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Best of Preps: Fall 2010
Flathead County's top high school athletes
Travis Knoll (Sr., Running Back, Bigfork) – 6’0”, 175 pounds:

Knoll’s senior season will be remembered as legendary. He rushed for 2,066 yards on 250 carries and added 535 yards on 22 catches. Altogether, he gained nearly 3,000 all-purpose yards and scored 33 touchdowns, more than half of the team’s total. And he caught a touchdown in the final seconds of the Class B championship to give Bigfork its first state title ever. While he’s spoken with the University of Montana, the all-state running back may not play football at all in college. That’s because he’s applying to Stanford and Ivy League schools – he has a 4.0. Knoll’s a remarkable young man, indeed.

Knoll on Bigfork’s dream season: “I don’t think anyone will ever forget that – all the players, everybody who was there. It’s definitely one of the highlights of my life.”

Joel Horn (Sr., Offensive Tackle, Glacier) – 6’5”, 260 pounds:

Horn was named Class AA first-team all-state at left tackle and second-team for his work on the defensive line. Before the season even started, he committed to play at Montana State University. A lot of football people will tell you that quarterback is the most important position on the field, followed by left tackle. MSU will be happy to have this kid.

Horn on playing on the line: “I love it, the physicalness of it. It’s just you against the other guy.”

Jeremy Nielsen (Sr., Running Back, Whitefish) – 5’5”, 155 pounds:

Sometimes it’s OK to trade in size for a low center of gravity. It worked for Barry Sanders and it worked for Nielsen this season. The feisty senior was named Class A all-state at fullback after rushing for 578 yards on 88 carries with seven touchdowns. He also caught 14 passes for 221 yards. Nielsen would like to play in college.

Nielsen on his size: “Low center of gravity, agility and speed – and a little bit of power. I can hide behind those big linemen.”

Nate Thompson (Sr., Running Back, Columbia Falls) – 5’11”, 190 pounds:

During the regular season, Thompson broke Neil Brunett’s 1981 school record for rushing yards. Thompson ran for 1,606 yards in eight games, breaking Brunett’s record of 1,603. He then added on to his total in the playoffs. Thompson has talked with multiple schools and is undecided, but he wouldn’t mind joining his brother Jordan at Montana Tech.

Thompson on growing up with a football coach father: “I was around football all the time and it just clicked with me. I loved it.”

Mike VanArendonk (Sr., Quarterback, Flathead) – 6’1”, 185 pounds:

VanArendonk finished fourth in Class AA in the regular season in passing yards (231.4), third in touchdown passes (22) and third in total offense (283.3). He was named Class AA honorable mention all-state and has been in contact with colleges. VanArendonk is considering Carroll College or Whitworth University.

VanArendonk on the responsibility of playing quarterback: “I love the pressure and being the leader on the team.”

Hannah Sackett (Jr., Outside Hitter, Flathead):

Sackett was named Class AA first-team all-state for the second straight year after ranking in the top 10 in the state in kills per set, serving aces per set and attacking efficiency. The 6’0” junior has played volleyball since third grade but didn’t get serious until high school. Apparently, she’s a fast learner.

Sackett on what attracts her to volleyball: “I appreciate the team aspect. The team I have at Flathead is great. We’re all good friends.”

Lexy Boschee (Jr., Outside Hitter, Glacier):

Boschee is simply a tremendous athlete. She has earned multiple first-place track trophies and has now added a Class AA first-team all-state volleyball honor to her name. She was an integral part of Glacier’s third-place finish at the state tournament. Whether it’s in a gymnasium or on a track, Boschee is one of the top high school female athletes in Montana.

Boschee on Glacier’s run at state: “To be able to put the pieces together and to do that well was really fun.”

Jack Steele (Sr., Center Midfielder, Whitefish):

Steele was one of only 11 boys from Class AA and A selected to the Great Falls Tribune Super-State team. He was also named Class A all-state. A skilled playmaker, he was third in the state in scoring with 10 goals and seven assists in the regular season. Steele is also on the Glacier Nordic Ski Team and will likely ski in college.

Steele on the appeal of soccer: “I really like the creativity and the fast pace. You have to work for everything.”

Chelsea Shuman (Sr., Forward, Flathead):

Shuman was named to the 11-girl Great Falls Tribune Super-State team. She led all Western AA scorers with 16 goals and was named all-state for the second straight year. Only 5’1”, she said when she was younger she was told she’s too small to be successful at soccer. She used that as motivation. Shuman will play at Montana State University Billings.

Shuman on soccer’s role in her life: “It’s my stress reliever. I can go out there and forget about everything. I can play. I can run. There’s no end to what I can do out there.”

Ryan Porch (So., Glacier):

Porch just started playing golf several years ago and now he’s one of top high school golfers in Montana. Following in the footsteps of Larry Iverson III and Grahm Schmaltz, Porch is Glacier’s most recent state contender. He shot 78-72 for a two-round total of 150 to finish second at the Class AA state tournament. Porch has two more years to bring home a first-place trophy.

