Sports

Best of Preps — Fall 2017

The top high school athletes from Flathead County

Randy Stultz

SCHOOL: Bigfork

CLASS: Junior

POSITION: Running Back

In his first season as the Vikings’ starting running back, Randy knew he was following in some impressive footsteps after Bigfork great Matt Farrier graduated. The junior back made the most of it and became Bigfork’s go-to guy on offense, piling up 960 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns. He ran for more than 100 yards in all but one of his team’s seven games. Against Anaconda, he wracked up 174 yards and three touchdowns, but perhaps most impressively he grinded out 151 yards and five TDs against Deer Lodge. “The team really worked well together. The season was cut a little short, but it was a good season with a great group of guys,” he said.

Drew Turner

SCHOOL: Glacier

CLASS: Senior

POSITION: Running Back

One of the first recruiting visits that new Montana Grizzlies head coach Bobby Hauck made was to Kalispell on Sunday to introduce himself to Drew, one of his many local commits. The 2018 recruit and Glacier Wolfpack running back has Hauck and Griz fans excited about the future after he tallied 1,666 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns this season, setting a new school record in only nine games. He averaged a whopping 7.9 yards per carry, and his all-state sprinter speed produced numerous highlights, including a five-touchdown, 267-yard performance against Missoula Big Sky, both school records. He finished with 311 total offensive yards that game, another school record. His motivation this fall was simple: “I just wanted to go out there and do what I do.” Get ready, Griz fans.

Austin Green

SCHOOL: Columbia Falls

CLASS: Senior

POSITION: Quarterback

It took a few weeks before it finally sunk in for Austin: first-time state champs. Austin and the Wildcats capped an historic season in storybook fashion, winning the school’s first state title in front of a raucous hometown crowd. At one point late in the game, Hamilton was regaining momentum and had Columbia Falls teetering on collapse, and then Austin found Ben Windauer wide open for a 42-yard touchdown that seemed to seal the deal. “The play wasn’t designed to go to him, but we both read (the defense) and knew it was going to be open,” Austin said of the pivotal play in the title game. For Columbia Falls’ starting quarterback and his teammates, the victory was a dream come true. “That’s something we’ve been dreaming about since fourth grade,” he said. Austin has committed to the University of Montana Western.

Forrest Kobelt

SCHOOL: Whitefish

CLASS: Senior

POSITION: Quarterback/Running Back

With a young team lacking varsity experience, Forrest found himself stepping up and filling any role he could. He emerged as a workmanlike leader for the Bulldogs and helped the team grab its first win of the season against Ronan, tallying 104 yards rushing with two touchdowns. Forrest is also a standout baseball player and has committed to play football and baseball at St. Olaf College in Minnesota. “We were really close as a team and definitely wanted to make the best of it,” he said of his final football season.

Blake Counts

SCHOOL: Flathead

CLASS: Junior

POSITION: Running Back

Almost all of Blake’s summer was occupied by football as the junior prepared for his first season as the Braves’ full-time starting running back. His hard work paid off, and Blake helped Flathead achieve numerous milestones this season. Against Helena, Blake rushed for 112 yards and helped the Braves beat the Bengals for the first time in 10 games. Against Glacier, Blake rushed for 115 yards and guided the Braves to its first crosstown win in several years. And in the team’s first home playoff game since 2005, Blake rushed for 221 yards, capping his stellar season with 1,250 yards. He’s already back in the weight room with a lofty goal on his mind: breaking Flathead’s school record for rushing yards in a season, at 1,300.

Cailyn Ross

SCHOOL: Whitefish

CLASS: Senior

POSITION: Middle Blocker

Entering her final season, Cailyn wanted to make lasting memories on the volleyball court, and she sure made plenty. The senior earned Class A all-state honors after leading Whitefish to the state tournament. In a game against Browning, Cailyn shined with 18 kills and three blocks, one of the many matches that showcased her athletic versatility this season. Against rival Columbia Falls, she had 12 kills. “I was nervous knowing it was my senior year and it was the last time I could play with everyone,” she said. “I wanted to make the best of the season.” Cailyn is graduating early and attending Kane University in New Jersey where she plans to play volleyball.

Ashley Montini

SCHOOL: Glacier

CLASS: Senior

POSITION: Setter

A two-year starter, Ashley ended her excellent prep career with all-state honors for the Wolfpack, helping lead the team back to the Class AA state tournament. Ashley has emerged as a talented leader for a volleyball team that has been a perennial playoff contender in recent years. She set the school record for most assists in a game twice, first getting 54 and then breaking it the following game with 55. In a pivotal playoff game to determine a trip to the state tourney, Ashley had 50 of her team’s 53 digs and helped Glacier defeat Missoula Big Sky. “It was a really fun season. Everyone put in a lot of work and it really showed,” she said.

