MOORHEAD-Jason Montonye, a junior running back for the Concordia football team, once maneuvered his way into a restricted area to help his older sister.
Molly Montonye, then a high school junior at Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (Minn.), was physically drained as she finished one of her distance races at the Minnesota state track meet at Hamline University in St. Paul. She collapsed.
"All of sudden, he was there with a glass of water and he held me up," said Montonye, a senior on the Minnesota State Moorhead women's cross country team. "It made me feel really good that my brother was watching me and he cared."
Jason, who was a high school freshman, didn't realize he wasn't supposed to have access to the infield during the meet.
"I found out later after the fact that I had no business being in there," he said with a laugh. "I've always been protective and always want to be there when she needs me."
The siblings are still there for each other, competing in college athletics at neighboring schools. They are roommates, although some weeks they barely see other due to their hectic schedules.
Molly, two years older than Jason, is competing for the Dragons at the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference cross country championships Saturday, Oct. 22, in Sioux Falls, S.D. Jason is starting for the Cobbers on Saturday in a Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game at Augsburg in Minneapolis.
Barb Montonye, their mother, said the two were inseparable growing up in Graceville. They never went through a sibling rivalry phase.
"They never, ever fought. It was the strangest thing. I never had to break up a fight," Barb said.
"She's one of my best friends to this day," Jason said of Molly.
Tom Montonye, their father, Barb and Molly were all in the crowd earlier this season when the Cobbers played No. 4-ranked St. Thomas in football at Jake Christiansen Stadium, a game that produced a dramatic and emotional final minute.
Jason gave the Cobbers a 20-16 lead with 29 seconds to play in the fourth quarter, scoring a touchdown off an 89-yard, hook-and-ladder play.
"I was so excited," Molly said. "I lost my voice because I was screaming so much. ... My family, we were just so proud of him ... giving them a chance to potentially win."
Moments later, St. Thomas answered, scoring the game-winning touchdown with two seconds remaining for a 23-20 victory.
"For me it was pretty heartbreaking, so I can't even imagine how Jason felt," said Molly, who was there to give her brother a hug after the game. "I know he was really heartbroken."
In that moment, Jason appreciated that his parents and Molly were there.
"It's always nice having them there, especially after a tough loss like that," he said. "It means a lot."
This weekend, Tom will travel to Minneapolis to watch Jason, while Barb travels to Sioux Falls to watch Molly.
"Our parents are great," Jason said. "They travel so much for us."
Tom and Barb usually alternate who follows Molly and Jason in situations when both are competing at the same time. For Barb, following her daughter this weekend was the choice.
"We do try to alternate, but I'm not comfortable driving in the (Twin) Cities," Barb chuckled.
Molly has earned All-American status for the Dragons in track and has placed as high as second in the NSIC championships in cross country. Jason has rushed for 338 yards and five touchdowns for the Cobbers this fall. He's also caught seven passes for 128 yards.
"We both have such a passion for what we're doing and we've always kind of had that connection," Molly said. "It's nice to have someone to talk to when you're frustrated and you're not doing well."