(Editor's note: MSU Athletics release)
EUGENE, Ore. – Montana State steeplechasers Duncan Hamilton and Levi Taylor both advanced to Saturday’s 2022 Toyota USATF Outdoor Championship finals in the event with their performances in the prelims on Thursday night at Hayward Field.
Hamilton finished in the top five of heat 2 to qualify, while Taylor placed seventh in heat 1, but had the second fastest time of those not finishing in the top five of both heats to move on to his first finals appearance.
Taylor, a product of Laurel, posted a personal record of 8:27.05- over three seconds faster than his previous best of 8:30.20 set in the prelims at the NCAA Championships. Taylor started in the back of the pack before moving up in the final 1200-meters. Taylor finished seventh in the opening heat and recorded the seventh fastest time overall.
“I wanted to get straight to the back and clear traffic,” Taylor said. “I was focusing on a smooth hurdle. I was aware of the faster pace, and I was able to move up. Tomorrow, we’ll chill and get in a good run and then compete as hard as I can for a top three.”
Hamilton, a Bozeman High grad, stayed with the lead group early in the race before taking over the top spot at 1200-meters. He remained with the front pack the remainder of the race automatically qualifying with a fifth place finish in a clocking of 8:29.56.
“I started out in the third/fourth spots with the slower pace, but took the lead with three laps to go,” Hamilton said. “I knew the first heat was going to be the faster of the two, so I didn’t look much at the clock as I did the people around me.”
Hamilton and Taylor will run in the finals on Saturday at 3:04 p.m. (MT).
The Bobcat duo become the first in Montana State history to compete in a USATF finals in the same event, which wasn’t lost on Dale Kennedy Director of Track and Field Lyle Weese.
“It’s incredibly exciting to have two guys in the finals,” Weese said. “When you think that two guys from Montana are part of 14 racing for a US championship, it’s just unbelievable.”
Nike’s Daniel Michalski posted the fastest time in the prelims, winning the opening heat in 8:23.39. Benard Keter, US Army, captured the second race in 8:28.92.