Thursday Apr. 24, 2014
Sports Across Montana
 

I didn’t catch any fish the other day. It may have been the best fishing trip ever.

By way of explanation I’ll just say that the week didn’t unfold as planned. My daughters were on spring break and they were primed to join me on the little tailwater river in Wyoming I fished with great success all winter.
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Flathead players practice during a preseason drill. Beacon file photo

Four finalists have emerged to take over the head football coaching position at Flathead High School.

A nine-person committee that includes school administrators and former Brave standout Lex Hilliard has whittled down the list of potential candidates from 13 applicants, and the finalists will be interviewed this weekend.

The four finalists are Emmett Dougherty from Lewiston, Idaho; Jon Helmandollar from Wendell, Idaho; Mark Kessler from Alamo, Calif.; and Helena native Kyle Samson.

"The finalists selected all have quality experience coaching at the high school or college level," stated Flathead activities director Bryce Wilson. "Each was able to show how they would move the Flathead football program forward."

Russell McCarvel stepped down after seven seasons at the Braves' helm last month.

Further background and reference checks will be conducted leading up to Saturday's interviews.

Dougherty most recently served as head football coach at Lewiston High School in Idaho, a school with roughly 1,000 students that competes in Class 5A, the highest level of athletics in the state. Dougherty coached for 13 years before stepping down in 2011 to reportedly spend more time with his family. He was a finalist for the head coaching position at Missoula Hellgate.

Helmandollar is a former running back at Boise State University who has served as the head football coach for three seasons at Wendell High School in Idaho, a Class 3A school.

Kessler most recently served as head coach at San Ramon Valley High, a school in Danville, Calif. with an enrollment of roughly 2,100. Kessler was head coach from 2009 to 2013 and was abruptly fired before the Wolves' playoff game last November for unexplained reasons. The school has not released further information.

Wilson said the Flathead committee would make sure to find out what was behind Kessler's firing.

"We'll certainly address that topic," Wilson said.

Samson is a former Class AA all-state quarterback from Helena Capital and was the Montana Gatorade Player of the Year in 2002. He attended the University of Montana on a football scholarship and played quarterback for the Grizzlies as a true freshman. He transferred to MSU-Northern in the spring of 2004 after his dad was named the new head football coach. He was Northern’s starting QB from 2004 -2006 and a three-year captain. He has served on the football staff at MSU-Northern in Havre since graduating, including the past six years as the team's offensive coordinator.

Flathead's search committee hopes to have a top candidate tabbed after Saturday's interviews and would offer a recommendation to the school district board of trustees early next week, Wilson said.

The school assembled an interview committee to find McCarvel's replacement and the members include: Wilson; Hilliard; Pat Reilly, the current sub-varsity coach and former Brave; Dan Zorn, assistant superintendent; Peter Fusaro, Flathead principal; Joel Robinson; current varsity coach and former Brave player; Tom Clark, school board member and current Brave parent; Becky Toelke, past Touchdown Club president and former Brave parent; and Mike Thiel, the current KEA president and Flathead staff member.
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Fred Frost. File photo by Lido Vizzutti | Flathead Beacon

Just shy of his 72nd birthday, Fred Frost isn’t slowing down.

When the ski season ended at Whitefish Mountain Resort on Sunday, the retired teacher was once again king of the mountain. Frost skied the most overall vertical feet yet again this season. Frost compiled 4.25 million vertical feet, or more than 800 miles of skiing down Big Mountain. His total, which is kept by scanning season passes at the bottom of each lift, was nearly 600,000 feet more than his total last year as well as this year’s runner-up, Jay Foster, who is another perennial vert king. Tony Cooper ended up third with 3.45 million. The resort established the vert program as a fun opportunity for friends and family to tally their ski mileage each season. The results are posted online at www.skiwhitefish.com.
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Skiers enjoy blue skies at Whitefish Mountain Resort. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Whitefish Mountain Resort announced that it set new records for the second straight season with nearly 345,000 total skier visits, 7 percent more than last year and the fourth time exceeding the 300,000 mark.

The resort, which capped the ski season last Sunday, also set a new record for skier visits in a single day with 7,654 on Dec. 30.
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Skiers follow the snow at Logan Pass on a sunny summer day in Glacier National Park. Kay Bjork | Flathead Living

Editor’s Note: This is one of the stories you will find in the spring edition of Flathead Living magazine. Pick up a free copy on newsstands throughout the valley.

Twirls of golden fog rise from the lake, dancing to the syncopated song of mismatched bird voices. The paddleboards and kayaks glisten with dew, next to fishing poles cradled in a crook of an old cottonwood tree. We know that a perfect summer day on Swan Lake is in store – sunny and 70s amidst a world bursting into lime green set against intense blue skies and mountains still capped with snow. But we turn away from the lake and head to the car.

It is nearly July and we are going skiing. While many drag themselves through gray winter days counting time until golf, boating, swimming, or just loafing in the sun, our family hangs on to every last breath of winter.
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Hundreds of spectators lined the course of the ninth annual pond skim competition at Whitefish Mountain Resort on Saturday, April 5. The closing-weekend event featured 42 costume-clad competitors trying to skim across a 91-foot pond on skis or a snowboard.
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Flathead High School senior Dillon Thomas runs hurdle drills during a recent track practice at Legends Stadium. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

With a new season underway, several exciting plotlines are resuming for local teams and athletes. Here’s a glimpse at a few storylines worth following this spring.
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When Averill Harriman was skiing in St. Anton in 1933 and 1934 he became aware of how Hannes Schneider and his ski school were able to keep the Post Hotel and several other smaller hotels open all winter to house his many pupils who came from all over the world to learn how to ski.

Averill also saw the dark scepter of Hitler and his inevitable war not far over the horizon.
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