MISSOULA — When Missoula Sentinel's Shelby Schweyen received the Spartans' purple baton from teammate Lillian Gyde, her 1,600-meter relay team was in fourth place at best. 

By the time the junior Lady Griz commit came around the final curve, she began to pass the last two competitors to launch the Spartans into first at the Western AA Divisional track meet at Missoula County Stadium.

Schweyen's teammates yelled out cheers from the infield as she darted down the final stretch for several reasons. But one reason sticks out the most. 

Schweyen had never ran a 400-meter event — relay or open race — before.

"That was pretty incredible," Sentinel's coach Craig Mettler said of Schweyen's hand-timed 58-second split. 

For a comparison, only three girls in the state of Montana have clocked a sub-59-second 400-meter dash time this season. 

Before Schweyen sprinted around the track in the last girls' event of the afternoon, she competed in two other events, the 100-meter dash and the high jump, on Saturday and achieved personal bests in both. 

"I don't think I've ever had two PRs in a day," Schweyen said, smiling from ear to ear. "I'm real excited about that."

The 100-meter dash came first. 

Schweyen posted a 12.50-second race — good enough for the third-best performance around the state this year, regardless of classification. Heading into Saturday, Schweyen's best time in the race was a 12.76.

"I really wanted to work on my blocks," Schweyen said. "That's been something that's been a struggle for me this year and finally I hit my blocks well and I think that really helped me run a good race."

Just minutes after finishing the 100-meter dash, Schweyen cleared her first height in the high jump at 5-foot-1. She finished the day clearing the 5-7 mark. 

As Schweyen arched her back over the bar on her second attempt at the height and realized the bar stayed put, she threw her head back and clapped her hands in celebration.

Schweyen hadn't set a personal best since she was a freshman back on April 21, 2016.

"That was really exciting. I'd been working at that all year," Schweyen said. "It's been a long time since I've been able to PR, but finally clearing that height, it was awesome. It was a little bit of a surreal moment. I was really excited."

Schweyen also ran a season-best time of 25.99 in the 200-meter dash prelims on Friday. That's currently the seventh-best time in the state and fifth-best time in Class AA. 

Her performances over the weekend helped boost Sentinel to winning the girls' Western AA Divisional title. 

1-2-3 FOR 1-2-3

It was apparent on Saturday that Kalispell Glacier's Ethan Larson, Drew Turner and Mark Estes train together. 

Down the final stretch of the boys' 400-meter dash, Larson (lane 4), Turner (lane 5) and Estes (lane 6) were neck and neck until three strides before the finish line. 

"It's always nice being 1-2-3 in line, especially with us," Turner said. "We always push each other in practice. That helps when it came down to this. That's pretty much what it was, just like back at home."

Larson bested his teammates, crossing the line first with a time of 49.16. Turner and Estes followed, clocking in times of 49.44 and 49.45, respectively.

All three ran personal best times to help the Wolfpack to the boys' team title.

"It was the most fun race I've ever ran in high school. Definitely," Larson said.

With those times in hand, the three also sit 1-2-3 in the entire state, regardless of classification. Only two other boys have clocked sub-50-second times this season. 


If Sentinel's Ashley McElmurry and Lauren Heggen aren't already household names around the state of Montana for hurdling and jumps, they will be soon. 

McElmurry, the current Class AA record holder in the triple jump, added another record to her resume on Saturday, breaking the Western AA Divisional record in that event. 

On her first jump of the finals, McElmurry exploded for a 38-5¾ jump and broke Big Sky's Kim Tivey's 33-year-old record of 38-3. Heggen, a sophomore, placed second in the event. 

"If we didn't have each other, we wouldn't be doing as well as we have been," McElmurry said of her teammate. "Definitely I have Lauren to thank for some of my success."

Heggen added immediately after: "Obviously it goes the other way too."

Earlier in the day, the two flipped roles. Heggen won the 100-meter hurdle finals, while McElmurry placed third. 

In the three events the two are both entered — 100-meter hurdles, long jump and triple jump — they're neck and neck on the leaderboard. 

Heggen's personal best time of 14.86 in the 100-meter hurdles is second state-wide. McElmurry's best time of 15.01 is third-best. 

McElmurry's farthest leap in the long jump, 18-0¼, is second in the state, while Heggen's of 17-11, is third. 

And in the triple jump, Heggen's unofficial second-best mark in Montana history — per MHSA records — of 39-7, leads the state. McElmurry's unofficial third-best mark in Montana history of 38-5¾ is currently third. 

"There's no better training partner to have than another individual who's also one of the top competitors in the state," Mettler said. "That's certainly a luxury."

The two have each other for one more year, too. 

Heggen is currently a sophomore while McElmurry is a junior. 

"It's really important to have someone you're able to be close with, but also a competitor, because it makes it a lot easier to cheer for it and stuff," Heggen said, seconds before hugging McElmurry. "It's really important to have someone like that be able to push you all the time.

"She means a lot to me."


One of the closest races on Saturday was the boys' 1,600-meter run. 

Kalispell Flathead's Ben Perrin and Missoula Hellgate's Isaac Schmidt were in a dead heat down the final straightaway.

Six strides from the finish line, Perrin just outstepped Schmidt, beating him by just 0.15 seconds. 

Missoula Big Sky's Brooke Kearns launched a rocket of a throw to win girls' discus. Kearns' throw of 144-2 was just shy of a personal best. 

Helena Capital's Justin Jenks followed up his impressive Friday with another breathtaking toss. Jenks won the discus event with a whopping 181-foot-11 throw for a new personal best. That mark is currently ranked No. 51 nationwide. He joins Deer Lodge's Austin Forson and Sidney's Carter Hughes as Montanans to be ranked in the top 75 nationally for discus. 

Glacier's Larson was just 0.05 seconds from breaking the divisional record in the 100-meter dash with his time of 10.84. 

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Amie Just covers Griz football and Missoula-area preps. Follow her on Twitter @Amie_Just or email her at Amie.Just@406mtsports.com.

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