CollegeMontana Grizzlies


Montana's Cooper Hewett first Grizzly to win Big Sky 60-meters crown since 1998

Cooper Hewett.jpg
Posted at 3:51 PM, Feb 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-26 17:51:34-05

(Editor's note: Montana Athletics release.)

SPOKANE, Wash. — Montana's Cooper Hewett had been waiting for a moment like this.

The Grizzly senior has been through some highs in his career, but also some deep lows. Last year, he ran just two indoor meets because of injuries. He qualified for the 100- and 200-meter finals in the outdoor Big Sky Championships, but wasn't able to run the final day because of an injury flare-up.

On Friday evening in Spokane, he took to the track for just the second time this year. He competed in the season opening event on Dec. 7, but once again injuries forced him to the sideline for much of the regular season.

In his first race back, Hewett blew away all expectations. He flew down the 60 meters to win his heat and break a 26-year old Montana school record. But as he came to a stop against the padded wall inside The Podium, there was frustration on his face. He punched the padded wall, limping away. Instead of celebrating a record, he was once again worried about his hamstring.

Hewett missed the 200 later on Friday, hoping to stay as fresh as he could for a potential final on Saturday.

The injury didn't keep him out of the race. And if it slowed him down at all, that just makes his run on Saturday even more impressive. Hewett burst out of the blocks in the lead and held off Northern Colorado's Jerome Campbell to win the men's 60-meter dash.

"He's been an athlete that we've been, we believed in his ability, and have been waiting for him to hit that in a championship race," UM coach Doug Fraley said. "He was really determined this morning that he was going to go out and win that race. He said right before the start that he felt like he was going to win this thing."

He became Montana's first Big Sky champion in the event since Todd Hering won in 1998. He matched his prelim time of 6.72 seconds, which also breaks Hering's school record set during the 1998 season.