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Monthly Archives:' May 2013

Curiously long post on the Best Meet Ever

I might have said the 2013 State AA and B track and field championships were the best ever even before all the all-class marks — the weather was so much nicer than at the last several state track meets, I was already pretty jacked.

Then Sentinel’s Liz Harper and Helena freshman Carly Smiedela ran a highlight-reel girls’ 400 at Van Winkle Stadium in Bozeman, complete with a train-wreck finish. Both crashed to the track and Harper was awarded the win by .006 of a second. And things started getting better and better. Continue reading

2013 All-State, All-Conference softball selections

With the 2013 state softball tournaments completed and the state trophies assigned, the only thing left before the players head into summer vacation is the all-conference and all-state selections.

The following are the complete lists for league’s in Montana’s western half: Continue reading

Final Montana track and field bests

Montana high school track and field leaders, plus class leaders, compiled from daily newspapers through May 11 by Fritz Neighbor of the Missoulian. Times for races of 400 meters or less are in hundredths, where known; times for longer races are rounded up to the nearest tenth. Some are hand-timed, and marks may be wind-aided (All-class records are in parentheses). Additions or subtractions should go to You can also reach Fritz at 523-5247. The Missoulian sports fax is 523-5226. Continue reading

Florence softball adds yet another title

When it comes to B-C softball, no team has a comparable track record to the Florence Falcons.

Since the Montana High School Association added the classification for the 1999 season, the Falcons have won the championship seven times. That includes two straight after a 6-2 victory over Ronan in the state final on Saturday. Continue reading

State AA softball pairings

Here’s a quick look at what we’ll see in the first round next week. Keep an eye on the Missoulian midweek for full previews.

State AA softball
At Great Falls
First round
Thursday, May 23
2 p.m. – Kalispell Glacier (14-5) vs. Butte High (13-9)
2 p.m. – Billings West (19-4) vs. Helena Capital (14-8)
4 p.m. – Great Falls Russell (18-3) vs. Missoula Sentinel (9-14)
4 p.m. – Missoula Big Sky (14-8) vs. Great Falls High (18-5)

Montana high school track & field leaders 5/14

Montana high school track and field leaders, plus class leaders, compiled from daily newspapers through May 14 by Fritz Neighbor of the Missoulian. Times for races of 400 meters or less are in hundredths, where known; times for longer races are rounded up to the nearest tenth. Some are hand-timed, and marks may be wind-aided (All-class records are in parentheses). Additions or subtractions should go to You can also reach Fritz at 523-5247. The Missoulian sports fax is 523-5226. Continue reading

District softball pairings

It’s district tournament time for much of the state’s prep softball teams and the following schools are attempting to qualify for the state tournament. Here are the best-of-3 series pairings for both leagues at the AA classification as well as the Western and Eastern B-C tournament schedules.

Class A softball does not hold divisional playoffs and therefore is not included. Continue reading

From England to Germany (via Libby)

There’s a funny thing about digging through box scores of games you never actually saw for yourself. Sometimes the things that stick out had little — and in this case, no — real impact on the games in which they’re found.

I sure won’t remember the score of Libby’s softball game with Hardin, but I will remember who was pitching in the win — and who was catching her. Continue reading

MCA names coaches of the year

The Montana Coaches Association has named its Coaches of the Year for the winter sports season.

Missoula Hellgate’s Jeff Hays, AA boys’ basketball coach; Missoula Sentinel’s Karen Deden, AA girls’ basketball coach, Hellgate’s Helena Houlihan, AA girls’ swimming co-coach; and Stevensville’s Keith Chambers, A boys’ basketball coach, were all selected. Continue reading