Xander Burger

SCHOOL: Whitefish

CLASS: Junior

POSITION: Midfielder

Xander was part of a powerhouse team that included fellow all-state players Noah Romagnuolo and Sam Menicke. The Bulldogs went 8-3-1 and advanced to the Class A state championship match after a 3-1 win over Frenchtown in the semifinal round. An unfortunate injury in practice leading up to the title game forced Xander to sit out as Whitefish fell to Belgrade 3-0. Still, the season of success ended with plenty of highlights. Xander, who began playing soccer when he was 5, ended with nine goals, including one goal and assist in the semifinal match.

Brady Schultz

SCHOOL: Glacier

CLASS: Senior

POSITION: Forward

One of the captains on Glacier’s soccer team, Brady approached the season with an underdog mindset. It helped that his team was far more talented than opponents expected. The Wolfpack cruised through the season with a 10-2-2 record and played in the Class AA state title game for the first time in program history. Although the match didn’t end the way the Pack hoped, it was still a banner year for the program. Brady finished with 12 goals and six assists. One of the best memories from fall was the huge upset of previously unbeaten Billings Senior in the state semifinal round. “That was our best game all season. Our team really came together,” Brady said.

Cadie Williams

SCHOOL: Glacier

CLASS: Senior

POSITION: Forward

Cadie was a force to reckon with on the soccer field this season, tallying 33 goals and 14 assists en route to being named the Western AA player of the year. The senior forward began the season with four three-goal games in a row and scored another three in a pivotal playoff game against Missoula Sentinel. That performance helped vault Glacier back into the state tournament for the first time since Cadie was a freshman. “I didn’t know what it meant back then, but I knew what it meant this year,” she said. Cadie led by example on and off the field, and her work ethic produced exciting results. Her six goals in one game ranks third most all-time, according to the Montana High School Association.

Hannah Gedlaman

SCHOOL: Columbia Falls

CLASS: Senior

POSITION: Forward

With a new group of players and a new coach, Hannah approached her final season with a simple mindset: there’s nothing to lose. The senior forward attacked opponents with athletic prowess and netted 25 goals this fall, including five in a single game against Libby. After falling to Whitefish earlier in the season, the Wildkats rallied back to win a big conference match, and the girls later advanced to the Class A state tournament. Hannah and crew cruised past Stevensville 6-0 in the first round of the playoffs before falling to Billings Central. Hannah ended her final season with plenty of exciting memories. “The thrill of scoring goals doesn’t compare to anything,” she said.

Bryn Morley

SCHOOL: Bigfork

CLASS: Senior

Countless miles and hours of running in the Swan near her family’s home have led Bryn down a remarkable path as one of Montana’s brilliant long-distance runners. The senior capped her prep cross country career with one more Class B state championship, clocking 18:30 to win her third individual title. Last weekend she made her final trip to California to race in the Foot Locker Regionals race, where she placed 51st in 19:39. After injuries sidelined her a year ago, Bryn has not taken anything for granted and has remained wholeheartedly passionate about her running. “I didn’t understand how fast it can get taken away from injury. This year I understand,” she said. “It’s my last year, and before I always had an excuse. This is my last chance.” Spring track season will showcase her abilities once more before she embarks on a collegiate career, the destination still undecided.

Ben Perrin

SCHOOL: Flathead

CLASS: Junior

The latest long-distance standout from the Perrin family took his talents to a new high this fall in cross country. Ben placed sixth, 16:18, in the Class AA state championship 5K race. Last weekend he was in California racing among the top prep runners in the West at the Foot Locker Regionals, where he placed 48th in 16:35. Ben was able to achieve success this fall despite several hurdles, including a nagging injury and heavy wildfire smoke that disrupted training for several weeks. “It was the weirdest start to a season I’ve ever had,” he said. “The last few meets, I had a lot of pressure to do well. I really wanted to push myself and have a good time and place.” Mission accomplished with many more highlights still to come.

Marcella Mercer

SCHOOL: Flathead

CLASS: Freshman

Marcella was only a freshman this fall but played with the mental strength of an upperclassman. Her best round of the season was the first of her high school competitive career, a 78 in Great Falls. That set the standard for the standout Bravette as she excelled all fall. At the Class AA state tournament, she earned all-state after placing ninth, carding 98-92—192, a remarkable feat for a first-year player. “I like how much of a mental sport (golf) is. You don’t just swing the club,” she said. Her nerves usually bug her before a round, but they vanish as soon as she tees off, and she locks into her zone. It helps, too, that she loves the sport and can’t wait to get back out on the fairways.

