cleaned up at the annual Trudnowski Open on Friday at Vigilante Stadium. It was the second and final home meet of the year for Carroll.
Hilborn pole vaulted 4.60 meters, which was exactly what he needed to get the NAIA’s B qualifying standard. Winning the event, he became the 13th Saint to pick up a national qualification this season -- and he wasn't the only one. Despite scattered showers and intermittent heavy rain, five individuals and the men's 4x800-meter relay team either hit or bettered their NAIA qualifying marks.
Chris Emter won the shot put and earned NAIA A qualification with a throw of 52 feet, 1 1/4 inches.
The 3,200-meter relay team edged out Rocky Mountain after an exciting back-and-forth race to win with a time of 7:46.58 and hit the NAIA B standard. The Saints are ranked fifth in the NAIA, just over five seconds out of the top spot.
On the women's side, Mika Robinson won the pole vault with a mark of 11 feet, 5 3/4 inches, and also hitting the mark for the first time this season was Terah Cundith. Both have now hit the NAIA B standard.
Leah Esposito closed out her career at Vigilante Stadium with a win in the 5,000. Esposito has competed at Vigilante through eight seasons, including her time at Helena High.
Janie Reid won the 10K, just six days after winning the half-marathon at the Buttercup Run in Arlee,.
Going into the meet, the Saints’ qualification list included Esposito (1,500 meter, 3,000 steeplechase), Kara Barth (400), Monica White (400), Crystal Schmidt (high jump, javelin), Robinson (pole vault), Emter (shot put) David Barnett (javelin), Layne Ryerson (half marathon) and Reid (half marathon) and the women’s 1,600-meter relay team.
Multiple athletes were discussing how tough it was to run on Friday, including 400-meter winner Kyle Nickol, commenting on the slick conditions with teammate Steven Helm and a race official moments after he finished.
The women’s team won the event with a score of 110 points, followed by MSU Billings (39), Great Falls (27), Rocky Mountain College (7) and Montana Western (2).
On the men’s side, Carroll claimed the meet with a score of 91 points. The Saints were followed by MSU Billings (39), Great Falls (22), Montana Western (11) and Rocky Mountain (8).
The Saints’ next meet is at the University of Montana next weekend.