BOZEMAN, Mont. - Diego Leon, a four-time California Community College Athletic Association cross country and track champion for Hartnell College, added further distincton to his running résumé by clocking a sub-4 minute mile for Montana State on Saturday at the Bozeman Running Company Indoor Dual Meet Invitational.
Leon, a junior majoring in environmental engineering for the Bobcats, won the mile event at Worthington Arena in 4 minutes, 7.52 seconds, finishing nearly seven seconds ahead of teammate Zachary Kughn (4:17.26). With adjustments for track size and altitude, his converted time became 3:59.13.
The impressive achievement put him in elite company. He's just the third Montana State runner to break four minutes and is among fewer than 500 nationally to ever do it.
"The mile was one where I looked at my stopwatch and thought 'oh my gosh, what a performance,'" Montana State head coach Dale Kennedy said to msubobcats.com. "There's a big meet in Seattle (going on) that will have a multiple number of runners under four minutes. But, when they see this kid ran what he did in Bozeman, they're going to be surprised."
Leon competed for Hartnell from 2013-15, capturing the 2014 CCCAA Men's Cross Country Championship before winning the 1,500-meter, 5,000 and 10,000 at the state track championships the following May. He redshirted at Montana State last year.
Leon, the 2014-15 CCCAA Male Athlete of the Year, is also the Hartnell school-record holder in the 5k.