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By JASON BLASCO
Lake County Leader
Headed into the tournament, former Polson High School softball coach Larry Smith admitted hosting a Montana High School Association Class A state tournament can work two ways: for you, or against you.
In the case of the Lady Pirates, who were the host team this year, they didn’t falter to being in front of their hometown.
They thrived, and the result was a second-place finish after falling to the Belgrade 11-1 in the MHSA Class A championship game Saturday afternoon at Polson High School’s softball complex.
The Polson softball team has become known for their hitting prowess throughout the regular season, and they continued that trend into the Montana High School Association Class A postseason.
Belgrade, who will be joining the MHSA Class AA ranks next season, was able to utilize their playoff experience the Panthers have accumulated over the last two seasons to capture their second consecutive MHSA Class A state softball title.
Next year, the Pirates and the rest of the Class A competition, won’t have to worry about Belgrade, a school that grew exponentially because of the housing boom in the greater Bozeman area.
The Lady Pirates, who were the host team, started the second round of the softball playoffs, after earning a bye by romping Fergus.
Polson was catapulted by Lexi Orien’s grand slam homerun at the bottom of the third that began their all-out assault on Fergus.
Josie Caye proved hitting was contagious, as she smashed a sole homerun in the fourth inning, which was Caye’s seventh homerun on the season. The Lady Pirates’ six runs in the third and three at the bottom of the sixth were enough to capture an 11-1 victory in the second round of the MHSA Class A state playoffs.
In their victory over Fergus, the Lady Pirates had multiple top hitters. Josie Caye and Kaylanna DesJarlais were 3-for-4. Paige Noyes went 2-for-4, Kallie Finbeiner was 2-for-4, and Lexi Orien was 2-for-4 in the effort. Lisa Castillo also had a double in the victory.
After Polson fell to Hamilton 2-1, they climbed through the loser’s bracket.
Polson rolled Columbia Falls 11-1, they beat their long-standing rival Frenchtown 7-6, and avenged their loss to Hamilton to climb themselves back into the championship game against Belgrade.
Polson, who had played Belgrade tight in previous games this season, was overpowered by the Belgrade team 11-1 in the MHSA Class A championship game.
The Panthers, who will transfer to MHSA Class AA classification next season, limited the lethal Lady Pirates’ bats.
Lexi Orien and Kallie Finkbeiner would be the only Lady Pirates base runners to reach scoring position in the loss.
The Lady Pirates, who finished second in the MHSA Class A classification, were an extension of the Polson softball system that has 8U to 16, to 18U this year. The softball system, which provides aspiring Lady Pirates with essentially a farm system to cultivate up-and-coming talent, proved to be valuable this year. Head coach Jamie Hansen, in his first year of replacing Larry Smith, proved to be more than an adequate replacement as the Lady Pirates continue to forge ahead in their quest for an MHSA Class A state title. A quest that should be made easier with Belgrade transitioning to MHSA Class AA.
At Polson in the State A title tilt, the Lady Pirates would need a Herculian effort to harvest gold, one that would require the equivalent of prying the coveted trophy from between the claws of the paws of the twotime defending champion Lady Panthers. Much like an apex predator at the top of the food chain guarding its prey, AA-bound Belgrade would be reluctant to part with their cherished prize.
Tournament MVP pitcher Erin Elgas would supply the arm, backed up by the solid gloves of defensive fielders behind her and some blistering bats at the plate, to minimize whatever chances might be lurking among the shadows for the top prize to gravitate into the mitts of somebody else.
State A championship
Belgrade 11, Polson 1
In the fifth, 6-2 Panther outfielder Madi Kreiger would stretch her glove over the left field fence for an ESPN highlight reel type catch to commit highway robbery of what would have been a Kallie Finkbeiner home run. Lexi Orien and Finkbeiner would be the only base runners to reach scoring position. Polson’s best team finish since 2013.
(1NW) Polson (21-6), (1C) Belgrade (23-0, 29-1) Polson 000 10 – 1 3 2* Belgrade 070 04 – 11 13 2* Lauren Vergeront (2IP: 4H,0K,2W,2HB), (3) Katelyne Druyvestein (0K,9H,3A) and Kaylanna DesJarlais. Erin Elgas (6K) and Haylee Curry. W – Elgas (17-0). L – Vergeront (19-6).
POLSON – Josie Caye 0-2, DesJarlais 0-3, Paige Noyes 0-2, Lexi Orien 1-2, SaVanna Carpentier 0-2, Vergeront 0-1, Druyvestein 1-1, Kobbey Smith 0-2, Lisa Costilla 0-2, Kallie Finkbeiner 1-2, (cr) Shaeley Brown (p).
BELGRADE – Kenna Thomas *2-2, Kaleigh Bauerle 1-1, Maddisen Tomasetti 1-1, Sheridan Smith 0-1, Madi Kreiger 2-3, Olivia Cook 2-4, Lanie Morgan 2-3, Hazel Eaton 2-3, Ellie Milesnick 0-2, Curry 1-3, Kamie Gorrell 1-3, (flex) Elgas.
