Montana State University’s Duncan Hamilton made history on Friday night at Hornet Stadium during the NCAA Outdoor West Round 1. He set the world’s fastest time in the 3,000m steeplechase, beating his school and Big Sky record by completing the race in 16.23 minutes. Hamilton’s time is the second-fastest in collegiate steeplechase history, just behind Henry Rono from Washington State University who set a time of 8:05.40 in May 1978. Hamilton has now qualified for the NCAA Championship in Austin from June 7 to 10.
MSU’s head coach, Lyle Weas had informed Hamilton that this was a great opportunity to run fast. Hamilton said, “It was perfect conditions, running at sea level and in ideal temperatures, all of which encouraged me to go faster.” Hamilton slackened off in the second heat, and the next man nearly finished in his ninth position. “It’s bittersweet,” Hamilton said. “I’m a little disappointed. I was looking for the 8:15.00 mark. I felt good and strong in overcoming the hurdles. Last year they made history by making it to the nationals. “And now we’re three. I love the sport.” And it’s more fun when you have people around you.”
Levi Taylor, MSU’s first out, finished 4th in the Heat with a season-best time of 8:33.82. He had a bit of a problem with his position, but he fought his way through to the finish. Taylor said, “It was such a relief to run the first heat and set a good time.”
However, the final heat was not without drama. In the race, contested by Cashmere, Washington’s Product, and Utah Valley’s Joel Mendes, when crossing the final water hurdle, Mendes fell and MSU’s Sean McManus finished fourth. McManus said, “Getting over the last hurdle was pretty exhausting. I saw the three guys in front of me and knew what I had to do. This means a lot.” Both McManus and Taylor qualified for the NCAA Championship based on their time.
Ben Perrin finished 15th overall in the 5,000 meters on Friday night, finishing eighth in the opening heat with a time of 13:41.94. Lucy Corbett will end MSU’s stay at the NCAA Outdoor West First Round, which will compete in the high jump scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. Montana time on Saturday. Overall, Weas said, “It was one of the most amazing and strongest steeplechase races I’ve ever seen.”