Christina Aragon, a two-time NCAA Division I All-American and Olympic Trials qualifier, highlights the entries for this year’s Montana Mile.
The Montana Mile, one of the most anticipated events for the opening ceremonies of the Big Sky State Games, will be at approximately 8:30 p.m. on Friday at Wendy’s Field at Daylis Stadium.
It will the 26th running for the men and 18th for the women. The Montana Mile is an invitational race featuring some of the state’s fastest high school, college and post-collegiate milers.
Defending champions Tyler Mogan and Tiahna Vladic both return to defend their 2016 titles.
The Montana Mile men’s record is 4:07.9 by Patrick Casey in 2010, while the women’s record is 4:53.9 by Lois Ricardi Keller in 2011.
Aragon, a Billings Senior graduate, earned All-America honors in both cross country and track and field her freshman season at Stanford University.
The two-time winner of the Montana Mile — 2013 and 2015 — was a 2016 Olympic Trials qualifier in the 1,500 meters and a bronze medalist in the 1,500 at the 2016 IAAF World Junior Championships. Aragon holds the Montana high school all-class records for the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters.
Her personal best for the mile is 4:37.
She will be joined by current Billings Senior runners Vladic, Jade Hallgrimson and Jaylyn Hallgrimson. Vladic won the Montana Mile in her debut last year and was the 2016 Class AA state cross country champion. She also qualified for the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Oregon.
This will be the first Montana Mile for the Hallgrimson sisters, who earned all-state honors at the Class AA state cross country meet last fall.
Other entries include Rocky Mountain College standout Mackenzie O’Dore of Joliet, Sarah Keller of Manhattan and Joby Rosenleaf of Butte. This will be O’Dore’s third Montana Mile. She was third last year.
Keller ran for Southern Nazarene University, while Rosenleaf competed for Butte High School. Rosenleaf will compete for Montana State this coming school year.
Mogan headlines a 14-runner field for the men’s race.
The large group includes Dawson LaRance and Isaac Petsch, both from Billings.
LaRance, a recent graduate of Billings Senior, won Class AA state championships this past spring in the 800, 1,600 and 1,600 relay and set all-class records in the 800 and 1,600 relay. Headed to the University of Minnesota this fall, LaRance also won the 800 at the Simplot Games and Stanford Invitational.
Petsch placed second in the 1,500 meters at the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships this past May for Rocky Mountain College. Competing in his fourth Montana Mile, Petsch has a personal best mile time of 4:19.6. He was third last year.
Brother Fred Petsch will be competing in his fifth Montana Mile. A two-time NAIA All-American, he holds five school records at Rocky and has run a personal-best time of 4:17 in the mile.
Former Battlin’ Bear standout Cesar Mireles will be in the Montana Mile for a second time. The K-12 health teacher in Richey, the 2013 Rocky graduate holds the school record for the indoor mile with a time of 4:08.
Representing Montana State Billings are Ivan Colmenero, Tyus Mendoza and Jorey Egeland, with Martin Ponce and Anthony Schmalz of MSU also in the field.
Riley Collins of Bozeman, a Bobcat signee. joins them along with current high school runners Teagan Olson of Great Falls and Levi Taylor of Laurel. The entries are joined by Will Rial of Missoula, who was the Ohio Athletic Conference steeplechase champion for John Carroll University.