*HR – Cook; [Finkbeiner robbed!]. 2B – Bauerle, Morgan; *Orien. RBIs – Thomas, Tomasetti 2, Kreiger 2, Cook 3, Gorrell, Morgan; Druyvestein. SH – Thomas, Tomasetti, Milesnick. BB – Caye; Tomasetti, Kreiger. HB – Thomas, Morgan. ROE – Vergeront; Kreiger, Curry. FC – Gorrell. SB – Morgan. DP – b4: Carpentier, Noyes. (Sa25May19gm22st) Asterisk (*) denotes stat variant(s) where alternative assessments exist: BelGC (P:3E/) – Orien (LPiScore: 1B+E8, iJHt: 2B); Thomas 1-1 (LPiScore: HB,SH,1B; BelgGC/ iJHt:ab2=H).
loser takes third Polson 6, Hamilton 2
Kaylanna DesJarlais and Josie Caye both mashed taters, DesJarlais in the third for her fifth of the season and Caye in the fifth for her eighth of the season.
(1NW) Polson (21-5), (2SW) Hamilton (195-2) Hamilton 100 010 – 2 5 1* Polson 201012 – 6 8 3* Jorden Taggart and Katelyne Druyvestein (4.33IP: 1K,3W), Lauren Vergeront (2K,0H,1W) and Kaylanna DesJarlais, (4) Kallie Finkbeiner, (6) DesJarlais. W – Druyvestein (1-0). L – Taggert. Sv – Vergeront.
HAMILTON – Sophia Doyle 2-4, Abby Johnson 0-2, Mikayln Brickley 0-3, Taggart 0-3, Maggie Ringer 0-2, Chantele Sisson 0-3, Haley Frey 0-2, Olivia Zepeda 2-3, Phoebe Howard 0-1, Maria Gutierrez *0-1, (flex) Kyla Shepherd, (cr) Madison Johnson.
POLSON – Josie Caye 1-3, DesJarlais 2-3, Paige Noyes *2-3, Lexi Orien 0-3, SaVanna Carpentier 0-3, Vergeront 1-3, Kobbey Smith 2-3, Lisa Costilla 0-2, Grace Quinones 0-1, Kallie Finkbeiner 0-2, (cr) Anna Vert (c), (cr) Shaeley Brown (p).
HR – DesJarlais, Caye. RBIs – Ringer; *Orien, DesJarlais, Caye, Vergeront, Ko.Smith. BB – Johnson 2, Howard, Ringer. FC – *Doyle, Taggart. SB – S.Brown. CS – Doyle. 2DP – t2: Costilla, Noyes; t7: Caye, Noyes. Runs – Doyle, Zepeda; Caye, Des-Jarlais, Vert, Noyes 2, Brown. (Sa25May-19gm21st) Asterisk (*) denotes stat variant(s) where alternative assessments exist: HamGC( H:5H,2E/P:7H,1E) – Ringer (H:1sb; P:0sb), Gutierrez 1-3 (t7- H:1B, P:ROE); Noyes (b1H:ROE; P:1B), Orien 1rbi (H:1rbi, P:2rbi)
loser takes fourth
Polson 7, Frenchtown 6 (8 inn.) Kaylanna DesJarlais, Lisa Costilla and Kobbey Smith all mashed taters of a solo variety with Smith supplying the walkoff for the win. Classic Frenchtown vs Polson rivalry, a contest that seesaws back and forth, hangs in the balance and the outcome is uncertain until the final out is secured.
(1NW) Polson (20-5), (1SW) Frenchtown (17-8) Frenchtown 002 000 40 – 6 11 2* Polson 120 020 11 – 7 10 1* Claire Bagnell (1K) and Kendra Williams. Lauren Vergeront (5.33IP: 5K,1W), (6) Katelyne Druyvestein (1.33IP: 1K,2H,2W), (7) Vergeront (1.33IP: 2K,1H,2W) and Kaylanna DesJarlais. W – Vergeront (19-5). L – Cl.Bagnell.
FRENCHTOWN – Cassidy Bagnell *2-4, Mikaela Field 1-5, Layne Bauer 1-5, Taylor Garren 2-4, Cassidy Moen 2-3, Cl. Bagnell 1-2, Hailey Arthur 2-4, Hallie Habeck 0-4, Williams 0-3, (flex) Shelby Miotke.
POLSON – Josie Caye 2-3, DesJarlais 2-4, Paige Noyes 1-4, Lexi Orien 2-3, SaVanna Carpentier 0-4, Vergeront 1-3, Druyvestein 0-1, Kobbey Smith 1-4, Lisa Costilla 1-3, Kallie Finkbeiner 0-3, (cr) Anna Vert (c), (cr) Shaeley Brown (p).
