2021 PCN Sports Review
Top five read sports stories, five Publisher's picks
January 5, 2022
2021 proved to be a bounceback year for sports in the state of Montana. Each high school sports season was able to see a conclusion, unlike 2020, when the sports world was initially impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The following list was made in recognition of the top five viewed stories on our http://www.PhillipsCountyNews.com website.
The remaining five stories were chosen by the PCN Publisher. The following list includes only a part of the stories listed. The stories can be founding their entirety on the aforementioned PCN Website.
TOP FIVE ON PCN WEBSITE
#1 Dodson wins game with two players at finish
PCN Issue Date: January 20, 2021 Views: 1515
"If you three can show your hearts now and fight to get this win, you will remember it for a very long time," Dodson Lady Coyotes Head Coach Clayton KillEagle told Jean Jackson, Emma Cole and Jaymiee Stiffarm, the lone three Dodson players on the court against Lustre, last Saturday night in an away game.
The Dodson Lady Coyotes basketball team had a long weekend, but held on to pick up their third win in three nights; the last game, against Lustre, ultimate with only two players left on the court in regulation.
The Lady Coyotes squared off against the Nashua Lady Porcupines on Thursday, January 14, in Nashua. Dodson, led by a 25-point game by Melony Fetter, won the game 50-32. Kataya KillEagle had eight points."
Dodson had the team's senior night and senior giveaway festivities on Friday, January 15; Melony Fetter and Ireland Best were honored. The game that night ended up being a 61-19 win over the Frazer Lady Bear Cubs in Dodson's Coyote Den (gymnasium).
"The Lady Coyotes looked sharp and determined," Coach KillEagle said.
The team was led by sisters M. Fetter and Lindsey Fetter, who both scored 16 points. K. KillEagle had 14 points.
Though the team had battled tough in their games leading up to Saturday, their clash against Lustre on Saturday night, was a true test of the team's depth and perseverance. The Lady Coyote won 54-53.
#2 RCAN hosts Ranch Rodeo Scramble event
PCN Issue Date: March 3, 2021 Views: 856
The ranch rodeo scramble consists of a four person team competition. Teams have up to eight minutes to complete all five events. These events are more of the basic, day to day things that will happen on the ranch. These five events consist of; getting one steer in a trailer with the door shut, getting one in a pen with the door latched, one roped and on its side for "branding". They don't really brand it, just go through the motions. One roped and on its side for doctoring, and one roped and then three legs tied. The events can be done in any order and simultaneously. Once the last event is done, all team members, their horses, ropes and hats must be back across the finish line before the tied steer can stand up for the time to stop. With all team members chasing steers around the arena at the same time, there is always something going on.
One of the team members was asked if there is a game plan going into the competition. He said "Yeah, you try to go in with a game plan, and then you cross the start line and the steers usually have a different plan all together so then you just end up doing the best you can."
When asked her thoughts on how the day went, RCAN President Katie Brown said, "It was our first scramble finals qualifier of 2021. We weren't sure on how the turnout would be because we just had our big finals in January and we are either nearing calving season or some people are already calving. But taking all of that into consideration, we still had 19 teams and a fairly successful turnout for the crowd. We ended up with new contestants this time, so that's really exciting when we get new people involved."
Results for the adult division are as follows:
First Place - ZN Ranch, with a combined time of 4 minutes and 36 seconds. Members are Jim Robinson, Clinton Cox, Tucker Hould, and Jett Anderson. Second Place – Anderson Ranch, with a time of 4 minutes and 57 seconds. Members are Jett Anderson, Ken Salveson, Curtis Bruckner, and Tucker Hould. Third Place – The team of Guy Simanton, Ken Salveson, Jesse Benson, and Ted Brown. Their combined time was 5 minutes and 17 seconds. Fourth Place – Robinson Ranch, with a time of 5 minutes 48 seconds. Members include Tucker Hould, Curtis Bruckner, Jim Robinson and Jesse Benson. Fifth Place – Salveson Ranch, with a time of 7 minutes 6 seconds. Members are Ken Salveson, Jim Robinson, Ted Brown, and Curtis Bruckner.
