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Monthly Archives:' January 2014

Sentinel girls' hoops more than just pair of stars

Most everybody in Montana prep basketball circles knows about Missoula Sentinel seniors Olivia Roberts and Maddie Keast.

You know they’re the major contributors for the undefeated Spartans. You probably know they’re leading Sentinel in the hunt for a third straight State AA girls’ title. You probably also know they’ve both committed to Division I college programs for next year.

But there’s a whole heap of Spartans backing them up without whom Sentinel wouldn’t be in near the pretty position it is now. Continue reading

Big Sky swimmer Zimmer battled back from back injury

A story ran in last Thursday’s Missoulian about two local prep swimmers Kate Zimmer and Hailey Jacobson who’ve committed to big-time colleges to continue their sporting careers.

But there was some interesting background on Zimmer, a Big Sky and Missoula Aquatic Club swimmer, that didn’t quite fit  the narrative of that piece. Zimmer, an accomplished pool sprinter who’ll compete at LSU next year, nearly had her favorite sport taken away from her.

She developed a pair of bulging disks in the lumbar section of her back as a freshman that took her out of the water completely. Continue reading

Loyola boys swat shots despite slight statures

You don’t have to be a skyscraper of a basketball player to block a shot. Just ask the Loyola Sacred Heart boys’ team.

Four mid-sized Rams combined for six blocked shots in Loyola’s 53-47 victory over league foe Deer Lodge on Thursday night in Missoula.

“We (block) and rebound really well for little guys,” joked Loyola coach Scott Anderson.

Maybe not little, but certainly not big. None of the four shot-blockers from Thursday’s game are taller than 6-foot-3. Continue reading

Hellgate football coaching pool narrowed to 3 finalists

Missoula’s Hellgate High School narrowed the pool of candidates for its vacant head coaching position to three this past weekend, including one local man.

Missoula’s Matt Softich is joined by Emmett Dougherty of Lewiston, Idaho, and Shaun Murgel, of Winnemucca, Nev.

The field was cut to these three men late last week with a hire expected as early as Monday this week before the decision was delayed a few more days, Hellgate athletic director Lynn Farmer said.

In the meantime, let’s see what we know about the three men left in the Hellgate hunt. Continue reading

Sentinel's Jaydn Wilson narrowly misses Jug Beck 3-peat

Sentinel's Jaydn Wilson narrowly misses Jug Beck 3-peat

It’s been a long time since Missoula Sentinel wrestler Jaydn Wilson had lost a match at his Spartans’ home tournament, the Jug Beck Rocky Mountain Classic.

That’s three years to be exact. As he won his way into the semifinals of the 2014 addition of the tournament this weekend, the 37th such holding at Sentinel High School, he’d come to the spot where a freshman Wilson had been knocked off the championship path. In between were more than 15 wins.

But that streak came to an end in Saturday’s semifinals. Continue reading

The unity of Missoula high school swimming

Hailey Jacobson summed up what I was feeling pretty well with one sharp observation at the University of Montana’s Grizzly Pool recently.

“You probably can’t even tell who we all are with just our black suits,” the Missoula Hellgate senior swimmer said.

This was last Saturday and I was at the pool working on a feature story on Hailey and her Missoula Aquatic Club teammate Kate Zimmer, a Big Sky High swimmer. But tracking them down was a bit tougher than I’d imagined.

That’s because at a Missoula high school swim meet rivals from Hellgate, Big Sky and Sentinel are anything but. They’re more like teammates playing for different sides. Continue reading

The anatomy of Sentinel's 31-2 run

Karen Deden racked her brain, trying to remember any time her Sentinel Spartan girls had rolled on such a run before.

“Maybe…,” the 14-year Sentinel head coach began before changing tracks, “but that wasn’t against AA.”

Any way you slice it, the Spartans’ 31-2 run against Western AA foe Kalispell Flathead on Saturday was one for the ages. The stretch leading into the first-half buzzer gave Sentinel a 37-7 lead and a definitive lock what would become a 53-25 victory.

But how did it all go down? Continue reading

Frenchtown's John Chapman: more than just a scorer

With 2 1/2 minutes remaining in what would turn out to be a Frenchtown 81-74 victory over Loyola Sacred Heart on Friday night, Bronc John Chapman drove to the basket from the top of the 3-point arc before giving the Rams’ defense a lesson in respecting his all-around ability.

Chapman had 28 points at that moment and everyone in the key closed in on the senior guard to keep him from reaching an even 30. Instead, Chapman took a hard step to his left, turned his body squarely to face his teammates on the Frenchtown bench and tucked a nifty pass under his right elbow to Bridger Truett beneath the basket.

Truett’s easy lay-in gave Chapman nine assists for the night, nearly a double-double when coupled with his eventual 33 points. Continue reading

The Jesse Sims case: When some questions can't be answered

The Jesse Sims case: When some questions can't be answered

We in the media ask a lot of questions. I mean it’s kind of our job, right?

Well sometimes the people at which we’re directing said queries are not allowed to answer them. When such a quandary arises, you’ll usually see a flood of things like, “No comment,” and the like.

Sometimes, though, you get a real gem when an authoritative figure says everything you need to hear, without saying anything at all. Such was the case when the Missoulian contacted Stevensville boys’ basketball coach Joey Wark on Tuesday night looking for confirmation of the rumors that star athlete Jesse Sims had transferred schools.

Here’s what he had to say: Continue reading

Sentinel boys quick to match season win total from '12-13

What do the dates January 3 and February 22 have in common?

Before you go digging through your encyclopedia (do those still exist outside of school libraries?!), let me break the spell for you. The two dates are the days on the calendar in which the Missoula Sentinel boys’ basketball team earned their third wins of the season in each of the last two years.

The Spartans did so just this Friday (Jan. 3) with a 57-55 victory over last year’s Western AA front-runner Kalispell Glacier to improve to 3-2 on the young season.

Needless to say, there’s been a whole lot of improvement between Jay Jagelski’s first and second seasons at the helm of the Spartans. 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.