HR – DesJarlais, Costilla, Ko.Smith. 2B – Ca.Bagnell, Bauer; Orien, Caye. RBIs – Bauer, Garren 2, Cl.Bagnell, Arthur 2; Caye, DesJarlais, Orien 2, Ko.Smith, Costilla 2. BB – Ca.Bagnell, Moen, Cl.Bagnell 2, Williams; Caye, Orien. ROE – Ca.Bagnell; Finkbeiner. FC – Vergeront, Ko.Smith. SB – Ca.Bagnell 2. CS – Caye. Runs – Ca.Bagnell, Field, Bauer, Garren, Moen, Williams; Caye, Des-Jarlais, (cr) Vert, Ko.Smith 2, Costilla, Finkbeiner. (Sa25May19gm21st) Asterisk (*) denotes stat variant(s) where alternative assessments exist: FrGC( F:12H,2E/P:13H,0E) – Vergeront (F:H, P:FC), Ko.Smith (F:H, P:FC), Finkbeiner (F:H,P:ROE).
Polson 11, Columbia Falls 1
Lexy Orien mashed her sixth tater of the season, while Josie Caye, Paige Noyes and Lauren Vergeront inflicted doubles troubles upon the conference rival WildKats.
(1NW) Polson (19-5), (2NW) C-Falls (14-121) C-Falls 000 001 – 1 3 4 Polson 113 222 – 11 12 0 Savvy Ellis and GraceAnne Sevesind. Lauren Vergeront (5.33IP:4K,1HB), (6) Ellie Thiel and Kaylanna DesJarlais. W – Vergeront (185). L – Ellis. Sv – Thiel.
COLUMBIA FALLS – Kaylee Ashe 1-3, Alyssa Blankenship 0-3, Trista Cowan 0-3, Sevesind 1-2, Ryley Kehr 0-2, Isabel Johnson 0-2, Chloe Kienas 0-2, Ellis 0-1, McKenna Rensel 1-2.
POLSON – Josie Caye *2-2, DesJarlais *13, Grace Quinones 0-1, Paige Noyes 2-4, Lexi Orien 2-4, SaVanna Carpentier *2-4, Vergeront 1-2, Kobbey Smith 2-3, Lisa Costilla 0-3, Kallie Finkbeiner 0-2, (cr) Anna Vert (c), (cr) Shaeley Brown (p).
HR – Orien. 2B – Caye, Noyes, Vergeront, Carpentier. RBIs – Noyes, Orien 2, Vergeront, Carpentier 2. SF – Vergeront. SH – Frey. BB – Caye 2, Finkbeiner. HB – Ellis. SB – Caye 2, (cr) Vert. DP – b3:Caye, Noyes. (Fr24May19gm18st) Asterisk (*) denotes stat variant(s) where alternative assessments exist: LPiScore (P:9H,0E) – Caye 1-2 (ROE vs 1B:iJHt), Des-Jarlais 0-2 (SH vs BT:iJHt), Carpentier 1-4 (ROE vs 1B+E:iJHt).
Hamilton 2, Polson 1
Knotted at one apiece, the Broncs bombers from Hamilton would plate a late inning run to buck the Bucs from the saddle of their own tournament.
(1NW) Polson (18-5), (2SW) Hamilton (193-2) Polson 100 000 0 – 1 9 2* Hamilton 010 001 x – 2 4 1* Lauren Vergeront (4IP:3K,1W,1HB,1PO,1A), (5) Katelyn Druyvestein (2K,1A) and Kaylanna DesJarlais. Jorden Taggart and Haley Frey. W – Taggart. L – Vergeront (17-5)
POLSON – Josie Caye 0-2, DesJarlais 1-3, Paige Noyes 2-3, Lexi Orien 2-4, SaVanna Carpentier *1-3, Vergeront 1-2, Druyvestein 0-1, Kobbey Smith 2-3, Lisa Costilla 0-2, Kallie Finkbeiner 0-3, (cr) Anna Vert (c), (cr) Shaeley Brown (p).
HAMILTON – Sophia Doyle 1-3, Abby Johnson 2-3, Mikayln Brickley 0-2, Taggart 0-2, Maggie Ringer 1-3, Chantele Sisson 0-3, Haley Frey 0-2, Olivia Zepeda 1-2, Phoebe Howard 0-2, (flex) Kyla Shepherd, (cr) Madison Johnson.
2B – DesJarlais, Ko.Smith; Abby Johnson. RBIs – Zepeda. SH – Costilla; Brickley. BB – Caye 2; DesJarlais,Taggart. HB – Frey. *ROE – Frey. FC – Orien, Ko.Smith. DP: b2: Brickley, Johnson, Sisson. (Th23May19gm13st) Asterisk (*) denotes stat variant(s) where alternative assessments exist: LPiScore (P:7H/H:4H), HamGC (P:4H,1E/H:5H,3E) Noyes 1-3 (H:ROE, P:H+E), Carpentier 0-3 (H:ROE, P:1B+E), Vergeront 0-2 (H:ROE only, P:H+E)
Polson 11, Fergus 1
Lexy Orien mashed a tater in the bottom of the third for her fifth home run of the season, a grand slameroni, while Josie Caye mashed a solo tater in the fourth, her seventh of the season as the Lady Pirates tethered the talons of the Lady Golden Eagles.
