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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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Sentinel's secret weapon: Kicker Gabe Peppenger

Four times the Missoula Sentinel football team kicked off in Friday’s victory over Billings Skyview. Three times the ball sailed into the end zone.

That other boot? Well Skyview fielded that one from the 1-yard line. The Falcons made it all the way the 24 to start that possession.

Gabe Peppenger didn’t stop the run and he didn’t score any touchdowns Friday, but he certainly played a big role in the Spartans earning their first win of the season.

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Lady Spartans prevail despite Roberts' absence

Had Wednesday night’s clash of state Nos. 1 and 2 been played as originally scheduled, Olivia Roberts likely would have gotten to enjoy senior night with her fellow Spartans.

Initially slated for last Thursday before a slew of blizzards and school closures, the rematch of last year’s State AA finals that yielded Sentinel its second straight championship was pushed back a week before the Spartans could pull off the coup of Capital.

Roberts, though, watched from the bench and missed her second straight game because of illness.

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Sentinel, Capital girls meet again in state preview showdown

Sentinel, Capital girls meet again in state preview showdown

UPDATED: A blizzard warning forced the postponement of the Sentinel-Capital basketball games Thursday. The action will be made up on Monday, Mar. 3, with Sentinel’s girls still hosting Capital at 7 p.m. and the boys on the road in Helena also at 7 p.m.


Almost four weeks ago, Helena Capital knocked Missoula Sentinel off the path of the unbeatens by upsetting the No. 1 ranked Spartans 55-50 in Helena.

Neither team has lost since as last year’s State AA finalists have been hurtling toward another rematch this week. The now top-ranked Bruins come to Missoula to face the second-ranked Spartans for a 7 p.m. tip-off Thursday, a meeting of two 17-1 clubs with high state aspirations.

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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

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

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

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

The teams in black



Missoula Big Sky’s Talia Zook, center, stands on second base as Missoula Sentinel players pass by Thursday during crosstown softball action.

Midway through his team’s softball game with Missoula Sentinel on Thursday, Big Sky coach Dennis Staves used a break in the action to sneak a look out past the centerfield fence toward the junior varsity field and the schools’ JV game that was underway there. He wasn’t sure what he was seeing.

Were those the Eagles up to bat? No, no, maybe 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.