Big Sky State Games

Editor's note: Big Sky State Games Release. 

The 2021 Montana Mile, sponsored by Sam’s Club, marks the 30th running for men and the 20th for women. The race is one of the most anticipated events of the Big Sky State Games Opening Ceremonies and is scheduled to take place (approximately) between 7:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. on Friday, July 16. The Montana Mile is an invited race featuring some of the state’s fastest high school, college, and post-collegiate milers.

The Women’s Montana Mile record is 4:53.9 set in 2011 by Lois Ricardi Keller. Patrick Casey set the Men’s record in 2010 in 4:07.9.

Men’s Field

Ase Ackerman

Ase Ackerman just completed his sophomore year at Montana State University-Billings, competing in steeplechase, 5000m, and cross country. This is his second year participating in the Montana Mile with a fourth place finish last year in a time of 4:26.91.

Carson Jessop

Formerly attending Corvallis High School, Carson Jessop is a 2016 Class A State Champion in the 1600 meter. Carson is now a senior at Montana State University Billings studying Biology and running events from the 3,000m to the 4x400 meter relay.

Carson Steckelberg

A junior this fall at Gallatin High School Carson Steckelberg holds the high school’s records for the 1600 meter, 3200 meter, and 5k. Carson was a 2021 team captain for the raptors and placed 5th at 2020 State AA Cross Country.

Colter Kirkland

Entering his final year as a Hamilton Bronco, Colter Kirkland placed second in State A Cross Country in 2019 and 2020. He holds four state championships in State A track and field with a mile PR of 4:26.97.

Daniel Colmenero

Montana State University- Billings runner, Daniel Colmenero, is running the Montana Mile for the 5th time. He was an All-State runner for Manhattan High School and part of Manhattan’s State Championship team. Colmenero’s best time in the mile is 4:26.

Duncan Hamilton

The Bozeman High School graduate is entering his senior year at Montana State University Bozeman studying Mechanical Engineering. Duncan placed 14th in the steeplechase at the recent USA Olympic Trials, and earned Division I All-American honors at the 2021 NCAA Championships. A Montana Gatorade Player of the Year winner in high school, Duncan Hamilton is a two time Big Sky Conference Champion in the 3000 meter steeplechase. 

Ignatius Fitzgerald

After running the Montana Mile and spending his summer at home in Missoula, Ignatius will attend the University of Oregon and run for the Ducks. Ignatius is the 2021 State AA 800 and 1600 meter champion with a 1600 time of 4:12.69. This is his second time running the Montana Mile, he had a 5th place finish in 2021.

Levi Taylor

A Laurel High School standout participating in his third Montana Mile finished second in 2020. Levi Taylor was a two-time Class A Cross Country State Champion and multiple State Champion in track for the Locomotives. He recently received All-Conference honors in the 3,000 meter Steeplechase representing the Bobcats. Levi is studying construction engineering while running for Montana State University.

Logan Strauss

Studying health and human performance at Montana State University Billings, Logan Strauss has a 1500 meter PR of 4:04. This is Logan’s second year participating in the mile, with his first appearance in 2019.

Owen Smith

Participating in his fourth Montana Mile, Owen Smith is now entering his sophomore year with the Bobcats studying mechanical engineering. Owen has a mile PR of 4:24 and recently won the Heart and Sole run in a time of 16:01.

Robert Peterson

Two-time Montana Mile Champion Robert Peterson returns after a 5-year hiatus. Robert is a former Falcon and Yellowjacket and now works at ExxonMobile in Lab Analysis. He has a 1500 meter PR of 3:51.

Samuel Smith

Soon to be teammates with Duncan, Levi, and Owen, Samuel Smith just graduated from Richey High School and will be attending and running at Montana State University Bozeman in the fall. Samuel is the Class C 1600 meter champion with a mile PR of 4:28.82.

Tanner Klumph

Tanner is a senior from Sentinel High School. A team captain placing second at the 2020 State AA Cross Country Championship. Tanner has a 1600 meter PR of 4;22.

William (Wyatt) Mortenson

Attending and running at Utah Valley University in the fall, Wyatt Mortenson graduated from Sentinel High School this spring. He is the 2021 State AA Champion in the 3200m setting the school’s record with a time of 9:16.74.

Women’s Field

Amanda Peterson

Graduating from Skyview High School, running at Augustana University, and now a Cardiovascular Nurse at Billings Clinic Amanda Peterson will be running her second Montana Mile. Married to two-time Montana Mile Champ Robert Peterson, Amanda made her marathon debut earlier this year with a time of 3:03 and has a 5k PR of 18:05.

Becca Richtman

NAIA 3k Steeplechase National Champion and Montana Tech student Becca Richtman will be running in Friday’s race. Becca has a mile PR of 4:58 and is a 3 time NAIA All-American.

Carly Ryan

A Helena High Senior, Carly Ryan is an All-State runner placing 3rd in the 2021 State AA 800 meter. It is her first time running the Montana Mile.

Emma Nelson

A 2021 Team Captain for Sentinel High School, Emma Nelson is an All-State Cross Country runner planning to major in instrumental performance at The Master’s University this fall.

Emma Stolte

A senior at Townsend High School, Emma and her team have won two team Class B cross country championships. Her PR In the mile is 5:18.

Grace Timm

A 3-time All-State Class A runner, Grace Timm recently graduated from Laurel High School. In the fall, Grace will be attending Dickinson State to study exercise science while running for the Bluehawks.

Kailee Stoppel

Previously attending Billings West, Kailee Stoppel had a successful junior track season as a yellowjacket with a personal record in the 1500 meter of 4:55. In 2020 Kailee placed 5th at the Indoor Conference meet and received Cross Country Runner of the Year at MSUB as well as Breakout Athlete of the Year.

Lindsey Paulson

Entering her final year at Belt High School, Lindsey is the 2020 Class C Cross Country State Champion and 2021 Class C 1600 meter champion. She has a 1600 meter PR of 5:13.

Mary Felig

Growing up in Broadus and attending Montana State University Billings, Mary Felig is now a physics and math teacher at Billings Skyview High School. She is in the top 10 5k runners at MSUB with a 5k PR of 17:56.08 and it is her second time participating in the Montana Mile.

Mei-Li Stevens

The Rocky Mountain College Half Marathon and Marathon record holder will be competing in her first Montana Marathon this year. Mei-Li will be graduating from Rocky Mountain College this December with a degree in biology.

Odessa Zentz

The two-time 800 meter State champion Odessa Zentz will run in her second Montana Mile this year. Her collective state titles have earned her a place in Helena High’s record books with the largest number of individual state titles at five.

Sydney Little Light

A sociology major and mile record holder at Rocky Mountain College, Sydney will be running in her second Montana Mile. Sydney placed second at NAIA Indoor Nationals and has received Frontier Conference Runner of the Week on multiple occasions.

Tiahna Vladic

Entering her junior year studying psychology and running at Boise State University, Tiahna Vladic won her debut Montana Mile in 2016 with a time of 5:03. She is a two-time Cross Country Gatorade Player of the Year and the 2019 Midland Roundtable Athlete of the year.

The gates to Daylis Stadium open at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free. For more information call 406-254-7426 or go to bigskygames.org.

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