(1NW) Polson (18-4), (2C) Fergus (14-10)Fergus 100 000 – 1 2 3* Polson 006 113 – 11 18 2* Jessica Morgan, (6) Macy Mangold and Jacy Ayers. Lauren Vergeront (7K,2W,1HB), (6) Katelyne Druyvestein (1W) and Kaylanna DesJarlais. W – Vergeront (17-4). L – J.Morgan.
FERGUS (LEWISTOWN) – Kaycee Gordon 0-3, Morgan 0-3, Mangold 0-1, Bailey Castillo 2-3 Hailey Welsch 0-3, Libby Jenness 0-2, Madison Affolder 0-3, Chelsea Jensen 0-1, Jacy Ayers 0-2.
POLSON – Josie Caye 3-4, DesJarlais 3-4, Paige Noyes 2-4, Lexi Orien 2-4, SaVanna Carpentier *1-3, Vergeront *1-3, Druyvestein 1-1, Kobbey Smith 3-4, Lisa Costilla 0-4, Kallie Finkbeiner 2-4, (cr) Anna Vert (c), (cr) Shaeley Brown (p).
HR – Orien, Caye. 2B – Castillo; Carpentier. RBIs – Caye 2, Orien 4, Ko.Smith 2, Finkbeiner 2. SH – Carpentier. BB – Mangold 2, Jenness. HB – Jensen. ROE – Gordon; Ko.Smith. FC – Caye, DesJarlais, Runs – Mangold; Caye 2, (cr) Vert, Orien 2, Carpentier, (cr) Brown 2, Ko.Smith 2, Finkbeiner. (Th23May19gm5st) Asterisk (*) denotes stat variant(s) where alternative assessments exist: Pvenue – Carpentier 1-4(fo,H,k,SH) Pvenue (F:2H,2E/P:17H,1E), FergGC (F:2H,3E/P:16H,1E) – Ko.Smith 4H,3rbi
Saturday, October 27, 2018
PIRATE PLAQUE PREFERENCE BURGER-LARIZED BY BULLDOGS
By JOHN HEGLIE Special for the Leader
At Smith Fields in Whitefish for the 2018 State A boys soccer championship, the Polson Pirates and the Northern A conference champion Bulldogs would put on quite a show in an energetic quest to claim the coveted state A crown last Saturday. This would be just the third foray to the championship match in the history of the Pirate boys’ soccer program, who hoped that the idiomatic expression “third time’s a charm” would play out in Polson’s favor.
With two of the top three scorers among Class A in Pirates Mack Moderie and Robin Erickson having collaborated on over 50 goals, inclusive of kicks from the penalty mark, as well as having contributed over two dozen assists, Polson certainly had the horsepower at their disposal to shape the outcome of this contest in their favor. Polson was also the only team to inflict the lone blemish upon the otherwise pristine Whitefish record, having forged a 3-3 tie with the Bulldogs in their last encounter three weeks prior.
Laden with eight seasoned seniors who had honed their craft over the course of multiple seasons in addition to a supporting cast of up-and-comers fleshing out the Pirate roster, history was beckoning for this season to culminate in the prize of a program first. Yet, despite the best planning and preparation that could be mustered, a Bulldog Burger-lar would get loose by the name of Xander Burger — whose caliber of play would prove instrumental in purloining the prize sought by Pirate players when he turned in a five-goal performance.
Unlike some postseason contests in which both teams start out cautiously as they gauge each other for strengths and weaknesses, this championship started out high octane with both being aggressive on the attack.
At the 10-minute mark, Pirate keeper Kaden Nelson made an aggressive charge to intercept encroachment of the ball near the corner of the box. The Bulldogs’ ball handler was just able to tap it by outstretched glove reach. With the keeper momentarily beyond optimal intervention range, Ian Lacey unloaded a shot on the frame of the goal. Fortunately for the Pirates, defender Austin Luper vectored to intercept and cleared the ball so as to deny what would likely have been the first goal of the contest.
At the 23rd-minute mark, Pirate Robin Erickson uncorked a shot from the left side of the box, which was initially deflected by Whitefish keeper Colter Upton. Unable to quite secure the ball, a handful of Bulldog defenders simultaneously converged upon the area to clog access lanes as Erickson sought unsuccessfully to maneuver past the congestion of the traffic jam.
Back-to-back goals by Bulldog Burger within a three-minute span would stake Whitefish with a 2-0 advantage. Polson would counter when Nico River cut that lead in half after a Bridger Wenzel feed, 2-1.
Whitefish would reacquire the margin with a second-half opening-minute goal by Burger, giving him a three-goal hat trick at that juncture, 3-1. Polson would counter within minutes after a Mack Moderie attack that was initially deflected by Bulldog keeper Upton. As the keeper sought to secure the ball with outstretched fingers, Erickson beat him to the spot and flicked the ball into the back corner of the net to draw his team within a goal once again, 3-2.
