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How C. Falls coach Cary Finberg righted a reporter's blunder

As the old saying goes, everybody makes mistakes.

Anyone who’s ever worked in a news service knows this all too well — the embarrassing zing when an error makes it to the public’s eye is more common than any of us would like.

But not all reporter gaffes show up in newsprint. And I had a doozy two weeks ago while working on a story about Columbia Falls girls AND boys basketball coach Cary Finberg. Luckily, Finny came to my rescue.

Two weeks ago I made the jaunt up to Ronan to catch a road doubleheader between the Wild(c/k)ats and the hosts, the closest Columbia Falls would come to Missoula since a trip to Frenchtown early in the season that I also mistakenly missed.

After a delightful conversation on the difficulties and rewards of coaching two teams at once that we filmed for a Prep Extra video, Coach Finberg called over his daughters Ciera and Cydney for me to interview.

Then he walked away.

Our respective jobs done for the day, we both packed up and headed our separate ways. He north and me south on nearby U.S. Highway 93.

What I didn’t realize until the next day was that neither Finberg nor I remembered to unclip the wireless mic from his jacket. He’d put the receiver in his pocket as we talked and the microphone must have remained attached to his lapel all the way to Columbia Falls!

After a few mild moments of panic and an attempted calm message left with his one of his hoops-playing daughters, Finberg confirmed to me that which I’d feared. My mic was 100-odd miles up the Flathead Valley.

D’oh.

Luckily — as I’d gathered from our brief chat in which he doled out jokes as quickly and as often as his players have done points this season — Cary Finberg is a pretty nice guy. He’d have it in the mail within a day or two, he assured.

What a relief. A quick Google search had suggested I’d be spending better than a day’s salary to replace the little bugger if I’d truly lost it.

So to Cary Finberg, I say thank you for giving this goof a good ending.

PS: I won’t forget I owe you postage for this little life preserver either. Hopefully we’ll meet in the middle again sometime soon because I’ve got $2.86 with your name on it.

Your pal,
AJ

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  • 03 Feb 2015

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  • 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.