AJ Grande

SCHOOL: Glacier

CLASS: Senior

AJ set a few lofty goals before the season started, and one by one he began to knock them down. At the Missoula Invitational golf tournament at Canyon River, he set a school record for the lowest front nine with a 30. At the Class AA state tournament, he capitalized on his home-course advantage and placed third at Buffalo Hill. Grande shot 69-79—148. His front nine performance was one of his best ever and emerged under pressure against the top players from across the state. “I showed up and played to the best of my ability,” he said. His love of golf won’t end now that his competitive prep career has, and he looks forward to playing well into the future.

More Stars

All-State Selections

Football  –  Class AA

Max Morris, Glacier, Senior, Tight End

Cody Hartsoch, Glacier, Senior, Offensive lineman

Mark Estes, Glacier, Senior, Wide receiver

Brec Rademacher, Glacier, Senior, Long snapper

Cole Crosby, Glacier, Junior, Linebacker

Jackson Pepe, Glacier, Senior, Safety

Austin Demars, Flathead, Senior, Tight end

Max Anderson, Flathead, Sophomore, Offensive lineman

Hunter Waters, Flathead, Senior, Offensive lineman

Hunter Wellcome, Flathead, Senior, Offensive lineman

Daniel Long, Flathead, Senior, Offensive lineman

Austin Jones, Flathead, Junior, Wide receiver / Punter

John Baker, Flathead, Senior, Fullback

Taylor Morton, Flathead, Senior, Quarterback

Alex Coulter, Flathead, Senior, Kicker

Chad Hemsley, Flathead, Senior, Long snapper

Andrew Siderius, Flathead, Junior, Defensive lineman

Michael Lee, Flathead, Senior, Defensive lineman

Tucker Nadeau, Flathead, Senior, Linebacker

Kenyon Fretwell, Flathead, Senior, Linebacker

Jaden MacNeil, Flathead, Junior, Safety / Return Specialist

Trae Vasquez, Flathead, Senior, Safety

Eric Reyna, Flathead, Senior, Cornerback

Gunnar Landrum, Flathead, Junior, Special teams

Football  –  Class A

Hayden Falkner, Columbia Falls, Senior, Lineman

Gage Karlin, Columbia Falls, Junior, Lineman

Jacob Hagen, Columbia Falls, Senior, Lineman

Kyler Koski, Columbia Falls, Senior, Lineman

Logan Kolodejchuk, Columbia Falls, Senior, Running back

Colten McPhee, Columbia Falls, Junior, Linebacker

Ben Windauer, Columbia Falls, Senior, Safety

Devron Harris, Columbia Falls, Junior, Cornerback

Football  –  Class B

Logan Gilliard, Bigfork, Junior, Offensive lineman

Volleyball  –  Class AA

Anna Schrade, Glacier, Senior, Outside hitter

Kali Gulick, Glacier, Junior, Middle hitter

Volleyball  –  Class A

Ryley Kehr, Columbia Falls, Junior, Hitter

Soccer  –  Class AA

Ellie Stevens, Glacier, Senior, Midfielder

Skyleigh Thompson, Flathead, Freshman, Forward / Defender

Soccer  –  Class A

Auguste Emond, Columbia Falls, Junior, Forward

Noah Romagnuolo, Whitefish, Senior, Forward

Sam Menicke, Whitefish, Sophomore, Defender

Josie Windauer, Columbia Falls, Freshman, Forward

Macey Sandefer, Columbia Falls, Junior, Midfielder

Hannah Callender, Columbia Falls, Junior, Forward

Anna Cook, Whitefish, Sophomore, Midfielder

Cross Country

Annie Hill, Glacier, Senior, Class AA third place

Kaitlin Wride, Flathead, Senior, Class AA eighth place

Aren Alexander-Battee, Glacier, Junior, Class AA ninth place

Simon Hill, Glacier, Sophomore, Class AA 10th place

Ella Greenberg, Whitefish, Junior, Class A eighth place

Gabe Knudsen, Columbia Falls, Senior, Class A fourth place

Joe Lamb, Columbia Falls, Sophomore, Class A 11th place

Anya Young, Bigfork, Junior, Class B second place

Alicia Kalenak, Bigfork, Junior, Class B seventh place

Golf

Megan Archibald, Whitefish, Sophomore, Class A 10th place

Ella Shaw, Whitefish, Sophomore, Class A 11th place

Gracie Young, Whitefish, Junior, Class A 12th place

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