Thereafter, Polson had four different shot opportunities of varying degrees of threat level: wide left, over the crossbar, an on-frame Luper zinger from the wing that forced a keeper intercept and a Moderie carry to within launch range that was diffused by Bulldog defenders.
A strategic turning point in the match would take place just before the three-quarter juncture. Bulldog Joshua Gunderson and a Pirate defender were battling for control of the ball within the 18-yard-box of the Polson goal. A penalty kick would be awarded, which Bulldog Ian Lacey would bury into the back of the net to re-extend the lead back to a two goal advantage, 4-2.
At that juncture, Polson was forced into a delicate risk versus reward strategy in an effort to close the gap with time dwindling. Pirate coach Adam Fansher observed, “I felt the turning point in the match was the penalty… and (we) had to push some extra players forward to catch up, leaving our defenders exposed at that back.”
Over the course of the remainder of the match, the Pirates would have twice as many shot opportunities as their opponent, 11 to five — a half dozen of them taken on the frame of the goal that required defensive intervention. River launched one from 20 yards out, forcing the keeper to deflect it over the crossbar at the 58th minute. Another was double-pronged when Moderie sought to penetrate the defensive array in front of the goal at about the 65 minute mark. When his effort was repelled by defenders, Moderie regained possession and deftly passed the ball over to an open Connor Lanier on the other side. Lanier, who kicked field goals for the Pirate football squad last season, unleashed his best effort, but the ball couldn’t quite gain enough lift nor zing to evade the grasp of the keeper.
By contrast, Whitefish would add a pair of insurance goals when Burger drilled both of his chances through the spread between Polson defenders.
Though the outcome was disappointing, Fansher was nevertheless impressed by the team effort.
“We knew going into it that we would have to be almost perfect as a team … but unfortunately we made too many mistakes … That space we allowed them … combined with an outstanding performance from Xander Burger was too much … to contain,” the Pirates coach said.
In retrospect, one wonders whether the outcome could have been shaped differently had health issues not impacted the team in the form of limiting the availability of a pair of seasoned veterans. A Pirate squad at full strength and playing at an optimal level are a couple of variables that might have been able to tilt the balance toward the Pirates. Nevertheless, the team finishes with one of the best, if not the best, overall record in program history as well as fourth-best conference record over the course of the past decade.
STATE A CHAMPIONSHIP Whitefish 6, Polson 2
Polson (13-2-1), Whitefish (14-0-1)
Polson 1 1 – 2
Wfish- 2 4 – 6
W – g Xander Burger (a Ian Lacey) 26’
W – g Burger (a Casey Schneider) 29’
P – g Nico River (a Bridger Wenzel) 32’
W – g Burger (a Schneider) 41’
P – g Robin Erickson rebound (a Mack Moderie) 43’
W – g Lacey (pk) 57’
W – g Burger 70’
W – g Burger (a Lacey) 75’
Friday, May 24, 2019
Whitefish girls nab Class A tennis honors
Lady Pirates finish 2nd
Whitefish girls tennis dominated on the final day of the Class A State Tournament at Flathead Valley Community College on Friday.
The Bulldogs placed first as a team with 33 points, Gracie Smyley claimed the girls singles title and Aubrey Hanks and Olivia Potthoff brought home the doubles championship.
Both matches ended within seconds of each other, with cheers erupting from all sides. Players embraced outside the courts.
“It was kind of like the Fourth of July,” Whitefish girls coach Patrick Dryden said. “Everything exploded at once. The kids have really worked hard this year. We’re pleased to bring another state championship home for Whitefish High School.”
Smyley beat Livingston’s Bobbi Lima in the title match 7-5, 6-3. Lima knocked off defending champion Shea McGuinness of Polson in semifinals earlier in the day.
“It was a very evenly fought match,” Dryden said. “Bobbi gave Gracie all she could handle. Gracie was down 5-4 in that first set and we were trying to figure out how we could win some points off (Lima) because she just wasn’t giving us anything.”
Hanks/Potthoff won in three set against Polson’s Berkley Ellis/Qia Harlan, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1.
“It was tough,” Dryden said. “We’ve got a lot of respect for Polson. It’s a really good rivalry and to have it come down to the state doubles championship to determine the state trophy, that was pretty neat.”
Whitefish’s Brendan Buls lost to defending champion Brad Rakich in boys singles, 6-3, 7-6 (8).
Hannah Schweikert of Columbia Falls beat McGuinness in the consolation round to place third. Columbia Falls’ John Gilk and Camryn Lingle lost in the boys doubles fifth place match,
Whitefish’s boys doubles team Mark Anderson/Colter Upton lost in the fifth place game.
“There’s some quality tennis here and it’s gonna get better in the next couple of years,” Dryden said.
Class A State Tennis at FVCC
Whitefish 33, Polson n/a, Hardin 19
Gracie Smyley (Whitefish) def. Tricia Joyce (Havre) 6-0, 6-2; Bobbi Lima (Livingston) def. Shea McGuinness (Polson) 6-1, 4-6, 6-4.
