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.”