MSU makes mile history

Patrick Casey rose to the occasion, just like he said he would. Heather Haug had enough at the end, just like she always does. In a span of just over nine minutes, Montana State made school history at the Big Sky Conference Indoor Track and Field Championships Saturday afternoon. Wins by Haug and Casey gave MSU double mile wins for the first time. Haug started it off, winning the women’s mile, the first Bobcat female to earn that honor in more than 20 years. Haug, who always had plenty left for the last lap when she was at Park High School, was in fifth place on lap 5 (of eight). That’s when things – and Heather – really got cooking. By lap 6, she had moved into an outside lane, ready to make her move, and she was in second place at the bell. With the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse crowd rising to its feet and chanting “M-S-U, M-S-U,” Haug tracked down her final prey on the final turn. Better yet, she passed a runner wearing maroon in the process, the University of Montana’s Kara DeWalt. Haug won in 4 minutes, 57.88 seconds to DeWalt’s 4:58.69. For perspective, Haug ran this same race a year ago in Flagstaff in 5:09.44. Soon after it was Casey’s turn. The Laurel Locomotive, like Haug, did not charge out to the front. Casey did take the lead halfway through, but it was Gardiner High grad John Ricardi of Idaho State leading the pack when Lap 5 began. Casey took the lead back and held it for the final three trips around the track, looking back briefly just before the finish line to see Northern Arizona’s David McNeill just a stride back in second. McNeill quickly held his hand out to congratulate Casey, who finished in 4:09.92 to McNeill’s 4:10.14. Manhattan’s Zac Barrett was eighth in 4:16.00 for Idaho State and Ricardi was ninth. Casey didn’t get his automatic qualifier for the NCAA meet, but he became MSU’s first men’s mile champ since 2000, when Mike Feist did it. Better yet, Casey’s win gave the Bobcats a five-point lead over NAU in the team standings with the met beginning to wind down. Even if the men don’t finish on top, the ‘Cats should vastly improve on last year’s sixth-place finish.


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February 2010
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