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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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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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Hellgate comes up short avenging season losses at state

Hellgate comes up short avenging season losses at state

Missoula Hellgate’s run to the championship game gave the Knights a unique set of circumstances as the State AA boys’ basketball bracket played out. The Knights would only face teams they’d lost to during the regular season.

Hellgate lost four games during the regular season starting with – in chronological order – Billings Skyview, Billings West and Helena Capital (twice).

In order to win a second straight state title, the Knights needed to beat – again, in order – Skyview, West and Capital.

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Hellgate hoops enjoying rivalry week

Hellgate hoops enjoying rivalry week

Hellgate hoops likes to cram as much Missoula excitement as it can into one action-packed week.

Instead of spreading its crosstown games over its Western AA conference schedule, the Knights hit their Garden City rivals back to back in one crazy week. It pumps the energy level at games through the roof, Hellgate boys’ basketball player Devin Bray said 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

Hellgate girls soccer: a year's worth of difference

On an October Tuesday in 2012, on a rain-soaked and muddy Playfair Park field, the Missoula Sentinel girls’ soccer team brushed away its punchless challenger, Missoula Hellgate, 2-0.

The Spartans earned a spot at the State AA Soccer Tournament by handing the Knights one last defeat. Hellgate fell to a winless 0-10-2.

Well, what a difference a year makes. Continue reading

Come support funding efforts for the new community track at the Knight River Run

OK, Missoula, here’s your chance. You call yourself a running community.
Time to prove it.
The first of several fundraising efforts to get an all-weather surface to replace the dirt track that surrounds the River Bowl at John Toole Park is set for Friday (March 23) at night.
It’s called the Knight River Run 5k.
The race begins at 8 p.m. and there’s still time to sign up.
Just go down to the Runner’s Edge today or email Missoula Hellgate track coach Alan Pfister at apfister@mcps.k12.mt.us or just show up a couple of minutes before the  start.
Believe me, it’s a worthwhile cause – and I’m not just saying that as a Hellgate alum.
All the proceeds go toward the installation of a new six-lane rubberized track surface on the land jointly owned by the city and the Missoula School District.
The practice facility has been the home of Hellgate athletics for years and years.
But, it’s never been used for track purposes. So this upgrade will help change all that.
And once the track is layed down, it’ll be open to the public – not during Hellgate’s practice hours, though – so it truly does benefit the community.
Cost to run Friday night is $25.
Who knows, maybe you’ll even see this guy out there.

– Nick Lockridge

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 ajmazzolini@missoulian.com 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 IndieGoGo.com 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 IndieGoGo.com 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.