#3 Season ends for M-ettes at State B Tournament
PCN Issue Date: November 17, 2021 Views: 829
The Malta M-ettes Volleyball Season ended at the 2021 State B Volleyball Tournament on Saturday, November 12.
Their appearance at the state tournament was their first since 2002.
"We couldn't be more proud of our M-ette volleyball team and all they accomplished this season," Malta Head Coach Tasha Hines told the PCN after the tournament. "The way they battled, fought back and put us in the position to get the wins. This was just the beginning of an extremely bright future for our program. It's always a great day to be a M-ette with these ladies!"
The team was unable to bring home hardware, but the team went down swinging in the elimination bracket, taking out their 2B Rival, the Glasgow Scotties 3-2, after falling behind 0-2 in the game on Saturday, at noon.
Later that day, Malta would later fall to the Choteau Bulldogs, who took fourth in the tournament.
Malta's first loss came to the Huntley Project Red Devils in the opening round of the tournament. The Red Devils would go on to win their fourth state title in five years.
In Malta's victory over Glasgow, the scores were 23-25, 21-25, 25-17, 25-17, 16-14.
"We kept up the momentum," M-ette senior Captain Skylie Lefdahl said. "We kept doing our fast sets, we weren't being slow, we were being scrappy in the back row and everything was perfect."
Prior to the M-ettes win over Glasgow, the Scotties had defeated Malta in each of the five times that the teams had met.
"It feels great," Malta senior Captain Kaylee Bishop said. "I would take all of the losses this year for this win. I am good with taking this one."
#4 Malta, North Country varsities clash
PCN Issue Date: January 27, 2021 Views: 813
Last Saturday, Phillips County sports fans were blessed to see two undefeated local teams compete against each other for the first time as the Malta M-ettes took on the North Country Mavericks.
Malta, being a Class B team, typically brings their junior varsity team to face North Country's varsity. Things were different this time around as Saco Athletic Director Barry Malone and Malta Athletic Director Scott King were both sent scrambling for a game after losing games due to COVID-19.
"We were really excited," Lady Maverick Kaitlyn McColly said when asked about hearing they would play Malta. "We really appreciate each chance we can to get more competition."
The game ended in a very close 50-46 ending, with the Lady Mavericks coming out on top and extending their winning record to 8-0. Malta was the second of two undefeated streaks that North Country snapped last week, also beating Melstone in double overtime.
In the victory over Malta, the Lady Mavericks were led by Kaitlyn McColly, who scored 26 points and racked up 10 rebounds. Jaycee Erickson had 13 points, four rebounds, and four assists. Kia Wasson had eight points, three rebounds, and three steals.
#5 Hi-Line Indian Relay to be held on June 25-27
PCN Issue Date: June 16, 2021 Views: 793
If you are looking to see what has been a highlighted event at the P.C. Fair for a full weekend, pack your campers or just stop by the P.C. Fairgrounds Friday, June 25, through Sunday, June 27, to witness "3 Days of America's First Extreme Sport" Indian Relays, presented by Hi-Line Relay.
"We have been talking for a couple of years about getting more than just a one-day race," said Susan Green, director of Hi-Line Relay.
She said that it gives Indian Relay fans a chance to focus on the races.
For those that have not experienced the fast-paced and exciting sport of Indian Relay, Green shared what they could expect.
"An adrenaline rush," Green said. "It is America's first extreme sport. On and gone is the motto. (The racers) want to get on and get gone, as fast as they can. It's pretty intense."
She explained that there is a lot of athleticism shown by the horses, their riders, and the teams.
The event will feature several races over the weekend and several vendors at the Fairgrounds, as well as $15,000 in payouts for teams.
"We are just trying it out this year, working out the kinks and hopefully we will incorporate some things with it next year," Green said.
Publisher's Top Five
#1 Former Malta Grad Living His Dream
PCN Issue Date: June 23, 2021 Views:
2020 Malta Graduate, Anthony Wegner, is living out one of his dreams. He is racing in the HCMA series. (High Country Motocross Association).