Recent Posts

  • 03 Feb 2015

    UPDATED: 2015 national signing day's western Montana football commits

    UPDATED: With fall camps just around the corner, the list of western Montana natives in the Missoulian's coverage area has swelled near 50. Take a look:
      It’s national signing day 2015 and the National Letters of Intent were flying around this morning with local athletes securing their spots with college football programs. We’ll keep you updated with the area players who have made their commitments known throughout the day. Here’s a quick look at what we have so far. Don’t forget this is just a bare bones list right now and it will be updated often. Don’t see your name or your kid listed here? Leave it in the comments, or get in contact with us at or on twitter (@ajmazzolini).   MONTANA (4) TE Colin Bingham, Missoula Big Sky DE Andrew Harris, Kalispell Glacier S Josh Sandry, Bigfork DE Jesse Sims, Corvallis MONTANA STATE (5) LB Josh Hill, Kalispell Glacier LB Tanner Hoff, Hot Springs WR Logan Jones, Kalispell Glaicer QB Brady McChesney, Kalispell Glacier DE Byron Rollins, Missoula Sentinel EASTERN WASHINGTON (1) TE Jayce Gilder, Corvallis NORTH DAKOTA (1) TE Brock Shaide, Missoula Big Sky CARROLL COLLEGE (1) WR Paul Wilson, Missoula Hellgate MONTANA TECH (9) WR/RB Nate Gray, Hot Springs RB Jackson King, Missoula Sentinel WR/RB Danny Mannix, Flint Creek WR Sam McCamley, Kalispell Glacier WR Ty Morgan, Columbia Falls OL Matt Murphy, Missoula Big Sky OL Truman Pisk, Kalispell Glacier DB Tucker Rauthe, Kalispell Glacier LB Ike Schweikert, Columbia Falls MONTANA WESTERN (12) OL Zach Brown, Hamilton RB/LB Joe Caicedo, Darby WR Devin Cochran, Kalispell Glacier RB Cory Diaz, Missoula Big Sky RB/LB Jason Ferris, Dillon QB/S J.D. Ferris, Dillon WR/DB Justin Ferris, Dillon QB/DB Bo Hughs, Loyola Sacred Heart (transfer) RB/LB Raymond Matt, St. Ignatius LB Connor McKillop, Missoula Sentinel WR/DB Austin Ray, Corvallis OL Spencer Ross, Columbia Falls MONTANA STATE-NORTHERN (6) RB Zach Crace, Libby LB Travis Crawford, Missoula Big Sky FB Lane Foster, Hot Springs DL Trevor Frandsen, Missoula Big Sky MLB Jonathan Gragg, Missoula Hellgate OL Ryan Handley, Missoula Hellgate ROCKY MOUNTAIN COLLEGE (3) LB Joe Gallatin, Polson DE Jesse Grabowska, Florence RB Marty Pigeon, Loyola Sacred Heart DICKINSON STATE (1) DB Cain Boschee, Kalispell Glacier LEHIGH (1) OL Harrison Kauffman, Kalispell Glacier MACALESTER COLLEGE (1) WR Jack Streibich, Whitefish
  • 23 May 2014

    Makena Morley gets creative to fund trip to track nationals

    Ever wanted an autographed photo of one of Montana's all-time record-breaking prep runners? Now's your chance. Bigfork High School junior and State B champion of champions Makena Morley is raising money through technology and grass roots to help her reach the New Balance Outdoor High School Track & Field Nationals meet in Greensboro, North Carolina in mid June. And any donors of $25 or more through the fundraising website receive a Morley original complete with signature.  As of this posting, Morley is about 75 percent of the way to her goal of $2,300 for travel and lodging costs for her and her father to the national meet. Events run June 13-15. Morley isn't new to the national running scene, but she appears to be getting create in funding her trips there. She won the West Regional of the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships back in December and then finished eighth in the ensuing national race. "As a junior I have been to 4 national championship races (three in cross country and one for indoor track) but I have never won a national title, so this one is very important to me because I would love for this to be the year for me to win," Morley wrote on her fundraising page. "It is an important year for my college recruiting process, because this is the year when all colleges are looking at you and at what you have accomplished!" IndieGoGo is a kind of online kickstarter to raise money for a cause or idea. It's "the world’s most established crowdfunding platform," according to the organization's website. Crowdfunding is the process of pooling money from many different people for a cause. Morley, a three-time winner of the State B cross country title and Gatorade Runner of the Year for Montana, plans to run the 5,000 meters at the New Balance Nationals along with either the one or two mile. For more about her trip to nationals, or to donate, you can visit her page here.

  • 12 Feb 2015

    Entry to Montana wrestling's Four-Timers Club just got tougher

    Winning four straight state wrestling titles is hard enough, but the reclassification of weight classes in Montana that began this year will likely make the feat decidedly more difficult. When the Montana High Schools Association shifted from 15 to 13 wrestling classes, it eliminated the weight at which many four-timers wrestled as freshmen. The 98 and 105 weights were combined -- as were 195 and 220 on the upper end -- to form a new hybrid weight of 103 that will leave fewer holes in brackets and dual lineups. But it also adds new competition for the lightest weight, the one typically housing freshmen, by doubling the participants. "It's going to be interesting with the weight changes," said Columbia Falls wrestling coach Jesse Schaeffer, who has a senior in his wrestling room chasing state title No. 4 this week in Shonn Roberts. "I think that's going to maybe reduce that." Twenty-three Montana wrestlers have completed their four-peats and 11 of those started at 98 pounds of lower -- Gene Davis of Missoula County High, the state's first four-timer, won his freshman year at 95 pounds in 1960 before a similar weight shift later in the decade. Add in Roberts, who will compete at 138 pounds when state action begins Friday in Billings but won at 98 in 2012, and that's exactly half. "It's kind of weird since that's what I wrestled at as a freshman," Roberts began, "but 103, the 98-105 mix, I think that's reasonable. It'll make things a little bit tougher." That's hardly the thinking behind merging weights, though. At either extreme ends of the weight scale (195 and 220 became the 205 class) fewer teams -- especially at lower classifications -- could field a full lineup. Many times, too few entrants there led to a state bracket marred by automatic byes and regular season duals that might as well skip on to 105 pounds anyway. The unintended consequence is that 2015 may be near the last time wrestling fans will get a trio of four-time possibles all on the mats at the same time. Sidney's Gresh Jones joins Roberts in the Class A tournament this week at 126 pounds searching for his fourth, while Forsyth's Matt Weber will be the talk of Class B-C with a potential fourth title. Both boys won their first -- and lightest -- at 112 pounds, though.