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Montana State completed its final home meet of the season Wednesday at the Bobcat Track and Field Complex. The Bobcats took advantage of a near-perfect senior day as the men’s and women’s squads wrapped up their final events ahead of the Big Sky Conference Outdoor Championships.

The Bobcats women’s team had multiple performances that altered the Montana State all-time top-10 chart. The two Bobcats teams combined for 16 first-place finishes.

“Things are really coming together,” MSU director of track and field Lyle Weese said before the meet. “We’re excited about what we can do at the conference meet.”

MSU had a 1-2-3 finish in the 1,500 meters that included Mya Dube (4 minutes, 35.13 seconds), Lexi Kyro (4:35.87) and Trisha Carlson (4:36.87). Their times altitude adjusted were the seventh, eighth and 10th best marks, respectively, in program history in the event.

Macy White had two strong showings with first-place finishes in the 100 and 200. White’s 100 time of 11.92 seconds, converted to 11.95, moved her into a tie for third among all-time Bobcats. She recorded a time of 24.48 seconds in the 200, which would have been the seventh fastest ever if it weren’t wind aided.

Carley VonHeeder and Alex Hellenberg improved their all-time top-10 marks. VonHeeder placed first in the javelin with a lifetime-best 159 feet, 6 inches. Hellenberg was second in the pole vault by clearing 12-1.5.

MSU’s 400 relay of Elena Carter, Morgan Evans, Evelyn Adams and White clocked a time of 46.63 seconds, which tied for the ninth-fastest mark in program history.

Alec Nehring also moved up on the men’s top-10 list in the shot put. His personal-best mark of 58-03 put him in a tie for sixth among all-time Bobcats.

The Big Sky meet is slated to begin May 12 in Ogden, Utah.

“We have been heading in a really good direction with improvements, a lot of (personal records) and season bests at each meet,” Weese said. “So that’s a good sign that we’re still getting stronger heading into the conference championships.”

Francis stepping down from alpine ski program

Montana State head alpine coach Kevin Francis is stepping away from the program after eight seasons. The 2016 United States Collegiate Ski Association National Coach of the Year cited spending more time with his young family as the main reason.

“It has been the greatest privilege of my coaching career to be a part of the Bobcat family and coach the alpine ski team here in Bozeman,” Francis said. “After eight years and an incredible ride, it is time for me to step back to spend more time with my family.”

During his tenure with MSU, Francis led the Bobcats to eight consecutive top-10 finishes at the NCAA Championships, including a program-best fourth place in 2016. In all, he coached 11 first-team all-American performers and 22 second-team all-American selections.

“Kevin is leaving his mark on the Bobcat Ski program and will be missed,” MSU athletic director Leon Costello said. “He built a program that was successful in the classroom and competition. We wish him nothing but the best and thank him for everything he has done for Bobcat athletics.”

In 2017, Francis coached Benedicte Lyche to a national giant slalom title, making her just the fourth Bobcat to ever capture a national championship. Lyche was named the Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association women’s alpine skier of the year.

“The Bobcats have shown me what commitment means,” Francis said. “I actually learned the definition of grit from one of our Bobcats. It has been a humbling experience to work with and try to keep up with our skiers, student-athletes, and amazing individuals. I want to thank all the athletes, boosters, alumni and fans for an unforgettable experience. I will definitely see you on the slopes.”

Francis took over the Bobcat program on Oct. 11, 2013. Aside from his coaching duties, he also served on the NCAA Skiing Committee.

Prior to his move to MSU, Francis was the head alpine coach for Mammoth Mountain in California. He also was a member of an NCAA contingent that traveled to La Parva, Chile to conduct team-focused camps. Francis was a member of the US Ski team from 2001-2009 and won the national Super G title in 2008.

A three-time RMISA coach of the year, Francis earned a degree in earth sciences from Dartmouth in 2010, where he also skied with the Big Green.

According to Costello, a national search for MSU’s next alpine head coach begins immediately.

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

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