Spring Sports Roundup: Polson Softball Three-Peats, Kalispell Rugby Wins State Title

By Beacon Staff

High school spring sports came to an exciting conclusion across the state last weekend even if there was plenty of ill weather to go around. In track alone there were 20 individual state championships brought back to the Flathead from the final meets across Montana.

Here’s a recap of a few other local storylines that played out nicely:

Polson Softball Three-Peats

Never count out Polson. Even in winter weather.

If it’s possible, the two-time defending state champs were underdogs in this year’s Class A state tournament. But last weekend the third-seeded Lady Pirates stunned the ranks, including rival Frenchtown, the top seed from Northwestern A and the presumptive favorite. Polson dealt Frenchtown its second loss of the season in the semifinals and then battered Belgrade, the top seed from Central A, to win the state championship in a delayed finale on Monday. Polson has now won seven of the last 12 titles dating back to 2001.

The title game was moved to Frenchtown after a snowstorm in Anaconda hampered action all weekend and made Saturday’s title game unbearable. Polson and Belgrade were tied 2-all in the bottom of sixth when the Lady Pirates erupted for six runs. All-state junior Shalaina Duford wrapped up her complete game performance on the mound in the top of the seventh, sealing the championship victory, 8-3. Heidi Rausch had a two-run homer and Jessica Bagnell went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.

Polson’s thrilling finish further solidifies its status as a perennial powerhouse. Instead of being the bona fide favorite the Lady Pirates sputtered early this year, fell behind Northwestern A newcomer Frenchtown and clung to the final state berth. The Lady Broncs took Polson’s place as the team to beat after winning the conference with a 21-1 record. Columbia Falls handed the Lady Broncs their lone loss and clinched the No. 2 seed from NWA, finishing fourth with a 20-7 record. Frenchtown (23-3) ended up third.

Polson Girls Win Tennis Title

The Lady Pirate tennis team brought home Polson’s second state championship over the weekend. A couple of days before the softball team won its title, the girls tennis team edged Hamilton by one point to win the program’s second state championship and first since 2008.

Mollybeth Hendrix and Kenzie Clay finished second in doubles. Karly Rochin and Jordan Quinn earned fourth. Whitney Zimmerman placed fourth in singles. Audra Engebretsen and Karmen Borchers placed sixth in doubles.

For boys, Polson placed fourth. Will Davey and Ian Laimbeer finished fourth in doubles. Corvallis won the team title.

Black and Blue Win Rugby State Championship

A year after falling short in the state semifinals, Kalispell’s Black and Blue rugby club finished the season with the program’s first state championship, at home no less. The Black and Blue held off Bitterroot, 24-20, to win the Montana Youth Rugby Association state championship at Evergreen Junior High on Saturday.

Kalispell whooped Missoula 31-5 in the semifinals before charging past Bitterroot. The victory underscores a big year for rugby in the Flathead Valley. The Black and Blue, in their fifth year, have established themselves as one of the state’s most dominant teams, loaded with football and wrestling talent. Kalispell’s other high school club, the Flathead Rugby Club, is up and coming, too. Also, the Moose men’s team has reemerged and returned to state competitions.

Rugby’s back.

Iverson Wins Memorial Day Golf Tournament

Logan Iverson, who will be a senior at Glacier next year, is following in his big brother’s footsteps and picked up an impressive victory at the 77th Barnett Memorial Day golf tournament at the Missoula Country Club on Monday.

Iverson shot a 3-over 74 on the final day to beat Missoula’s Dirk Cloninger by two strokes. Iverson finished the tournament with 70-68-74–212. Iverson’s older brother Larry, a former state champion who plays golf at the University of Washington, reportedly caddied for his sibling.

Winning this prestigious tournament could be a nice foreshadowing of things to come for Iverson next season.

Libby native Jim Mee, a senior at Carroll College, finished fifth, 70-71-76–217. Mee recently won the Frontier Conference title and the 2012 U.S. Open qualifier at Old Works Golf Club in Anaconda.

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