"Growing up, I kind of always had an interest in dirt bikes, but what really ignited the flame was the freestyle motocross show that came to town for the car show," said Wegner.
The HCMA series holds 6 different events over the spring and summer months with many different classes racing at each event.
Wegner is currently riding a 2021 Kawasaki 250 and is racing in the Open Beginner class at the events.
The first event he entered was the second HCMA event of the season at Hungry Horse.
He placed fourth in the first moto and seventh in the second moto, giving him an overall rank of sixth in the points for the day.
"For my first ever race, I don't think I did too bad. I got fourth," said Wegner. "The second run we had didn't go so smooth. I killed the bike on the gate, then started it quick and caught back up to the pack before they even got out of the hole-shot. I got by two of them there and spent the next lap catching up to the next two. The back half of the track was sloppy and the jumps were like butter and were getting rutted pretty good. I got cross-rutted when I landed and slid off the track into some trees. It took me and three others to pull the bike out. That took up a good five minutes there."
#2 Malta beats Fairfield for first time in 30 years, head into playoffs 8-0
PCN Issue Date: October 27, 2021 Views: 570
The Malta Mustangs are headed into the 2021 MHSA Class B Football Championship Series as the first seed in the North after posting a perfect 8-0 regular-season record.
"It feels great," Malta senior quarterback Connor Tuss said on the team's undefeated season. "It's been four years, but we have been working hard every year. All of those summers, we put in the work and it has finally paid off for us as seniors."
The Mustangs were able to make history last Friday, October 22, as the first Malta Football team to defeat the Fairfield Eagles since 1991. The score was 30-14.
The Mustangs will be paired against the Whitehall Trojans in the opening round of the tournament. The game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. on Friday, October 29, at Mustang Field.
The Trojans, who are fourth in the west, posted a 2-6 record this season. The team's first win of the year was a 42-0 win over the 0-9 Anaconda Copperheads. Their second win was a 21-13 victory over the Missoula-Loyola Rams in the final game of the year. The win gave the Trojans the final spot in the west and ended the Rams season.
Despite their record, the Trojans have battled hard against some of the tougher teams in the state, six of which are in the postseason, and two of which are top seeds in the tournament.
#3 gROw Training comes to Malta
PCN Issue Date: August 18, 2021 Views: 715
Last week, young basketball players from the Malta community experienced GROw Training, a basketball camp put on by Ro Wiggins, a coach, and trainer who will soon be in Phillips County to stay.
Wiggins, who lives in Boise ID., held a three-day training camp from Monday, August 9, through Wednesday, August 11, at the Malta High School Old Gym. Camp for third through fifth grade was held from 9 a.m. through 10 a.m. Camp for sixth through eighth was held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and high school camp was held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Wiggins shared his impression of the Malta athletes that he trained on the last day of camp.
"They are a very hard-working group," Wiggins said. "The younger aged kids definitely want to have a lot of fun, so I am glad that I had the patience to slow things down."
Wiggins put an emphasis on listening when needed, but also provided the group with plenty of fun time. He describes his role as a trainer who teaches humility through positivity.
"I'm always showing up to show people that there is more work to be done and more things to be learned," Wiggins said.
He said that the lesson even applies to himself, a thirty-year-old, who learns new things daily from youth of all ages.
Those watching and listening to his training camps will learn that Wiggins can turn any moment of camp into a learning experience. One instance of this was when teams were picked for a five-on-five scrimmage. One athlete did not appear to want to choose his team, though given the leadership role. Wiggins then set the athletes on the line to do bear crawls while explaining, that in life, you should want to be a leader more so than a follower.
He noticed one common thing amongst all age groups in Malta.
"There is just a hunger to grind out here," Wiggins said. "That is not (true) in most places that I go. Most places that I go to are definitely about that work, but kids do progressively want to get better here (in Malta)."
He said that he really believes that kids liked his approach to workouts, taking camp and the game of basketball seriously, and his balance.
"If it is chill and respectful, we are having fun out here," Wiggins said. If things are getting out of hand, I gotta straighten things out."
