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Drop-down schools Libby to District 7-B, Anaconda to 6-B

Libby and Anaconda both opted to drop from Class A to B starting in the 2015-16 school year. But against whom and in what district would the newly minted B schools play?

The Montana High School Association answered that question Thursday by placing the Loggers in District 7-B and the Copperheads in District 6-B, for most sports at least, as well as finding Plentywood a home at the Class C ranks.

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Latest Loyola golf stars ready to continue run

Latest Loyola golf stars ready to continue run

Following Tommy Tirrell’s tie-breaking chip-off victory Friday that earned him second place at the Loyola Sacred Heart Invitational golf tournament, he carried his iron off the 18th green to talk to a waiting reporter.

They introduced themselves, having never met before. Tirrell didn’t garner too many interviews in his sophomore or freshman seasons golfing at Loyola.

“You probably talked to Tom last year,” Tirrell said, no hint of animosity in his statement of fact, just an observation.

Tom Swanson, and with him Maggie Crippen on the girls’ side, dominated the action for the Rams and Breakers golf teams over the past few seasons. Each are gone now onto NCAA Division I programs, but the Loyola golf legacy still has some sheen on it.

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Hamilton co-op gives Darby girls swing at softball

Some sports are available to students no matter which Montana high school they attend. Others, like softball, can generally be found only at the larger classifications, Class B and up.

That leaves a void for many at smaller schools. Darby is filling one of those holes this spring for its diamond cravers, co-oping with Hamilton for spring girls’ softball.

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2013-14 Montana all-state girls' basketball teams

The following is a full list of Montana all-state girls’ basketball teams as released following the 2013-14 season.

The list will be updated as new information is provided.

A compilation of all-conference girls’ basketball teams from western Montana can be found here.

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2013-14 Montana all-state boys' basketball teams

The following is a full list of Montana all-state boys’ basketball teams as released following the 2013-14 season.

The list will be updated as new information is provided.

A compilation of all-conference teams for western Montana can be found here.

Continue reading

Hot Springs pulling weight in Savage Horsemen wrestling co-op

Typically in cross-classification co-ops — where one smaller school sends its athletes to a larger one for after-school sports — the balance is hardly even. The setup allows the smallest educational institutions to offer a sport that they themselves don’t have the enrollment to hold in-house.

Well that’s not the case in Sanders County. The Plains Horsemen and Hot Springs Savage Heat have one of the most fearsome Class B-C wrestling squads from western Montana this year and a lot of that power is coming from the tiny town of Hot Springs. Continue reading

New face, same result in Loyola football backfield

New face, same result in Loyola football backfield

When running back Marty Pigeon went down with a shoulder injury in Loyola Sacred Heart’s quarterfinal football clash with Red Lodge, the Rams backfield was suddenly without the left jab in its 1-2 punch.

Senior Tony Madsen carried the load fine enough alone that week – to the tune of 137 yards on 31 carries for two touchdowns – but coach Dan Weber didn’t want his back worn down by so many touches.

So he shuffled the deck and came up with Stephen Sellman.

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Best of the West: Can 6-B volleyball hang with beasts out east?

The strength of Western B volleyball clearly lived in the southern half of the region this year.

The top three teams at last week’s Western B Divisional volleyball tournament in Florence each hailed from District 6-B while the other half of the division, District 7-B, struggled.

Florence and Deer Lodge were at the top, the two teams that advanced to the State B tournament starting Thursday in Bozeman, while Loyola Sacred Heart earned a consolation prize in third after eliminating 7-B champ Bigfork in the third-place match. Continue reading

Bigfork XC runner Makena Morley appears in Sports Illustrated

Makena MorleyAfter yet another magnificent cross country season, Bigfork runner Makena Morley did more than just make the headlines around the state of Montana. Her utter dominance at the State B meet in Missoula two weekends ago earned her a mention on the national scale.

In Sports Illustrated no less.

Morley, a junior at Bigfork High School, led off the Faces in the Crowd section on Page 24 in the November 11th edition of the magazine (that’s the one with David Ortiz and the Boston police officers on its cover) after she destroyed the all-classification state cross country meet record with a time of 16 minutes, 35.31 seconds. Continue reading

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  • 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.