Best of Preps — Spring 2018

The top high school athletes from Flathead County

By By Andy Viano | Photos by Justin Franz
Glacier's state champion 4x100 relay team, photographed for Best of Preps. Justin Franz | Flathead Beacon

Drew Deck, Mark Estes, Drew Turner & Ethan Larson

SCHOOL: Glacier

CLASS: Three seniors (Estes, Turner & Larson) and a Sophomore (Deck)

HIGHLIGHTS: The four members of Glacier’s 4×100 relay team were responsible for 10 all-state performances at the state meet, as well as the relay’s scintillating, title-winning run (41.68 seconds)

The depth of Glacier’s boys track and field team was on display throughout the title-winning 2018 season, and nowhere was that more apparent than among the quartet that won the 4×100 relay with a time just a shade off the state record. Mark won a state championship himself in triple jump (46 feet, 4.75 inches), and was second in the long jump and fifth in the 400 meters; Drew Turner won the 400 (48.80 seconds) on top of a second place in the 200 and fourth in the 100; Ethan was second in the 100, third in the 200 and fourth in the 400; and Drew Deck, the lone non-senior, finished in third place in the 300 hurdles.

Lauren Schulz

SCHOOL: Whitefish

CLASS: Junior

HIGHLIGHTS: Lauren broke through to win the first two state championships of her career, pacing the field in the 400 meters (59.44) and with the 4×400 relay

The youngest of head coach Derek Schulz’s three all-state, track star daughters, Lauren surprised even herself with a dramatic comeback to win her first state championship in the 400 at the state meet. Languishing near last place after the first 200 meters, she told herself, “I got to go,” and tore through the field with a second-half surge, taking down runner-up Bella Pacheco of Belgrade just before hitting the tape. “I was in shock,” she said of her reaction after the race, one that included three Bulldogs in the top six. Despite that, Lauren said she felt even better about her team’s 4×400 relay win where she ran the third leg for a team that included just one senior.

Haile Norred

SCHOOL: Bigfork

CLASS: Senior

HIGHLIGHTS: Haile defended her Class B state championships in the 200 (26.24) and 400 meters (58.91), in addition to being a part of two title-winning relay teams, all as Bigfork won a second straight team state championship

It wasn’t until the last event of her high school career that Haile knew she wasn’t finished with her competitive running career. “Right after my last race,” she said, “it hit me like, ‘I would miss it and I would regret not doing it,’” so Haile signed with Montana State University on the heels of another terrific performance at the Class B state meet in Laurel. Despite two team titles and numerous individual championships in her prep career, Haile said finishing first in the relays — both the 4×100 and 4×400 — is the memory she cherishes most “just because it’s my closest friends and it’s awesome that we could do that all together.”

Chad Hemsley

SCHOOL: Flathead

CLASS: Senior

HIGHLIGHTS: Chad won a state championship in the 300-meter hurdles (38.09 seconds), one of five all-state finishes that helped boost Flathead to a surprising second-place team finish

The top seed in the 300-meter hurdles entering the state track and field meet as a junior in 2017, Chad finished a disappointing sixth place and had 12 full months to think about the way that season ended. With one last chance this spring, he came through in a big way and accomplished a goal he’s had targeted since he first qualified in the event as a sophomore, winning the state title by more than a full second over his teammate, Dawson Rinehart. That pair battled back-and-forth most of the year, with both also earning all-state in the 110 hurdles (Chad finished second, Dawson third) before joining forces to push the 4×400 relay team to a second-place finish.

Angellica Street

SCHOOL: Columbia Falls

CLASS: Sophomore

HIGHLIGHTS: Angellica set the Class A state record with a Herculean toss of 147 feet, 7 inches in the javelin, more than 20 feet better than her nearest rival

For never having thrown a javelin before her freshman year of high school, Angellica seems to have tapped into some remarkable natural ability. The sophomore’s second throw at the Class A state meet in Laurel traveled more than 147 feet, even though, she said, “I didn’t really think it was going to go that far.” It ended up being the 15th-best throw in the nation this year. Angellica was recruited to join the track team by an assistant coach who saw her playing volleyball during the fall of her freshman year, and two years later she has her sights set on the school record (149 feet), a couple more state titles in high school and the chance to throw the javelin in college.