Hannah Schweikert (Columbia Falls) def. Eliana Foss (Hamilton) 7-6 (7), 6-0; Emma Putnam (Billings Central) def. Madeline DeLeo 6-0, 6-2; Schweikert (W) def. Tricia Joyce (Butte Central) 6-1, 6-1; McGuinness (P) def. Putnam 6-3, 6-3.
Joyce (Butte Central) def. Putnam 6-2, 6-0.
Schweikert (W) def. McGuinness 6-0, 6-2.
Smyley (W) def. Lima 7-5, 6-3.
Aubrey Hanks/Olivia Potthoff (Whitefish) def. Ara Mercer/Megan Rost (Polson) 6-4, 6-4; Berkley Ellis/Qia Harlan (Polson) def. Kodie Vondra/Sylvie Schoenen (Livingston) 7-6 (7), 6-2.
Cailei Cummins/Deidra Don’t Mix (Hardin) def. Macie Flamm/Rilee Green (Hardin) 6-4, 6-1; Katie Murdock/Makiko Reisig (Hardin) def. Megan Kirkland/Christina Weidkamp (Corvallis) 6-0, 6-3; Murdock/Reisig (Hardin) def. Vondra/Syvie Schoenen 7-6 (7), 6-2.
Vondra/Schoenen (Livingston) def. Mercer/Rost 6-1, 6-2.
Murdock/Reisig (Hardin) def. Cummins/Don’t Mix 6-0, 6-1.
Hanks/Potthoff (W) def. Ellis/Harlan 4-6, 6-1, 6-1.
MHSA Class A track
THE GRAND FINALE
Polson distance-runner Bea Frissell caps high school career with state titles and state records
By JASON BLASCO, Lake County Leader
Polson High School distance and cross country runner Bea Frissell has always searched for the internal motivation that has allowed her to become a premier runner in the state of Montana, and a top-tier student.
Frissell finished one of the most decorated running careers in Polson High School history and capped her career in her final run ending in a spot she has become familiar with: first place. Setting personal records in both the 1,600meter and 3,200-meter distance events, Frissell capped her Lady Pirate career eclipsing her previous times in both.
Frissell recorded a time of 5:00.10 in the 1,600, and 10:47.33 in the 3,200, both personal records, and both enough to capture first place in the Montana High School Association Class A state meet at Laurel Sports Complex at Laurel High School.
Staying motivated wasn’t always easy.
Last year during her junior year, Frissell admitted to struggling to stay motivated.“Everyone has their moments, and I didn’t have quite as much motivation last year,” Frissellsaid. “I was under so much stress with school, and I wasn’t having as much fun on the track team in general. Matt Seeley helped me stay motivated and much more this year, and the people I enjoy being around (on my team) made running a lot easier.”
Mulling over options
With several collegiate options, Frissell knew there was one she was dead set on: the University of Montana.
“I was looking at Portland State pretty seriouslyas well as Montana State, and I looked at Wyoming for a little bit, but it came down to what I could afford financially,” Frissell said. “I wasn’t able to go outside the state, and that kept me from looking at other places because I couldn’t afford many options.”
There may have been another reason Frissell chose to stay close to home.
“I’ve always really loved the culture at the University of Montana there,” Frissell said. “I love Montana, and you get to walk outside your door and hike. It’s just a beautiful place.”
Being able to balance athletics and school hasn’t always come naturally, Frissell said.
“I would get better at balancing (the two) as I got older,” Frissell said. “I think back during my freshman year, and I struggled to prepare for a test and a track meet. Then, I might have a soccer game the same day. I missed a ton of school, and I had to learn how to stay caught up and communicate with my teachers. It is because of their cooperation that I haven’t had to sacrifice as much as I would have otherwise.”
Frissell credits the support of the Polson running community, her coaching staff, parents and the Polson faculty towards keeping her motivated with achieving her goals.
A change of heart
In middle school, Frissell’s focus wasn’t running because it was soccer, another sport Frissell excelled in.
Many Polson fans have speculated that if Frissell were present on the 2016 soccer team that might have been enough to overhaul Billings Central, a team Polson lost to in a shootout in the semifinals of the 2016 MHSA Class A semifinals. The Lady Pirates’ running team, and the chasing of records after practically owning the Polson girls record book provided too much motivation for Frissell, and her passion for soccer translated into distance running during her freshman year.
“Oh gosh, my favorite sport wasn’t running long distance in middle school,” Frissell admitted. “I was so focused on soccer that I never really thought about running long distance and that it would become my thing. I had no idea I would get those records in high school.”
Frissell, who admitted she enjoyed soccer more than running, didn’t think that trend would change. “Soccer I would say had my heart,” Frissell said.
During Frissell’s freshman year as a Lady Pirates, her passion for soccer began to shift more towards cross country and distance running.
“I remember looking up at times on the wall (as a freshman in high school) and breaking those records was not part of the plan,” Frissell said. “I think I went out my freshman year of track, and I started to get faster, and started improving.”
