STORY BY MONTANA SPORTS INFORMATION
MISSOULA – Cade and Paul Johnstone have been together since birth. Literally, as twins, the two have been nearly inseparable. Even Montana track & field coach Brian Schweyen had trouble not lumping the two together.
The Johnstone twins, from Forsyth, made another decision together, recently committing the next four-plus years to Missoula and the Montana track & field program. They are two of seven student-athletes who signed National Letters of Intent with the Grizzlies earlier this month.
Cade won a state championship in the 400 meters last spring (50.44). Paul won the title in the 800 meters (1:57.56). The pair is versatile, with Cade finishing in the top six at state in the 100 each of his first three seasons and 11th in the 110-meter hurdles as a junior (16:31). Paul has placed in the top 10 in the 200 meters (22.17), long jump (21-4.75) and triple jump (41-3.25).
Together, they are three-time state qualifiers in the 4×400 relay and twice in the 4×100. The well-rounded athletes also played basketball and football at Forsyth High School, helping the Dogies to the 8-man state championship game.
Schweyen acknowledged that Cade will primarily focus on sprints and relays, including the 100, 200 and 400. Paul will likely specialize in the 800 meters and long jump, but he acknowledged that both could be multi-eventers or even decathletes.
“They’re so well rounded,” Schweyen said. “It’s hard to say what they’ll be good at because they do a little bit of everything, and have success in what they do.”
Four other signees hail from the Treasure State, including Emilie Hinrichs, from nearby Frenchtown.
“Emilie is an incredible three-sport athlete,” Schweyen said. “I’m super excited to have her, especially with what she was able to do in the high jump. She comes from a great family and is a hard-working kid who is busy all year in athletics.”
Hinrichs posted a 5-5 in the high jump to win the 2017 state title, but has reached as high as 5-7. She also finished fourth at state in the shot put (38-4.5) and was a state participant in the long jump.
Florence native Caden Venters will also specialize in field events. Venters, whose father, Garrett, played football for the Griz, has finished third in the state in javelin each of the past two seasons, including a personal best of 190 feet.
“Everyone I talked to told me how incredibly hard working Caden is,” Schweyen said. “His potential in the javelin is great. Anyone who works hard and really wants to be great can be, and I think Caden falls under that umbrella.”
Will Dauenhauer (Hellgate) is another local product, and will likely compete in the mid-distance races after being a state qualifier and top-eight finisher in the 800 meters (1:55.10) and 1600 meters (4:28.20).
“I’ve known Will for many, many years,” Schweyen said. “The potential he has in the 800 and 1600 is going to be incredible. We’re lucky to have him.”
Dauenhauer is still relatively new to track, specializing in soccer throughout high school and helping Hellgate to three consecutive state titles.
Xavier Melice will add to Montana’s spring unit, but the Helena native’s versatility could also lead him to him competing in the 400-meter hurdles, as well.
“Xavier is a great sprinter,” Schweyen said. “He could do some big things for us. He had a good junior year and I anticipate him having a really great senior year.”
Melice has nine top-10 finishes at state— in six different events – including a fifth-place mark in the 300-meter hurdles (39.52).
The lone student-athlete from outside of Montana is Rachel Torrey, who hails from Grand Forks, N.D. Schweyen was particularly excited to land Torrey, crediting cross country/distance coach Vicky Pounds for signing her.
“She’s well rounded and I think she’s going to be a really good addition,” Schweyen said. “I’m really excited for Rachel to join our program.”
Torrey is a North Dakota state qualifier in the 800 meters, 1600 meters and 3200 meters, finishing seventh as a junior in the 3200 (11:11.79). It marked the fourth time she has qualified in that event, including a 15th-place finish as an eighth grader all the way back in 2014.
The seven signees will join the Montana track & field program in the fall, and while Schweyen noted that sometimes it may take a few years before the student-athletes hit their stride, all have great potential.
“I’m really happy with how this class shaped up,” he said. “I’m very excited about these athletes coming in, and I think everyone on this list has great upside, which is why we signed them.”