Annie Hill

SCHOOL: Glacier

CLASS: Senior

HIGHLIGHTS: Annie concluded one of the greatest careers in Montana prep history with two more individual state track titles, in the 800 meters (2:10.94) and 1,600 (4:51.62). She was also third in the 400 (58.52) and anchored the sixth-place 4×400 relay team (4:03.34)

One week after winning another pair of state championships on the track, Annie stood in front of her school and felt a “different nervous” in addressing fellow members of Glacier’s 2018 graduating class. Unsurprisingly, she delivered from the podium, too, capping off a high school career that may never be matched: Gatorade Montana athlete of the year in both cross country and track, six-time individual track and field state champion and two-time cross country state champion. Also a dedicated student, Annie stood at the finish line of the Girls on the Run Flathead Valley 5K race one day after the Western AA divisional meet to congratulate the young runner who might someday try to follow in her fast-moving footsteps.

Bryn Morley

SCHOOL: Bigfork

CLASS: Senior

HIGHLIGHTS: Bryn put a bow on her sensational high school career with three more individual state titles — in the 800-meters (2:13.55), 1,600 (4:49.41) and 3,200 (10:46.41) — and a second straight team championship for the Valkyries

There were plenty of wins along the way for Bryn, the youngest of three all-state runners from the venerated Morley family, but it wasn’t until her final high school season that she really felt like herself again. “It was definitely my favorite season,” Bryn said of the 2017-18 school year, one that included a fourth straight Class B state cross country title and three more individual track championships. Bryn will run for Northern Arizona University next season and is fully recovered, both mentally and physically, from an injury that ended her sophomore season early and had an impact on her during much of her high school career. “To be really happy with myself at the end of the state meet,” she said, “that was awesome to have for my final year.”

Ellie Berreth

SCHOOL: Bigfork

CLASS: Senior

HIGHLIGHTS: Ellie won the Class B state championship without dropping a single set in the state tournament, winning the title 6-2, 6-1 over Choteau’s Michaela Gunderson

Ellie has been playing tennis since she learned to walk, and winning a state title has been her ultimate goal for nearly just as long. After back-to-back fifth-place finishes — the first one coming in Class AA as a sophomore at Flathead — Ellie put together a dominating tournament in Great Falls in mid-May to end her high school career as a champion. “It was just sheer joy,” she said of winning the title in a match that turned midway through the first set, when she overcame a 40-love hole to pull ahead 5-2 in that set. “That moment right there I felt like I had a lot of momentum going … right there it felt really good.”

Evan Todd

SCHOOL: Glacier

CLASS: Junior

HIGHLIGHTS: Evan won the Class AA state javelin championship in dramatic fashion, securing the title with a final throw of 184 feet and 1 inch

With five of six throws in the rearview mirror, Evan stepped up for one final heave at the Class AA state meet in Great Falls and catapulted the Wolfpack closer to the school’s first-ever team championship with a title-winning toss of his own. Covering more than 184 feet, Evan’s final throw “jumped out of (his) hand” and set off a barrage of cheers from his coaches and teammates watching nearby. His state championship effort came moments after teammate Bennett McChesney shook off a rough few rounds to climb into third, and their combined effort put 16 points on the board for Glacier, which won the team title by more than 30 points.

Madde Boles

SCHOOL: Flathead

CLASS: Junior

HIGHLIGHTS: Madde earned all-state medals in the high jump (5 feet, 3 inches) and 4×100-meter relay (49.76) at the Class AA state meet

There’s no shame in a second straight fourth-place finish in the state, but for Madde a junior season that did not include a single personal best performance in the high jump is simply fuel to power what she hopes will be a history-making senior year. “I really want the school record,” she said of her goal in 2019. “That’s what’s going to motivate me into next year.” The junior did set a personal best in the 200 meters in 2018, even qualifying for the state meet in the event, and came away with a sixth-place finish as part of the Bravettes’ 4×100 relay.

Alivia Atlee

SCHOOL: Glacier

CLASS: Senior

HIGHLIGHTS: Alivia earned all-state honors at third base as a senior after hitting .484 with four home runs, 30 RBIs and a .562 on-base percentage

In four seasons on the Wolfpack’s varsity team, Alivia has seen two head coaches, won one state championship and lost in the state title game the following year, but as a senior this spring she comfortably took on the new role of senior leader and team captain. While Glacier’s year ended quickly in the state tournament, Alivia had one of the finest years of a stellar career and went out on a personal high note. “(Softball) is a really big part of my life; it’s how I’ve made most of my friends,” she said. “So the fact that it’s over is going to be kind of weird, but I’m also ready for that next chapter and getting into the field (nursing) that I want to do for the rest of my life.”

