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Montana State's Shelby Schweyen wins pentathlon at Big Sky Indoor Championships

Shelby Schweyen.jpg
Posted at 7:16 PM, Feb 22, 2024

(Editor's note: Montana State Athletics release.)

SPOKANE, Wash. — It was impossible to miss the combination of jubilation and relief etched on the face of Shelby Schweyen as she climbed the podium to accept her gold medal in the pentathlon on Thursday, the first handed out at the 2024 Big Sky Indoor Track & Field Championships.

Schweyen, a senior from Missoula, took over the leaderboard in the pentathlon after the second event and didn't look back, cruising to a total of 3,817 points to become the Big Sky Conference champion in the event.

"I can't really put it into words," Schweyen said. "It's been a long road. Lots of ups and downs—lots of downs—but through it all I persevered and I was surrounded by great groups of people who helped build me up and support me along the way with lots of love.

"I really learned what hard work and determination mean over the past few years, and everything has led me to this and I couldn't be happier with my performance today."

Schweyen is the daughter of Bobcat All-American and hall of famer Brian Schweyen and Big Sky hall of fame women's basketball player Shannon Cate. Brian Schweyen competed for the Cats from 1988 to 1991 and was a seven-time All-Big Sky Conference performer, winning six BSC titles in the high jump and pole vault.

Now Shelby adds to the family trophy case—after a long journey beset by injuries and heartbreak, the former University of Montana basketball player is a Big Sky champion for the Bobcats.

"When you really put it into context, it's one of the most incredible stories," jumps and multis coach Craig Hunter said. "She's had five knee surgeries, shin issues the last two years being at Montana State. She's a natural athlete and comes from a long line of athletes.

"We were just waiting for this to happen. Really all we had to do was get her to the meet feeling good, and this happens. I think that's an incredible place to be with somebody, and you don't see that every day—it's special."

Schweyen's total of 3,817 points is the fourth-best score in Montana State history and the best pentathlon by a Bobcat since 2016.

The senior turned the tables on the competition with a momentum-swinging high jump, clearing a personal-best of 1.71 meters (05-08.25) to score 867 points and rocket up from seventh to first.

Schweyen would not lose the lead after that, getting second in the shot put to add separation, then doing enough in the long jump to build a cushion before the 800 meters, which she won to put a cherry on top of a memorable day and grab the gold.

"It's just so cool to see, and it means so much to her coming from where she comes from and her track pedigree background," Hunter said. "Being able to be here today and share it with her has been incredible."

Elsewhere on Thursday, Nicola Paletti performed well in the men's heptathlon, and leads the event heading into Friday.

The junior from Bolzano, Italy, grabbed the lead with a time of 7.03 in the 60 meter dash and held it through the long jump. After dropping a spot following the shot put, Paletti dominated in the high jump to end the day, clearing the bar at 2.00 meters to add 803 points and take the lead back ahead of the final three events of the competition on Friday.

The first-year Bobcat holds the lead through four events with 2,932 points, ahead of Sacramento State's Jack Charlton (2,777) and Eastern Washington's Cody Teevens.

"Obviously there's been success in the men's multis for the past few years, and I'm excited to join them up and see the success on both sides now," Hunter said. "Shelby and Nico are really working well together and I think it shows in their abilities to show up and execute what they do every single day."