AUSTIN, Texas —This is the Elite Eight of the 2013 Bobcat Track and Field season. Eight of MSU’s finest runners and throwers advanced out of the Big Sky Championships and lived to compete another day at the NCAA West Regional Preliminary meet beginning Thursday.
Essentially the first round and quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships, this group of Bobcats is primed and ready for the next step of the outdoor season. Kicking off the meet for MSU on Thursday, May 23, are Grant Grosvenor and Matt Tex in the 800. Grosvenor enters his second NCAA Regional meet ranked 22nd in the event with a lifetime best and program record time of 1:49.28, which he clocked back in April at the Mondo Mid-Major Challenge. Tex holds the 24 spot with 1:49.44, which he also did at the Mondo meet.
In 2012, Grosvenor placed 43rd overall in the West Region. The sophomore from Mill Creek, Wash. is coming off a runner-up performance at the Big Sky Championships. He also placed third in the 1,500. Grosvenor won both the indoor and outdoor 800 in 2012 at the conference meet.
Tex is making his first career appearance at the NCAA Regionals after winning his first individual conference title when he crossed the lined first in the 800 at the Big Sky meet two weeks ago.
On the second of the three-day meet, six Bobcats will make an appearance in their respective events. The day will begin with Sean “Diesel” Ferriter and David Phillips in the hammer throw. Phillips enters the meet seeded 11th, the highest of all MSU competitors. His recent throw of 64.97 (213-02), won him the Big Sky title and set a new program record. In 2012, Phillips just missed the cutoff to advance to the NCAA Championship when he placed 13th overall.
Ferriter, a Butte Central graduate, makes his debut at the NCAA Regionals bookending a hugely successful breakout year. He’s ranked 46th overall and will look to improve upon his lifetime best distance of 58.84m (193-0).
The shot put marks Trevor Gilreath’s third appearance at the regional meet. In 2012, he placed 42nd, while he came in 39th in 2011. This year, he enters the meet with a 25th seed. Gilreath finished with a silver medal that this year’s Big Sky outdoor meet.
Chris Wilson competes for the second time of his career at the regional meet. Last year, he ran the 100 and the 200, placing 42nd and 44th, respectively. On Friday night, he’ll compete solely in the 200. He ranks 28th prior to Friday’s race. Coming off a fourth place finish in the 100 at the conference meet and a second seed headed in the Big Sky 200 final, he will look for lifetime bests and higher finishes.
The final running event of Friday is the 3,000 steeplechase, which features Jacob Kirk in the men’s race and Heather Demorest in the women’s. Demorest is the lone women’s team representative competing in the meet.
Demorest is riding the momentum of her best season to date. Most recently, she earned her first individual all-conference honors after placing third in the 3,000 steeplechase at the Big Sky Championships. The junior from Darby, Mont. enters her first NCAA Regional with the 34th seed and will to cap off a huge year in style.
In the men’s race, Kirk represents the Blue and Gold in his first NCAA regional, as well. The junior, who has been a steady force in the distance events throughout his career, placed ninth in the steeplechase at Big Sky and ranks 14th in the West. Kirk’s seed time of 8:50.60 also came at the Mondo Mid-Major Challenge. His time set a new meet record and now ranks him fourth all-time in the program.
Pending the outcome of Thursday, Tex and Grosvenor may run in the quarterfinals of the 800 on Friday.
“We had a few surprises with our group for this meet,” said head coach Dale Kennedy. “However, we’re all really excited and pumped up to compete at this level and hope to see some of kids extend the season even more at the NCAA meet.”
Click here for the meet schedule, live results and more.
— MSU Sports Information