LOGAN, Utah — The Montana cross-country teams wrapped up their 2017 season on Friday morning at the NCAA Mountain Regional.
The women’s team finished 17th out of 19 on the Steve and Dona Reeder Cross Country Course. The men’s team was 18th out of 18.
Coach Vicky Pounds’ women’s team was hoping for a top-12 finish, but an injury to Emily Pittis, who placed maybe 75 spots lower than she would have at full health, cost the Grizzlies in the standings.
Pittis, the team’s most consistent runner all fall and All-Big Sky Conference two weeks ago after finishing ninth at Ogden, Utah, placed 125th in the 133-runner field.
“The last few weeks she’s been struggling with a calf injury. We just tried to get her to the end of the season, but it was obviously giving her quite a bit of pain,” said Pounds.
“It was disappointing for her. She stayed in the race to see what she could do for the team, but it wasn’t what she would have planned for her last race of the season.”
Maryn Lowry led Montana, placing 54th in a time of 21:24 on the six-kilometer course. Jessica Bailey finished 71st in 21:38, four seconds faster than last year’s regional race on the same course.
Reagan Colyer rounded out the team’s top three, finishing 92nd in a time of 21:58. “It wasn’t where we wanted to be, but overall it was a positive experience,” said Pounds.
Led by former Griz runner Makena Morley, who came in seventh overall, Colorado, the nation’s top-ranked team, edged out No. 2 New Mexico 62-70. No. 18 BYU, No. 15 Utah State and Utah filled out the top five.
New Mexico’s Ednah Kurgat won the women’s race in a time of 20:01.
Jonathan Eastwood led the men’s team with a 58th-place finish, covering the 10-kilometer course in a time of 31:58, a 62-second improvement on his time on the same course last November.
He finished 17th among the Big Sky Conference runners who were competing.
“Jonathan’s head was in a good spot. This performance will be really good for his confidence going into track season,” said Pounds.
No other Grizzly cracked the top 100 in the 121-athlete field.
Northern Arizona, the defending national champion and this year’s top-ranked team, won the men’s race with 49 points, putting its top five in the top 18.
BYU, ranked second nationally, was second, edging out No. 5 Colorado by a single point. No. 8 Colorado State was fourth, No. 16 Air Force came in fifth.
Colorado’s Joe Klecker won the race in a time of 30:13.
Montana’s indoor track and field season will begin the first weekend of December at Eastern Washington’s Candy Cane X in Cheney.