2022 Sport Review – Flathead Beacon

Wildcats become soccer kings

The iPhone had not yet been invented when Columbia Falls last won the state soccer championship. Seventeen boys on the current roster were yet to be born.

For the past four years, Montana Boys Class A football has been dominated by teams from the Flathead Valley. The trend continued in his 2022, but the seat of power has moved seven miles east.

On October 29, the Columbia Falls Wildcats hosted the state soccer final, and for the first time since 2016, the Whitefish Bulldogs didn’t feature in the game.

“At Whitefish, everyone knows about the team’s legacy, its storied history. They’ve grown with it,” said Columbia Falls coach O’Brien Byrd. “Since these kids were born, no one has won.

The undisputed new Montana soccer champions are the black-clad Wildcats, who defeated Livingston 5-2 in the state finals in October.

Columbia Falls has emerged as a championship-level program over the years. In his previous two state finals, his two schools in Flathead Valley played against each other. The Whitefish won him 3-0 in 2020 and last fall he won a close 3-2. But this season, the Wildcats made an early statement by ending the Bulldogs’ four-year winning streak, making them clear favorites for the title.

Wildcats keeper Bryce Dunham said, “I don’t think I’ve ever been more prepared in my life. And we made it.”

Whitefish Sr. Erin Wild clears the bar at 5’3″ to win the Class A High Jump title on May 28, 2022 in Butte.flat head beacon

Whitefish Women’s Sprint, Jump to Championship

During the Class A State Track and Field Championships in Butte, several Whitefish athletes were asked to do some real heavy lifting to help the team.

Seniors Erin Wilde and sophomores Haley Els and Brooke Zetouni competed in a total of 11 individual events and two relays, contributing 94 points for the team.

“It couldn’t have been more perfect,” said Whitefish coach Kellyanne Blackburn. “What they did was exactly what everyone on the team needed to do.”

In the final event of the competition, the 4×400 relay, Els, Zetouni, sophomore Isabel Cook and freshman Rachel Wilmott made four perfect handoffs to finish by four seconds, a far cry from the 2021 disqualification lane violations. I won. ‘ Victory.

Whitefish was also the only Class A school to finish on the podium in the girls’ and boys’ teams, aided by individual title defenses by seniors Taron Holmquist and Gabe Menicke, with the boys finishing second overall. I got

Brock Noten of the Glacier Range Riders pitches in the team’s first game at Flathead Field, Kalispell’s new stadium on June 14, 2022.flat head beacon

Glacier Range Riders Complete First Season

The first home run at Flathead Field was hit high in the air on June 14, landing just behind the right field wall and causing a swell of “boos” from the crowd. The two-run homer was hit by Billings Mustang in the top of the first inning, ruining the opening day start for his hometown Glacier Range Riders.

The home crowd for the Pioneer Baseball League’s newest team’s first game was smaller than expected thanks to a rain-soaked stadium, but the Range Riders’ GM said the attendees were “very excited.”

During the summer season, the Range Riders finished bottom of the league’s North region, but the team’s 39-56 record was better than the three teams in the South region. Regardless of the stats, the team was embraced by Flathead Valley fans.

St. Ignatius won the Class B State Championship Cross Country competition on October 22, 2022 in Missoula.flat head beacon

Bulldog runs into history books

In the last 100 meters of the 2022 Montana State Cross Country Championships, St. Ignatius Sr. Andrew Rush was alone.

Thrilling the crowd with both arms, Rush powered down the homestretch to a commanding win in the Class B race, giving St. Ignatius the sport’s first individual provincial title. His time of 16:15.65 over his 5-kilometer course at Missoula was the fastest winning time in a Class B competition since the distance was extended from his 3-mile in 2017.

Right behind Rush was teammate Robbie Nuira, who took a surprise runner-up finish. A minute later, St. Ignacio’s fifth-scoring runner crossed the line and against the Three Forks he clinched a 49-point lead to cement his team title, which lasted 60 years in all sports at the school. put an end to the state title drought in Half of the town of St. Ignatius appeared to be celebrating the school’s historic victory.

lots of basketball trophies

For the first time in history, the Bigfork Valkyrie earned a trophy from a Class B state basketball tournament, but it wasn’t easy to come by.

Valkyrie beat top-ranked Jefferson in the state marquee first round match in a season in which the Big Forks won four over Class A schools and remained the top three ranked Class B team all season. I had the misfortune to face the Their loss required a serious emotional regrouping, but the team pulled through.

In the third-place trophy game, freshman Braeden Gunlock scored 25 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while fellow freshman Ava Davey contributed an additional 12 points to the Valkyries. They separate at the final 2:30 and finish at 59-49.

In Class AA, the Flathead Bravettes took home the 3rd place trophy in their first state appearance since 2013. The Bravettes lost his first round match, but won the trophy by defeating the Missoula Sentinels. Claire Converse, the only senior on the team, closed out her career with a 7-point, 5-rebound performance.

In the Montana Christian Athletic Association (MCAA) state basketball finals, Stillwater Christian appeared smoking after slipping to a 13-0 deficit in the opening minutes. Opponent Billings his Christian had been on a winning streak for three years, but the Cougars slowly started to get back on track.

In the final seconds, a foul led junior Luke Frampton to the free-throw line, where he sank three straight times to tie the game and send it into four minutes of overtime. The Cougars came out victorious.

Glacier High School wrestler Tegan Vasquez March 9, 2022.flat head beacon

Local wrestler holds top spot

Glacier’s Teegan Vazquez won his third state championship in the tournament. He won his first two games by the fall, and in the semi-finals he took down Billings Sr.’s grappler in the final after an 8-1 decision. He immediately attempts to join the exclusive four-time champion club.

All over town, the Brave Brawlers swept the Class AA men’s and all-class women’s state wrestling titles for the second year in a row. The men’s title is the Flathead’s fourth in the past six years, including back-to-back wins in 2017 and 2018, and the program’s 11th overall.

Professional freeskier from Whitefish, three-time Olympic and seven-time X Games medalist Maggie Voisan pictured in Kalispell on October 5, 2022.flat head beacon

Maggie Voisin to compete in the Olympics

Maggie Voisan, a three-time Olympian, placed fifth in the women’s ski slopestyle final at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

The Whitefish skier was hoping to improve on his fourth-place finish at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. Voisin qualified for the slopestyle final in 4th place, earning a medal until the final run. She was the only American to compete in the slopestyle final, and she also competed in skiing’s Big Air competition, finishing 15th.

“Going into the Olympics this year, it wasn’t about my results or my medals, it was about how far I got,” Voisan said. “It was about where I was eight years after the first Olympics, where I was four years after that Olympics, and not being upset that I didn’t win a physical medal at this Olympics. Medals change things, but at the same time they don’t define who I am. And I really want to inspire someone and be a role model.”

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