Portions of an article BY JOHN HEGLIE Special for the Leader
The Mission Valley reaped a pair of all-staters when senior Ellie Thiel and freshman Hunter Emerson of Polson placed among the top 15 at the two-day Class A state golf tournament Thursday and Friday at the Butte Country Club.
Thiel improved her second day score by seven strokes to move up three spots from tied 14th after first-day action. Emerson and fellow Pirate Torrin Ellis were initially tied at 24th after first-day action with dual 87s. But Emerson shaved 10 strokes off his firstday tally to leapfrog up the leaderboard 11 spots and finish 13th.
Emerson’s 10-stroke improvement tied for thirdbest second-day
recovery with Johnny Nix of Whitefish among the boys field, behind a 17-stroke leap by Kaden Hardin of Miles City and 15-stroke surge by Bryce Hayes of Livingston.
Polson’s Ellis and Carson Hupka and Carly Garrick were models of consistency. Hupka and Ellis turned in duplicate scores over the course of both days, while Garrick was within one stroke of her preceding day tally.
Thiel tied for 10th in 2018 for all-conference kudos at the Western A Divisional her sophomore season, and finished tied for eighth last year for all-state honors. The seasoned senior put together a complementary set to close out her prep postseason finales with her all-state flourish, coupled with her preceding sixth-place finish at divisionals for all-conference acknowledgement.