Porch on starting golf in middle school: “I had some friends who golfed, so I tried it and just got hooked.”

Kiley McConnell (Sr., Whitefish):

McConnell was last year’s top female golfer from the Flathead as well. After finishing fourth in Class A as a junior, she looked ready to claim the top spot at this year’s state tournament. After an opening round 78 to land in a tie for first, she shot a 90 to finish fifth. McConnell plans to golf in college, possibly at Carroll.

McConnell on golfing in front of a crowd: “It makes you nervous, but I like it. You just keep your head down and swing away.”

Jessica Sagen (Sr., Whitefish):

Sagen has been the top finisher on two straight Whitefish state champion teams. She finished fifth as both a junior and senior, after coming in 13th as a sophomore. Sagen, who has never gotten a B in school, will attend Stanford University to study engineering, possibly aeronautical or civil. She hopes to run distance there as well.

Sagen on the strange pull of distance running: “I don’t know, I’m addicted to competition, I guess.”

Derrick Williams (Jr., Columbia Falls):

Williams finished second at the Class A state meet with a time of 16:24. The year before, he finished fifth at 16:30. He has long strides and a strict running regimen in the offseason. He’s planning to run a half-marathon in February. After that, it’s track. When next fall rolls around, he’ll be ready to make a run at the state cross country title.

Williams on why he runs: “To win. That’s basically it. I think that’s with everything I do. I want to win. I want to be the best.”



-George Sherwood (Jr., Flathead) – 6’5”, 200 pounds: Class AA all-state receiver
-Bryan Chery (Sr., Glacier) – 5’10”, 165 pounds: Class AA all-state cornerback
-Jake Leninger (Sr., Glacier) – 6’3”, 180 pounds – Class AA all-state long snapper
-Jacob Babcock (Jr., Columbia Falls) – 6’1”, 230 pounds: Class A all-state guard
-Bryce Arneson (Sr., Columbia Falls) – 6’1”, 245 pounds – Class A all-state defensive line
-Austin Barth (Jr., Columbia Falls) – 6’5”, 185 pounds: Class A all-state outside linebacker
-Devyn Rocker (Sr., Columbia Falls) – 5’7”, 135 pounds: Class A all-state cornerback
-Kaleb Johnson (Sr., Columbia Falls) – 6’3”, 190 pounds: Class A all-state safety
-Connor Coleman (Jr., Bigfork) – 6’0”, 200 pounds: Class B all-state tight end
-Austin Cantrell (Jr., Bigfork) – 6’0”, 225 pounds: Class B all-state lineman


-Mallery Knoll (Sr., Bigfork): Class B all-state
-Olivia Nagler (Sr., Whitefish): Class A all-state
-Rachel Cutler (Sr., Glacier): Class AA second-team all-state
-Paige Latimer (Sr., Glacier): Class AA second-team all-state
-Cami Mathison (Sr., Glacier): Class AA second-team all-state
-Danielle Gilley (Sr., Columbia Falls): Class A first-team all-conference
-Kwyn Johnson (So., Flathead): Class AA honorable mention all-state


-Tess Brenneman (Jr., Flathead): Class AA all-state
-Liana Bates (Sr., Glacier): Class AA all-state
-Caitlin Charlebois (Sr., Bigfork): Class A all-state
-Charlotte Kamarath (Sr., Whitefish): Class A all-state
-Danielle Delventhal (So., Columbia Falls): Class A all-state
-Natalie Gayner (Jr., Whitefish): Class A all-state
-Sam Dittman (Jr., Whitefish): Class A all-state
-McKenzie Kizer (Jr., Columbia Falls): Class A all-state

-Hunter Madich (Sr., Flathead): Class AA all-state
-Taylor Thompson (Sr., Whitefish): Class A all-state


-Reed Platke, Whitefish: Class A second place
-Logan Iverson, Glacier: Class A tied sixth place
-Michael Lavin, Flathead: Class AA tied 11th place
-Camp Kenyon, Whitefish: Class A 28th place
-Jordan Mueller, Columbia Falls: Class 29th place

-Danielle McCully, Whitefish: Class A 13th place
-Erin Tabish, Whitefish: Class A 15th place
-Klaire Taylor, Whitefish: Class A 27th place

Cross Country

-Zach Perrin, Flathead: Class AA seventh place
-Nathan Knox, Whitefish: Class A 12th place
-Fisher Gangemi, Whitefish: Class A 13th place
-Evan Jordt, Bigfork: Class B 16th place
-Justin Whitman, Columbia Falls: Class A 17th place
-Mathias Komarek, Whitefish: Class A 19th place

-Carly Schwickert, Whitefish: Class A sixth place
-Jinise Osborne, Columbia Falls: Class A ninth place
-Stella Holt, Whitefish: Class A 11th place
-Jackie Cassidy, Whitefish: Class A 13th place
-Chelsey Olson, Bigfork: Class B 17th place
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