Drew Morgan

SCHOOL: Columbia Falls

CLASS: Junior

HIGHLIGHTS: Drew qualified for five events at the state track meet, running the anchor leg of the Wildcats’ 4×400 relay team that finished second (3:27.61) and the opening leg of the 4×100 team that finished sixth (43.77)

Drew had a busy weekend in Laurel at the state meet, and he ended a long first day with a disappointing finish in the 400 meters, where he did not place. But day two brought a new opportunity and, for Drew, a chance to “come back strong for my teammates.” Running the final leg of Columbia Falls’ 4×400 relay, he grabbed the baton in fifth place and took off at a blistering pace, streaking past three rivals and into second place. “I surprised myself, honestly,” he said. “I was either going to finish strong or hit 300 meters and die; luckily I finished strong.” Drew also qualified for the state meet in the 200 and javelin.

Lee Walburn

SCHOOL: Whitefish

CLASS: Junior

HIGHLIGHTS: Lee snared the first podium finish of his prep career by coming in third in a razor-close 300-meter hurdles race at the state meet with a time of 39.95 seconds

After a strong first two years in the program, Lee’s junior season was setting up to be one filled with accolades at the state meet, especially after he set personal bests in the 400 meters and 300-meter hurdles at the Western A divisional. But heading to the Class A meet in Laurel with expectations was “definitely intimidating,” and the junior failed to match either of those times, even as he fell just .03 seconds short of a state-championship in the hurdles. His third-place finish might be a disappointment right now, but Lee said he’s learned “how hard I have to work” to snare a first place or two in his senior season.

Wyatt Duke

SCHOOL: Bigfork

CLASS: Freshman

HIGHLIGHTS: Wyatt finished second in the high jump at the Class B state meet (6 feet, 4 inches) in his first high school season

The 6-foot-4 freshman must have coaches for the state champion Vikings basketball team drooling about the future, but Wyatt’s first brush with all-state stardom already came this spring. After clearing six feet in the high jump as an eighth grader, Wyatt made another step forward at the state meet in Laurel, coming up a mere two inches short of a state title. The performance might not have been shocking based on his size and middle school success, but Wyatt said, “I wasn’t expecting anything big at state” coming into the season. Now that he has an all-state year under his belt, Wyatt has big plans for the future and a goal of soaring as high as 6-8 as a sophomore.

More Stars

Track & Field

Class AA Boys

Elijah Boyd, Glacier, Senior, 3rd place 800

Jared Brendan, Glacier, Senior, 6th place shot put

Bennett McChesney, Glacier, Senior, 3rd place javelin

Hunter Nicholson, Glacier, Senior, 4th place triple jump / 5th place long jump

Joseph Vanden Bos, Glacier, Senior, 5th place 800

Michael Lee, Flathead, Senior, 2nd place shot put / 6th place discus

Jaden MacNeil, Flathead, Junior, 5th place short relay

Seth Moon, Flathead, Junior, 5th place triple jump

Ben Perrin, Flathead, Junior, 1st place 3,200 / 4th place 1,600

Dawson Rinehart, Flathead, Senior, 2nd place 300 hurdles / 2nd place long relay / 3rd place 400 / 3rd place 110 hurdles

Chance Sheldon-Allen, Flathead, Sophomore, 2nd place long relay / 5th place short relay

Trae Vasquez, Flathead, Senior, 2nd place long relay / 5th place short relay

Class AA Girls

Faith Brennan, Glacier, Sophomore, 5th place long jump

Katie Dixon, Glacier, Junior, 5th place javelin

Aubry Grame, Glacier, Sophomore, 6th place long relay

Lexey Macura, Glacier, Freshman, 6th place long relay

Mya McNeely, Glacier, Sophomore, 6th place shot put

Adrian Schnee, Glacier, Senior, 4th place 300 hurdles / 5th place 400 / 5th place high jump / 6th place long relay

