BILLINGS — Bozeman's Weston Brown and Hardin's Sydney Little Light claimed Montana Mile titles Friday night under the lights at Daylis Stadium in Billings to kickoff the 2023 Big Sky State Games.
Brown capped what has been an incredible calendar year with a winning time of 4 minutes, 13.41 seconds. Brown and runner-up Ase Ackerman were neck-and-neck for the majority of the race, but Brown flashed his kick with about 300 meters to go to pull away.
"It's been crazy. It's been really unexpected coming over from soccer and just exploding like this. It's been great and I'm really excited about it," said Brown, who won Montana Gatorade athlete of the year awards for both cross country and track in 2022-23.
Little Light made it back-to-back Montana Mile titles as she held off a strong surge from Sage Brooks and Hayley Burns, finishing in 4:56.91. For the former Hardin Bulldog, the night came full circle a bit.
"I was really excited to race with Karis (Brightwings-Pease)," Little Light said. "I've been watching her all year. We're both from the same high school, and I just see a lot of myself in her and the drive. I was just super excited to race her."
Little Light added to her decorated running resume, which also includes a 1,500-meter national title at the 2022 NAIA Track & Field Championships.
Final results of the 2023 Montana Mile races are as follows:
Weston Brown, Bozeman, 4:13.41; Ase Ackerman, Glendive, 4:20.51; Owen Smith, Billings, 4:25.27; Drew Galahan, Harlowton, 4:26.12; Jaxon Straus, Billings, 4:29.12; Greyson Piseno, Billings, 4:29.98; Carson Steckelberg, Bozeman, 4:31.99; Oren Arthun, Manhattan, 4:32.62; Ivan Colmenero, Manhattan, 4:32.93.
Sydney Little Light, Hardin, 4:56.91; Sage Brooks, Missoula, 4:58.83; Hayley Burns, Bozeman, 5:01.52; Elena Vandersloot, Billings, 5:06.39; Mary Wirtz, Rochester, Minn., 5:08.07; Kailee Stoppel, Billings, 5:11.44; Mary Felig, Broadus, 5:18.62; Karis Brightwings-Pease, Hardin, 5:22.29; Natalie Wood, Big Timber, 5:28.92; Shelbi LaBrie, Whitewater, 5:33.62; Ali Keith, Billings, 6:07.47.