The Vikings have only had two cowboys compete over the last two days of the College National Finals Rodeo at Casper, Wyo., but being stuck at 220 team points has lifted them from 11th to nine place. Valley came in fourth last year and was the reserve champion in 2010.
No ground was gained by the Vikings on Thursday. Junior saddle bronc rider Jordan Corrigan didn't score during his third go-round, but two good rides earlier has him in 10th place with 139.0 points. Still, he will be passed by at least three contestants today and is out of the running for a spot in Saturday's championship performance.
Senior steer wrestler Cody Metsker had a 5.8-second takedown, his second in three tries, but is also done for the meet. Sophomore Hunter Lewis, though, is sure of a spot in the Top 10 if he can beat 7.9 seconds in his third preliminary today -- having posted times of 5.3 and 5.4 seconds in the first two rounds -- and may not be eliminated by a slower time.
Senior bareback rider Tanner Aus only has to stay on board his mount today, a score of 43.5 being good enough to advance. However, the defending reserve champ would jump into the lead by matching the lower of his two scores thus far.
Both of Valley's bull riders are in good shape. Senior Mason Ormesher, who had his third go on Tuesday, is tied for second place at 152.0 points and cannot be dislodged from the Top 10. Senior Will Crain is already at 154.5, with his third ride today -- so not only is he a lock for the short go, but will enter it as the leader with any score and in second place if thrown.
The team roping combo of sophomore heeler Ben Runyon and Southern Arkansas header Justin Johnson finishes up today with no hope of moving on.
Junior Lauren Struxness was unable to corral the calf Thursday during her third round of breakaway roping and was eliminated. Junior Korah Agre, who tied for fourth in the first go, has only a slim chance of making it to the finals in that event during her third turn today.
Agre will also conclude her competition in goat tying today, the math also not in her favor for advancing.
With 500.0 points, Sam Houston State (Texas) has a 110-point lead over Walla Walla Community College (Wash.) for the men's title, but could lose points today as some of its cowboys who have completed their third gos are passed over by other contenders in the field who finish their prelims.