During the top-10 race during Frissell’s freshman year, she realized her goals of becoming part of the Polson record book could come to fruition.
“I think during my freshman year of track, I started to get faster and started improving,” Frissell said. “The onemile time was the first one through my freshman year in track in the top 10 and I was super, super close. I was within a second. I looked at one of my coaches (distance track Rob Alfiero) and said, ‘why did you not tell me I was that close to a school record,’ and he looked at me and said, ‘you’ll get it next time.’”
Early in her high school career, Frissell wavered with the two passions of soccer and running, but her coach Matt Seeley and his daughter Malia Seeley would eventually encourage Frissell to harness her natural talent for running.
“Seeley is just such an amazing coach, and knew he could get me those times I wanted to achieve,” Frissell said. “I’ve been running for eight years now, and I think he’s helped a lot in my development as a runner to become a better runner because I wouldn’t say I am a natural runner for sure. He is a huge reason I’ve achieved so much. He’s very passionate about running and knows how to make running fun. He will joke around with the group, and that is one of the biggest reasons for my success as a runner. He made running fun.”
Back to the future
Frissell carried a 4.0 GPA and will head to the University of Montana, where she will take on her career as a distance runner. Frissell said she plans on majoring in ecological restoration and possibly choosing to study environmental law as a niche in law school in the future.
“You just have to stay focused in terms of being able to spend every free minute on homework, and also prioritizing my schedule with a daily planner,” Frissell said. “I’ve been doing this forfour years now, and that helped me keep track of things and helped me stay focused on school work to maintain my 4.0 GPA.
It has helped quite a bit because there were some hard times, but I think it’s possible for everyone.”
The Lady Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, pushed that to 4-1 through four innings and never trailed. They had 12 hits to Columbia Falls’ 10. Kaylanna DesJarlais had two hits, including a home run for Polson. Kobbey Smith hit a homer run and Josie Caye, Paige Noyes and Lexy Orien each had a double.
In a battle of the top two Northwest A teams, Polson emerged with a 7-4 victory over Columbia Falls to win the Northwest A conference championship and clinch a No. 1 seed at the State A tournament it’ll host next week.
The Lady Pirates are 16-4 overall, 6-1 in league games with one to go. Columbia Falls is second at 12-10, 5-3.
Polson 7, C. Falls 4
WP — Lauren Vergeront, Katelyne Druyvestein (6) and Kaylanna DesJarlais. LP — Savvy Ellis and Graceanne Sevesind.
Hits — Polson: Josie Caye 2 (2B), DesJarlais 2 (HR), Paige Noyes 2 (2B), Lexy Orien 2 (2B), Savanna Carpentier, Kobbey Smith 2 (2B), Lisa Costilla.
Hits — C. Falls: Kaylee Ashe, Trista Cowan 2, Sevesind 3 (2B), Ryley Kehr (HR), Isabell Johnson 2, McKenna Rensel, Chloe Kienas 2 (2B).
RBIs — Polson: DesJarlais, Smith, Caye, Finkbeiner, Costilla.
RBIs — C. Falls: Kehr, Rensel, Kienas 2.
By JASON BLASCO, Lake County Leader
The Polson and Ronan High School track teams are stockpiled with talent all throughout the events, and in particular, the distance events for both teams are especially strong.
Both teams showcased their ability in multiple events at the ABC-Invite Saturday afternoon in Polson.
Both of the teams proved they had the athleticism to excel in all 17 events, and the proof is in the results as these teams get closer and closer to the Montana High School Association’s biggest stage.
Barney, Ducharme excel in 100
Ronan’s Kinsley Barney and Mikaela Ducharme both excelled in the 100-meter run. Barney, who finished second in the 100, recorded a time of 12.93, and Ducharme placed fifth recording a time of 13.51. Barney set a personal record en route to her first-place finish in the 200, recording a time of 26.28.
Frissel PRs in 1,600
Bea Frissell is now officially one of the most decorated athletes in the recent history of Lady Pirates cross country, and the senior continues to stockpile more firstplace finishes to her resume.
Frissell, who captured second in the 800, recorded a time of 2:23.00.
Frissell placed first in the 1,600, recording a time of 5:05.38, setting a personal record and breaking her own PHS school record set earlier this year.
Ducharme excels long, high jump
Polson track participant Mikaela Ducharme had two top-five finishes in the jumping events.
Ducharme captured first-place in the long jump recording a distance of 17-03, setting a personal record. Durcharme, and her Lady Pirates teammate Maggie Todd, also finished strong in the triple jump. Ducharme recorded a cumulative distance of 34-09.00 for second place, and Todd finished third with a distance of 32-02.50.
By JASON BLASCO. Lake County Leader
The Polson Lady Pirates softball showcased the strength of the Western portion of the Montana High School Association Northwest-A conference by sweeping all contest in the Laverne Combo Tournament Friday and Saturday at Butte.
The Pirates outscored Havre, Park County, Glasgow, and Miles City by a score of 45-4, which is indicative of the team’s momentum as they approach the Montana High School Association state softball tournament May 23-24.
