I was a bit stunned and awfully excited when I saw a social media post from Montana Tech track and field & cross-country coach Zach Kughn pushing a ‘Friday Night Lights track meet on Charlie Merrifield track this Friday night.

“I’m Super excited, it’s obviously last-minute notice, but I think it's a great opportunity on a Friday night for the community to come out and see some track and field.” Coach Zach Kughn.

“The Frontier Conference Championships are behind us coach, (with both Montana Tech’s women and men winning their conference titles) how do you throw together a last-minute meet like this?”

“Yeah, it's pretty spur of the moment so our Frontier Conference championship was last weekend, or two weekends ago at this point, and that's earlier than the rest of the country. This upcoming weekend is actually the last chance to qualify for nationals.  So, I thought that if there’s a will there’s a way, maybe we can try to put something together under the lights, which would be great for our athletes. Getting a chance to run on our home track”

Frontier Conference Champs
Frontier Conference Champs

“So, who all is coming in to compete?

“We’ll just have a select group of athletes either those that are already qualified (for nationals) or those that are still hoping to qualify (for Nationals) from Carroll, Rocky, and Providence and then our group as well.”

What is the timeline for events?

“We are going to start events at 6:00 p, with a selection of events. We're not necessarily doing every event, only the events that people need, and are still trying to qualify in. We will have field events going on, a few track events, and then at 8:30, we're having a community 5K. People can reach out to Coach Kughn to register. The Community 5k on the track is free (or a donation to the Montana Tech track team)"

“At 9:00 o'clock will have the women's 10K which will feature Butte native Hailey Nielsen and she will be trying to qualify (for nationals). Then right after that, we have the men’s 10K at 9:45, so those are kind of the two main events that we wanted to host this meet for, get those nighttime 10K out under the lights and so we're hoping people can come out and cheer the athletes on”.

So far the Orediggers have qualified 7 athletes for the National Track Meet in Marion Indiana, coming up May 24-26th, and they would love to add a few more to that list.

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