CollegeMontana State Bobcats


Montana State's Nicola Paletti wins decathlon at Big Sky Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships

Nicola Paletti
Posted at 7:52 PM, May 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-09 21:52:48-04

(Editor's note: Montana State University news release)

BOZEMAN — Nicola Paletti ran away with the Big Sky title in the men's decathlon and Shelby Schweyen finished runner-up in the women's heptathlon to cap a successful second day at the Big Sky Outdoor Track & Field Championships on Thursday at Bobcat Track and Field Complex in Bozeman.

"It's a great start for our team," Dale Kennedy Director of Track and Field Lyle Weese said. "I'm so proud of Shelby and Nico going out there and competing so well in tough conditions. Coming away with first and second place right off the bat just really gives our team a boost as we look to place well in the team championship."

Full results from the decathlon and heptathlon can be viewed here.

Paletti led nearly wire-to-wire in the ten-event competition and backed up his heptathlon gold medal from the indoor championships in February with the gold medal in the outdoor decathlon this week.

Paletti, a junior from Bolzano, Italy, becomes the seventh Bobcat Big Sky champion in the decathlon, and first since Mason Storm in 2016.

The Italian built a big lead after a stellar first five events on Wednesday, then opened Thursday with second-place finishes in the 110 meter hurdles and pole vault. With a comfortable margin in place, Paletti finished fourth in the 1,500 meters and ended his competition with 6,410 points amidst wintry conditions, ahead of Eastern Washington's Cody Teevens (6,184) and Weber State's Jed Smith (5,698).

Paletti's training partner, Shelby Schweyen, also earned All-Conference honors for the Bobcats, placing second in the women's heptathlon.

Schweyen, whose remarkable comeback story of perseverance and family legacy can be read here, battled injuries and snowy conditions to earn a silver medal in her first-ever outdoor heptathlon.

The Missoula native finished with 5,174 points, narrowly trailing Idaho's Hannah Tait (5,347 points). Even with Wednesday's snowstorm and Thursday's wet track, Schweyen managed to tally the fourth-best outdoor heptathlon in Bobcat history, and recorded the highest point total since Danielle Rider in 2016.

"I think my biggest takeaway is my mental game," Schweyen said. "I came in here worrying about my groins, I thought I was going to pull them the day before in practice, so just thinking I might not even make it through one event, let alone seven. To make it through the first day was a huge one for me, to get through with very limited injuries and be able to stay in competition. Then with my back this morning, to be able to persevere and get ready no matter what, I'm really proud of myself and the way I composed and carried myself through two days."

Paletti's win gives the Cats ten points in the team race as Montana State aims for their first outdoor men's team title since 2005. Schweyen's runner-up finish puts eight points towards the women's team totals as the Cats look for their first Big Sky crown since 2003.

Friday will feature a full day of action on the track and in the throws and jumps, with the men's javelin kicking things off at 12:30 p.m.

Fittingly for the school that's become known as "Steeple U", the first event on the track will be the men's 3,000 meter steeplechase at 2:00 p.m., as the Bobcats' nationally-leading steeple group chases the top three podium spots.

Medals in 12 events will be handed out on Friday, with important preliminary races in the sprints and middle distances also being contested to determine Saturday's finalists.

"Tomorrow is going to be exciting," Weese said. "There will be so much going on. We'll start with the men's javelin and then we'll get into some more field events after that—start with the running events with the steeplechase, so it'll be really exciting with finals in the field events and then finals in the steeplechase and 10k's. It's really important for the team race for us to get a lot of people through to finals—so the hurdle races, the 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1,500—we need to make sure that we're taking care of business tomorrow and getting some lanes filled for Saturday."

The entire meet is being streamed on ESPN+, with live results carried through AthleticLIVE.