At camp, the athletes worked on fundamentals of the game as well as game situations, and drills that simulated pressure. One such game was knockout, but with a slight twist. No layups.
#4 Young Money has Big Day at P.C. Indian Relay Event
PCN Issue Date: August 11, 2021 Views: 602
The 106th Phillips County Fair Indian Relay was held on Sunday, August 8, and though it was chilly in the grandstands, all went well until the last hour of races. Then it turned epic.
A torrential downpour at 5:50 p.m., which shut down the Indian Relay event for a half-hour. Despite the rain falling during the Chariot Races, Women's Mile-Race, Consolation Championship, and Championship races, no one was hurt, resulting in a dramatic conclusion to the P.C. Fair.
The Men's Championship race was won by Young Money, a team from Browning, that also won all four memorial races and the Women's Relay. Second place went to Carlson Relay, who led the race until the first exchange. Carlson made up ground but was unable to recover.
Young Money rider Myles Murray shared what his experience in the championship was like.
"It was awesome running in the championship," Murray said. "It was a lot harder to ride in because of how hard the rain was coming down."
Murray said that he couldn't see because the rain kept messing up his contact lenses and the mud was both sticky and slick.
"The mud made it harder to get on my horses and stay on them and having my horse and me all wet," Murray said. "But it made the win way sweeter."
He gave credit to his team for the win and said that his teammates did their jobs perfectly.
Prior to the race, Murray discarded his shirt and shoes to make the load lighter for the horse, allowing the horse to go faster.
Young Money also won the first Women's Relay Championship. The rider was Autumn Charges Strong, who is the girlfriend of Murray. Charges Strong also won the Cuts the Rope Sisters Memorial Maiden's Race.
Murray won the Frankie Johnson Memorial Race on his 14-year-old horse and his brother Trenton Smith won the Ed "Tom" Filesteel Memorial Chief Race. It was Smith's first race of his career. CJ Aimsback, who normally races for Aimsback Relay represented Young Money.
#5 Malta, Rocky Boy ends with time left
PCN Issue Date: February 10, 2021 Views: 761
The Malta Mustangs Basketball team went 2-1 last week, defeating the Rocky Boy Northern Stars in a game that ended with controversy and with 4 minutes and 32 seconds left in regulation last Tuesday, February 6.
The Mustangs would go on to defeat the Roundup Panthers 45-28 on Saturday, February 6, and fall to the Froid-Lake Redhawks 47-44 on Friday, February 5.
In picking up a pair of wins, Malta Head Coach David Costin was proud of how the team bounced back after back-to-back losses to Glasgow and Rocky Boy in late January.
"We just weren't as focused as I would have liked us in those games (in January)," Coach Costin said. "In two of the last three games, I thought we played a lot more focused, intense, and we were able to focus a lot better, even in the loss to Froid-Lake."
Coach Costin said that Froid-Lake provided Malta with a nice game against a good team.
"That was not a loss to hang our heads on," Coach Costin said.
The Mustangs are slated to face the Poplar Indians on Friday, February 12, at 6 p.m. in Malta. The team will then travel to Harlem to face the Wildcats on Saturday, February 13, at 4 p.m. The Mustangs faced Wolf Point on Tuesday, February 9, and the results of that game will be in next week's PCN.
Last Tuesday, Malta's home game against Rocky Boy ended with 4:32 left in regulation as frustrations boiled over due to technical fouls called on Rocky Boy.
The first technical foul was given within the first couple of minutes due to Rocky Boy's Ben Crebs slapping the backboard while trying to block a layup.
Technical fouls were given to both team's coaches throughout the game, as both argued the validity of calls against their teams.
Both teams flopped throughout the game, but Rocky Boy athletes were given two technical fouls for attempting to draw fouls through flopping. The last flop technical, given to Crebs at 4:32, resulted in his ejection from the game. Rocky Boy coach Adam DeMontiney took exception to the foul call, arguing that Crebs was fouled on the three-point attempt. DeMontiney was given his second technical and was ejected from the game. Rocky Boy's assistant coach Wade Colliflower left the bench and eventually called on the team to leave the court.
The final score was 62-47 in favor of Malta.