By MAKENZIE JOHNSON/ Montana State News

The MSU track team leaves Thursday for this weekend’s Indoor Big Sky Conference Championship held in Pocatello, Idaho.

Michael Asay, a fourth-year distance runner, is going into the weekend ranked sixth in the Big Sky Conference in the mile. He is signed up for the 3,000 meter run, the mile, and DMR (distance medley relay). The men’s DMR team is ranked first.

“We don’t know what we’re ranked as a team yet,” Asay says of the team’s expected rank in conference.

He says that competing schools to watch will be Northern Arizona University and Southern Utah.

Asay says that the distance team has been preparing for a strong finish in the indoor season, with running over 80 miles a week during the peak of the season. Other aspects of the team have also been stepping up for a shortage of teammates.

“Even though we’re sitting most of the jumpers this season, I’d expect Kropp to do pretty well,” Asay says of teammate Ryan Kropp, who won the double dual meet in the pole vault against Montana and Weber State.

Asay says that teammates to watch would be Chris Wilson in the 60- and 200-meter sprints, Christian Soratos and Jacob Kirk in the mile, and Riley Sampson in the throws.

According to Paige Squire, who is competing in the hurdles, DMR and 4×400-meter relay, the girls’ team is going into the championships ranked fifth overall.

She says that Montana and Weber will be the main competition for the girls’ team.

“This week we took lifting off to rest a bit before the meet. We’ve been trying to be super preventative with injuries,” Squire says of the team’s preparation for the weekend.

Coaches have been adamant this season about giving people rest days if they show any signs of injury or sickness, according to Squire.

Girls to watch this weekend will be Kaylee Schmitz in the 800, Chantel Jaeger in the 200, Sonia Antar in the 400, Rachel Atwood in the 3,000 meters, and both 4×4 relay teams, Squire says.

In the 4×4 relays, UM, Weber State, and Montana State are expected to be neck and neck.

“All of our seed times are really close. It should be a good race!” Squire says via text messages.

All 11 Big Sky Conference schools will be attending the meet. The multi events started Thursday, track events start Friday at 4 p.m., and field events also start Friday at 3 p.m, according to the Bobcat athletic website. Events will go through this Saturday.

Efforts to reach coaches were made, but they were not available for comment.

– Edited by Jennifer Webster

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