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Duncan Hamilton had a similar feeling as others across the Division I landscape when news came in August that fall sports would be postponed to the spring of 2021.

It was just a few months ago that preparations for the outdoor track and field season were halted and then officially canceled as the coronavirus pandemic knocked out the remainder of the 2019-20 athletic year.

But as the 2020 fall semester began and activities started to pick back up on campus, despite being modified, Hamilton, a Montana State distance runner, viewed the work he and his teammates could get done as a positive.

“I was obviously really bummed, especially after missing last outdoor season,” Hamilton, a Bozeman native, said of the cross-country season postponement. “I was just itching to compete. But as long as we get to practice, that’s the next best thing. I’m just super happy to be running with the guys again.”

Hamilton had just completed his first college indoor season and was gearing up for outdoor when things evolved in March. Hamilton nearly broke the four-minute barrier in the mile inside Worthington Arena, earned a Big Sky male track athlete of the week award and nearly had a podium finish in the mile at the Big Sky Indoor Championships to highlight his debut during the season.

Those accomplishments followed what was a standout individual cross-country campaign last fall. Hamilton earned all-conference honors with his performance at the Big Sky meet in Greeley, Colorado, in November. Despite not replicating that feat this fall, Hamilton is hoping to put together a strong level of fitness during the fall even without a cross-country schedule.

“We have these couple months to just run super hard mileage and get a good training block in,” Hamilton said. “Then next January or February, we’ll get to reap the benefits of a year’s worth of just solid training. I think we can do some amazing things.”

The Bobcats men’s cross-country team was expected to be among the top of the conference prior to the postponement of the season.

Picked by the league’s head coaches to finish third in the Big Sky, the MSU squad was set to return six runners who had multiple years of finishes as part of the team’s scoring lineup. Those returners, along with a couple of new faces expected to make an immediate impact for the group, have Hamilton and the Bobcats already anticipating the opportunity to compete when an official season is determined.

“I think we’ve kind of got a super solid mentality among everybody that we’re just really ready to work hard,” Hamilton said. “We’re pushing each other as hard we can and taking those expectations that we had this fall and bumping them up again. We’re not just postponing our goals, but we’re making them bigger.”

Hamilton, looking ahead to the track and field slate, said the Bobcats have high hopes moving forward. With a men’s squad that finished third at the indoor championships a season ago, the Bobcats are expected to bring back over 10 individuals who have scored points at previous Big Sky championship meets.

When the time comes, Hamilton believes he and his teammates will be ready. He has big goals for himself and for the program as he continues to improve and become a recognizable face at top meets.

“The best effort in everything is a process goal,” Hamilton said, “but beyond that I want to see Montana State represented on the national stage every season from here on out. Whether that’s individually or as a team, I’m ready for us to get to that next level.”

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Colton Pool can be reached at cpool@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2690. Follow him on Twitter @CPoolReporter.