Big Sky State Games opening

Isaac Petsch, shown here crossing the finish line at the 2018 Montana Mile, will try to defend his title on Friday.

BILLINGS — Former champions are looking to add another title at the 2019 Montana Mile.

Last year’s male champion, Billings West graduate and Rocky Mountain College incoming senior Isaac Petsch, is returning to the Montana Mile, a major event in the opening ceremonies of the 34th Big Sky State Games.

The Mile, which is in its 28th year for the men and the 18th for the women, is scheduled for Friday between 8:20 and 9 p.m. at Wendy’s Field at Daylis Stadium. It features the state’s fastest one-mile runners in high school and beyond.

Also back are 2017 men’s champ Dawson LaRance, a University of Minnesota junior-to-be, and fellow Billings Senior graduate Tiahna Vladic, the 2016 women’s winner who has signed with Boise State. Laurel grad and Montana State senior Ty Mogan, the 2016 male winner, will also compete in this year’s Mile.

Billings Senior graduate Christina Aragon won her fourth Mile title last year. The Stanford senior is not in this year’s women’s field.

Petsch won the race last year with a time of 4 minutes, 20.94 seconds. His personal-best mile time is 4:08, which is also Mogan’s PR.

The Montana Mile’s men’s record is 4:07.9, set by Laurel’s Patrick Casey in 2010. Lois Ricardi Keller of Pocatello, Idaho, set the women’s record in 2011 with a time of 4:53.9.

There are 15 men in this year’s Mile field. The competitors besides Petsch, LaRance and Mogan:

  • Glendive grad and Montana State-Billings sophomore to be Ase Ackerman
  • Billings Central grad and Rocky incoming junior George Beddow
  • Billings Senior senior-to-be Finn Bentler
  • Manhattan grad and MSUB senior-to-be Ivan Colmenero
  • Billings Senior and MSUB grad Jorey Egeland
  • Lewistown grad and MSUB incoming sophomore Drake Henson
  • Bainville and Carroll grad Chance Hyatt
  • Lewistown grad and Carroll sophomore-to-be Noah Majerus
  • Colstrip grad and MSUB redshirt senior Tyus Mendoza
  • Billings Senior incoming senior Owen Smith
  • Billings West grad and MSUB sophomore-to-be Logan Straus
  • Laurel grad and MSU signee Levi Taylor

There are nine women’s runners other than Vladic:

  • Manhattan grad and MSUB senior Nikki Aiken
  • Billings Skyview junior-to-be Emberlyn Gaschk
  • Colstrip grad and Minot State signee Whitney Hanson
  • Helena sophomore-to-be Kylie Hartnett
  • Manhattan junior-to-be Hallie Hemenway
  • Alta, Wyoming, native and Montana Western senior Mindy Kauffman
  • Joliet grad and former RMC and MSU runner MacKenzie O’Dore
  • Hamilton incoming junior Brynnli Poulsen
  • Helena sophomore-to-be Odessa Zentz
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