In the first game against Havre, the Pirates continued to pressure their defense, in the 11-4 victory. Polson scored three-consecutive runs in the first two innings, and the proceeded to score eight runs in the final three innings to end the contest quickly.
Pirates pitcher Lauren Vergeront pitched three innings with four strikeouts.
Katelyn Druyvestein relieved Vergeront for the last two innings, had one strikeout and allowed one hit. The Lady Pirates’ Kobbey Smith hit 2-for-3 at the plate, with a home run. Other top hitters included Paige Noyes and Lisa Costilla. Costilla was 3-for-3 at the plate, and Vergeront was 2-for-3, with a triple, in the victory over the Blue Ponies.
The Lady Pirates also dominated Park County High School (Livingston) on Friday by a score of 9-0.
In Saturday’s games Vergeront continued her dominant pitching with wins over Glasgow and Miles City. The Lady Pirate pitcher didn’t allow a single run in either contest. Vergeront allowed five hits in the shutout in which she got plenty of offensive support from her Lady Pirates team. Kaylanna DesJarlais had back-to-back home runs against Miles City. DesJarlais blasted two home run in the victory and contributed to half of the Lady Pirates’ run total with her six-RBi performance. Lady Pirates’ player Lexi Orien also had a home run, with her two-RBI performance.
By JASON BLASCO, Lake County Leader
To understand the fiercely competitive landscape of Montana High School girls tennis take a glance at Polson Lady Pirates No. 1 Shea McGuinness’s win-loss record this year.
Last season, McGuinness went virtually unchallenged and won over 30-consecutive matches on her way to capturing the Montana High School Class A state singles championship.
McGuinness, who faced Whitefish’s No. 1 singles player Gracie Smyley, earned the respect of Whitefish tennis coach Chris Schwaderer, who was very complimentary of McGuinness’s play, according to Pirates coach Bob Hislop.
Smyley, a transfer from the state of Florida, is one of the perennial favorites to capture a Montana High School Association state singles title this season but challenged by McGuinness.
“There were 10 or 15 shot rallies, and (Shea) competed with Gracey point after point,” Hislop said. “Even though she fell short on the better portion of those rallies, moving forward if you are realistic and if you are a positive person, you look at two points here, or two points there, and (your perspective) begins to change. The more you win those points, the pressure gets tighter on the other person, and it becomes harder to win.”
The Lady Pirates, who are the defending MHSA team champions from the 2018 season, hope to have an opportunity to defend their title, and it will start with the Montana High School Association Northwestern-A Divisionals May 17-18 in Columbia Falls.
Some of the top-tier teams that will contend with Polson for the MSHA crown include Hardin, Whitefish, Corvallis, Dillon.
“Our division is just stacked in singles and doubles,” Hislop said.
The Pirates have one of the top doubles teams emerging in Berkley Ellis and Qia Harlan. The pair won a tight three-set match against one of the top Whitefish doubles teams.
“(Berkley and Qia) had a great year, they understand each other and they play well together,” Hislop said. Hislop said he’s noticed improvement from Megan Rost, Ara Mercer, Sarah Kinzel, Taylor Bloomfield, and Taylor Collinge.
“Those four girls have all played a ton, Sarah and Taylor are only sophomores, and they are still learning the game,” Hislop said. “Learning tennis is a lot of hard work, and it’s pretty complex. The next couple of years are going to be fun. You have to some patience, and you can’t string them along too fast. These players have to bring themselves up to speed, and when they are ready for that will be the fun part.”
Pirates get ready for the next step
The Polson High School boys tennis team got an opportunity for a tune-up with Whitefish before entering the Montana High School Association Northwest-A Divisionals in Columbia Falls on May 17-18.
Both of the Whitefish girls and boys teams are two of the top-tier teams in tennis, and Pirates coach Bob Hislop admits his team won’t face too many opponents tougher than them heading into the postseason.
The Pirates boys team, by Hislop’s admission, is young and inexperienced, but continues to grow from their experiences in recent matches.
“We had some rough losses, but at the same token, (our team) had some nice wins,” Hislop said. “Some of the kids that lost in individual and single games really showed their mettle and played way better in the dual session. I like what happened, and how the kids competed.”
Hislop said he was pleased with the performance of his top-three boys singles players and how they responded to playing the Bulldogs, one of the top-tier teams in the state of Montana.
The Pirates, who are getting ready to enter Divisional competition, have continued to get a strong performance from their No. 1 player Joe McDonald.
“Joe did a nice job and is almost in every game,” Hislop said. “It was just a matter of winning, getting more seasoned, trying to win those points and playing up to your potential.”
Hislop said he was also pleased with the performance of Matt Hobbs, who played a tough match against a future University of Montana Grizzly football player, and showcased his athleticism in the loss.
The Pirates will take the next step as they continue to march forward into the postseason and will face new challenges in their quest to qualify for state, both as individuals and as a team.
“During the tournament format, there are a lot of changes,” Hislop said. “Divisionals are different, and playing at state is monumentally different.”