Sports Year in Review
Sports highlights from 2013
A few weeks after defending her junior championship in Utah, Whitefish teenager Maggie Voisin claimed the world championship trophy in April at the Association of Freesking Professionals event in Whistler, British Columbia. The prominent competition featured some of the top names in the sport, including the defending X Games champion and top-ranked professional freeskier in the world. Voisin later earned herself the “Slopestyle Rookie of the Year” award from ESPN. Her sights are now set on traveling to Russia for the Winter Olympics. As of last week, the 15-year-old was the top ranked woman in the U.S. with 140 points and only three Olympic selection events remaining. The next event is in Breckenridge, Colo., Jan. 8-12. The U.S. Olympic Team will select up to three slopestyle skiers who have had at least two top-three results at selection events.
Hodge Named National High School Coach of the Year
Longtime Flathead High coach Dan Hodge was named the National Coach of the Year for boys track and field. Hodge, 68, was awarded the top honor by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association at the organization’s 48th annual convention in Iowa. He was a finalist for the honor for the fourth time, while longtime assistant Gary Moen was named a finalist for girls track. Hodge arrived at Flathead High in 1972 and became head coach of the boys team in 1976. Since then the Braves have won six state championships, tying Hodge for fourth most in state history, and 16 divisional titles.
Tokarz Named Gatorade TrackAthlete of the Year
For the second year in a row, Flathead High produced the Montana Gatorade Athlete of the Year for boys track and field. Senior Matthew Tokarz was named the top competitor in the state after winning two individual championships in the spring. He broke both the AA and the all-class state records in the triple jump at the state championship meet in Bozeman, leaping 48-feet, nine-and-a-half inches. The old AA record set in 1972 was 47-6 and the all-class mark from 1983 was 48-2. Tokarz jumped 22-7.75 to win the long jump title, only seven inches shy of the 1980 AA record. Flathead distance runner Zach Perrin won the Gatorade aware the previous year.
Perrin Makes History Yet Again, Runs Fastest Prep Mile
Zach Perrin’s historic stride continued throughout his senior season, when he became king of the high school mile. The Flathead senior distance runner won the 1,600-meter race in 4 minutes, 9.24 seconds at a dual meet in Libby on May 10. Perrin’s time was the fastest ever by a Montana prep in the high school mile. The previous best was 4:10.56, established by Flathead’s David Vidal at the 2001 Arcadia Invitational in California.
Bates Wins Fourth Tennis State Championship
Glacier senior Kellen Bates capped his undefeated prep career last spring with a fourth consecutive Class AA tennis state title, becoming only the fourth four-time champion, according to the Montana High School Association. The Indiana University recruit ended with a perfect 61-0 record in MHSA-sanctioned matches after four seasons. Bates helped the Glacier boys team bring home its first team championship, along with Spencer Johnson and Britt Walton, who won the doubles state title.
Columbia Falls Achieves Historic Football Season
The Wildcats put together a season for the ages on the football field. Columbia Falls rolled to its first undefeated regular season since 1976 and only the second conference championship in three decades. The Wildcats earned a first-round bye in the Class A playoffs and defeated Havre 46-7 in the quarterfinals before losing 33-21 to Billings Central in the semifinals. The historic season ended with a 9-1 record.
Glacier Football Breaks Through
Like Columbia Falls, the Glacier football team reached new heights this fall and cemented a remarkable legacy. The Wolfpack lost only one game during the regular season and advanced to the Class AA state championship game for the first time. The squad lost to Bozeman 24-14. It was the first team from Kalispell to vie for a championship since the 2000 Flathead Braves. When it was all said and done, Glacier achieved an unprecedented milestone, winning 11 games, the most in program history and the most ever by a Kalispell football team.
Morley Runs Herself into the Record Books
Makena Morley turned up the pace this year and completed one of the all-time great seasons for high school distance runners. The Bigfork junior placed eighth at the 35th annual Foot Locker Cross Country Championships National Finals in San Diego, earning All-American honors at the de facto national championship event. Earlier this fall, she broke Zoe Nelson’s 2002 all-class state record, clocking 16:50 at the championship meet in Missoula and shattering the old mark by 15 seconds. It earned Makena her third consecutive Class B title as well as a shout out in the Nov. 11 edition of Sports Illustrated.
Schulz and harwood Bring Home Hardware from state track
Whitefish senior Logan Harwood choreographed one of the more memorable final acts, seizing three individual state track titles, leading the short relay team to victory and guiding the Bulldogs to their first team championship since 2008. Harwood won the 400 with a personal best 48.81 seconds, less than a second behind the all-class state record set in 1976. On the girls side, junior Marlow Schulz defended her three sprint titles in a dominating sequel at the state meet. Her time in the 400 — 56.13 — broke the 1978 Class A record by almost a second and ranks as one of the fastest times in state history, according to the Montana High School Association. She also ran on the second-place short relay team and the fifth-place long relay team.