Jessica Barnhart, Flathead, Sophomore, 6th place short relay

Kennedy Kanter, Flathead, Sophomore, 6th place short relay

Megan Rieke, Flathead, Senior, 5th place pole vault

Skyleigh Thompson, Flathead, Freshman, 6th place short relay

Class A Boys

Alex Barker, Whitefish, Senior, 3rd place high jump

Sam Menicke, Whitefish, Sophomore, 4th place triple jump

Kaedan Clewien, Columbia Falls, Junior, 6th place short relay

Austin Green, Columbia Falls, Senior, 5th place pole vault

Parker Greene, Columbia Falls, Junior, 3rd place discus

Daniel Henjum, Columbia Falls, Sophomore, 6th place short relay

Logan Kolodejchuk, Columbia Falls, Senior, 6th place short relay

Gabe Knudsen, Columbia Falls, Senior, 5th place 1,600

Zackary Pletcher, Columbia Falls, Junior, 2nd place long relay

Tucker Salmonsen, Columbia Falls, Senior, 2nd place long relay / 5th place 800

Easton Sempf, Columbia Falls, Sophomore, 2nd place long relay

Ben Windauer, Columbia Falls, Senior, 2nd place pole vault

Class A Girls

Emily Buckmaster, Whitefish, Junior, 4th place short relay

Anna Cook, Whitefish, Sophomore, 4th place 300 hurdles

Mikenna Els, Whitefish, Freshman, 1st place long relay / 4th place 800 / 6th place 400

Ella Greenberg, Whitefish, Junior, 1st place long relay / 5th place 800

Lydia Kryshak, Whitefish, Senior, 1st place long relay / 4th place short relay / 5th place 400

Annie Robertson, Whitefish, Junior, 4th place short relay

Genevieve Delorme, Columbia Falls, Junior, 3rd place 800

Tallia Sova, Columbia Falls, Senior, 6th place javelin

Class B Boys

Michael Bedford, Bigfork, Senior, 6th place long relay

Chase Chappuis, Bigfork, Senior, 6th place long relay

James Kerr, Bigfork, Junior, 6th place long relay

Logan Taylor, Bigfork, Senior, 6th place long relay

Class B Girls

Shae Anderson, Bigfork, Senior, 1st place short relay / 1st place long relay

Madison Gardner, Bigfork, Senior, 1st place short relay / 4th place 100 hurdles

Jordan Nelson, Bigfork, Junior, 1st place short relay / 1st place long relay / 4th place 200

Anya Young, Bigfork, Junior, 2nd place 1,600 / 2nd place 3,200 / 5th place 800


Class AA

Addie Labrum, Glacier, Sophomore, All-State Outfielder

Kynzie Mohl, Glacier, Freshman, All-State Utility Player

Sophie Smith, Glacier, Sophomore, All-State First Baseman

Hailey Junk, Flathead, Senior, Second Team All-Conference Outfielder

Jayden Russell, Flathead, Senior, Second Team All-Conference Catcher

Allee Meyer, Glacier, Sophomore, Second Team All-Conference Second Baseman

Sage Vanterpool, Glacier, Sophomore, Second Team All-Conference Pitcher

Kaileigh Denna, Flathead, Senior, Honorable Mention All-Conference Third Baseman

Class A

Kaylee Ashe, Columbia Falls, Junior, All-State Outfielder

Trista Cowan, Columbia Falls, Junior, All-State Pitcher

Ryley Kehr, Columbia Falls, Junior, All-State Shortstop

Raychel Hoerner, Columbia Falls, Junior, Second Team All-Conference Catcher

Baleigh Krause, Whitefish, Senior, Honorable Mention All-Conference Infielder


Class AA

Maria Frampton, Glacier, Junior, 3rd place girls singles

McKenna Johnson, Glacier, Senior, 5th place girls doubles

Maggie Rudbach, Glacier, Sophomore, 5th place girls doubles

Kyle Buckingham, Glacier, Junior, 5th place boys doubles

Tyler Keller, Glacier, Senior, 5th place boys doubles

Rory Smith, Glacier, Freshman, 5th place boys singles

Class A

Aubrey Hanks, Whitefish, Sophomore, 3rd place girls doubles

Olivia Potthoff, Whitefish, Sophomore, 3rd place girls doubles

Mark Anderson, Whitefish, Junior, 5th place boys doubles

Brendan Buls, Whitefish, Junior, 2nd place boys singles

Forrest Kobelt, Whitefish, Senior, 5th place boys doubles

Class B

Alex Buenz, Bigfork, Senior, 6th place boys singles

Clayton Reichenbach, Bigfork, Junior, 1st place boys doubles

Colton Reichenbach, Bigfork, Junior, 1st place boys doubles

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