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Vote for Hellgate boys for region's top basketball program

Vote for Hellgate boys for region's top basketball program

Missoula Hellgate is in the running for Best Boys Basketball Program of 2015 in a poll conducted by the USA Today and the Knights have already made the regional round.

That makes Montana’s State AA front-runner one of the top seven programs in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Idaho and Wyoming — but they need your help to reach the national finals.

Just vote online here as many times as you want. The second round (regionals) runs through noon on Thursday, Jan. 29.

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Japanese wrestlers making stop at Missoula Big Sky

When most people think of Japanese wrestling, Sumo is the first discipline that comes to mind.

The island nation from Asia will have a chance to make Missoulians think twice next month when a team of 14 high-school aged wrestlers from Japan visit Big Sky High School on a wrestling cultural exchange trip.

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Western Montana 2014 all-conference football

The following is a full list of Montana all-conference football teams within the Missoulian’s coverage area. The lists will be updated as new information is provided.

All-state teams for Montana football are also available on this site here.

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Eagles D' solves -- mostly -- pesky Mickelson problem

Three weeks ago Misssoula Sentinel striker Adam Mickelson piled up three goals while leading the Spartans to an easy 4-1 win over the rival Big Sky Eagles.

Big Sky had a plan when the teams met to cap the Western AA soccer regular season Tuesday. It involved the big body of defender Viktor Lemeza playing the part of Mickelson’s shadow — and the scheme worked.

Well, mostly. The underdog Eagles pulled out the 1-1 draw that felt more like a win.

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Big Sky's Johnson, Hellgate's Softich reunite as coaches on football field

The last time that Matt Softich and Matt Johnson shared a football field, by the latter’s recollection at least, was somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 years ago.

And the field wasn’t in Missoula where both men coach high school football now — Johnson at Big Sky, Softich at Hellgate. That last time was in Anaconda when Johnson was quarterbacking the Copperheads as a prep player and Softich was his QB coach.

They’re back together at Missoula County Stadium when the crosstown foes collide Friday night.

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Freshman Bryn the next Morley standout runner

State hopefuls racing in Class B girls’ cross country have had the spring of 2015 circled on their calendars for three and a half years ever since Makena Morley won her first high school race for Bigfork. The all-everything distance runner is set to graduate soon, finally opening the door for someone else to win a few races.

Only another Morley, Bryn, is ready to step into that power void. And she may not even wait until Makena has moved on to an NCAA Division I collegiate program to do so.

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Hometown Pride Classic a win for Montana football

Hometown Pride Classic a win for Montana football

Even a narrow loss couldn’t keep the Ronan football team down.

“You don’t ever want to say you’re happy when you lose, but come on,” Chiefs head coach Jim Benn said gesturing to his surroundings. “Getting to coach here and letting our kids have this experience, I mean I’m watching my quarterback take pictures with his parents on the field.”

The special location was Washington-Grizzly Stadium Saturday, which hosted the first Hometown Pride Classic series between high school teams in Montana and Idaho — an event as pleasing to its organizer as it seemed to be to the players, coaches and fans involved.

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Best of this spring's weekly Prep Extra videos

Each Thursday throughout the school year, the Missoulian features an area prep athlete as its sports centerpiece in a series known as the Prep Extra. A video component online has accompanied these written features for the last year.

Now take a look here at the best of this spring’s videos, complied into one 2-minute greatest hits package!


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With Wayne Tinkle headed to Oregon St, what's next for Tres?

With Wayne Tinkle headed to Oregon St, what's next for Tres?

By this point everybody has heard the news of Montana men’s basketball coach Wayne Tinkle’s recent hire by Oregon State.

Tinkle takes a winning history to a Beavers program hoping to do much more of that in the not-so distant future. But will he also take his son, current Missoula Hellgate junior and big-time prospect Tres, with him?

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Great Falls teams show AA softball power still in East

Great Falls teams show AA softball power still in East

Great Falls High and Great Falls CMR were part of the East-West Class AA softball exchange that blew through Missoula on Friday. Each stopped off at the respective Garden City schools for one matchup each in a tripleheader.

And boy did things go well for the Bison and Rustlers.

The Great Falls schools swept all three and again look like the favorites for the State AA title coming up in two weeks with the tournament held in, of course, Great Falls of all places.

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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.