Grizzlies 5th, 8th at Montana State Open

Caleb Deitz

Caleb Deitz

Sept. 15, 2012

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For the second race this fall, junior Caleb Deitz and sophomore Carly Wilczynski led the Montana cross country teams. Deitz placed 20th and the Grizzlies finished fifth in the men's five-mile race Saturday morning at the Montana State Open at Bozeman. Wilczynski was 17th in the women's three-mile race.

The Montana women, who had just five athletes at the meet, finished eighth.

For the second straight race, UM cross country coach Courtney Babcock saw her men run mainly in a pack, a team dynamic missing in previous seasons.

Redshirt freshman Mark Messmer (26th, 26:21), sophomore David Norris (28th, 26:23) and freshman Matt Barker (29th, 26:24) all were within 12 seconds of Deitz's time of 26:12.

Junior Jordan Collison (35th, 26:45) and freshman Reid Longley (37th, 26:50) crossed the line shortly after.

"This was a good race for the guys, but not a great race," Babcock said. "But I'm still really encouraged by the group's potential.

"If we would have been just three seconds per mile faster per guy, which is really feasible, that whole group would have really moved up the standings."

Weber State's John Coyle won the race in a time of 24:43 and helped the Wildcats, with 48 points, win the team title by a single point over Wyoming and two points over Montana State. The three teams all rank between fifth and 10th in the region.

Wilczynski, who ran an 18:10, and sophomore Allie Parks, who finished 26th in 18:22, were both top 10 at the same meet last fall.

The precipitous drop-off among her top runners may appear to be alarming, but Babcock believes it could lead to success, at least for those two, when it really counts: later next month at the Big Sky Conference championships.

"Last season this was one of our best races of the year," she said. "Allie and Carly were both top 10, and we beat Montana State. When it got to conference, they beat us."

Given Montana's health issues -- the team is without three of its top five runners -- beating Montana State in Flagstaff, Ariz., on Oct. 27 won't happen.

Part of the reason is MSU has stocked up on young talent. The Bobcats, unranked in the region, beat No. 6 Utah by a point, 62-61, Saturday. Four of the team's top five finishers were freshmen and sophomores and all finished in the top 18.

Wyoming's Holly Page won the women's race in a time of 17:17.

Montana's other finishers were sophomore Autumn Taniguchi (64th, 19:43), redshirt freshman Mariah Meyer (70th, 19:53) and senior Bobbi Furrer (98th, 21:16).

The Grizzlies will next compete at their own Montana Invitational, which will be held Friday evening, Sept. 28, at the UM Golf Course.



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