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Sports

Best of Preps — Winter 2022

Recognizing the top high school athletes from throughout Flathead County

By Micah Drew
Flathead High School swimmer Lily Milner on March 10, 2022. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Lily Milner

SCHOOL: Flathead:
CLASS: Senior
CHAMPION: 50 & 100 Freestyle
Good things come to Lily Milner in threes. The senior is a triple-double state champion after winning the 100-freestyle and the 100-backstroke in back-to-back-to-back state meets with huge margins of victory. Lily is now in rare company – only six swimmers in Montana history have completed such a feat. If it weren’t for her freshman year losses to a state record holder, Lily would have been the most decorated swimmer in Montana history. “I was humbled as a freshman by getting second, and so sophomore year I just wanted to be on top of that podium. Ever since I got that first taste of winning I never wanted to not feel that feeling.” Despite having a taste, and an aptitude, for winning, Lily said the best moment of her career came with a fifth-place finish at the state swim meet by Flathead’s 200 freestyle relay team. “We weren’t seeded to score any points, and there was no pressure,” Lily said. “It was just a positive experience and ended with the first relay medal of our careers. That was just the cherry on top of everything.”


Artist Statement:

Shooting through triangular, cubical and spherical polyhedrons of solid glass at just the right angles allowed the camera to record refracted light from the strobes. The resulting dreamy effect on the images is fully physical, with no software filters or digital overlays contributing to the etherealism. 

Flathead Beacon Media Director Hunter D’Antuono on bouncing photons through prisms to create the kaleidoscopic flair on this season’s Best of Preps portraits.

Emma Berreth

SCHOOL: Bigfork
CLASS: Senior
POSITION: Guard
Early in the basketball season Emma Berreth had a career total of 940 points. Emma seemed poised to be the first Bigfork player to surpass 1,000 career points when she went for a rebound in a January game and got “quite literally thrown to the ground.” She doesn’t remember much after that, the subsequent concussion blanking her memory of the day. After just two and a half weeks of recovery though, Emma was back on the court and resumed her role as an essential component of the Valkyries’ plan to make it to the state tournament. “It was a little scary to come back after my concussion, but I was so happy to be able to finish the season with my team.” Emma did end up securing her spot in school history by surpassing 1,000 points, and Bigfork brought home the first state trophy in program history with their third-place finish at the state tournament. “The last game against Glasgow was so bittersweet for me — this team did so much, and I’ll miss them a lot. When you get to play with your best friends, every game is great because you’re out there with the people you love.”

Teegan Vasquez

SCHOOL: Glacier
CLASS: Senior
CHAMPION: 132-pounds
Teegan Vasquez’ third state tournament was as close to flawless as his first two. He won his first two matches by fall, then took an 8-1 decision in the semifinal. In the final match, “I just felt it, and let it fly going for the early take down,” and Teegan was crowned for the third time. “I was thinking about that third title, but as soon as I got it I started thinking about next year,” Teegan said. “My biggest challenge these days is staying focused on the grind. Keeping my head down and wrestling, and making sure I never feel secure as the best wrestler.” Teegan has proven himself to be extra talented among a family of decorated wrestlers, who have provided a lot of motivation for him over the years. With the high school season wrapped up, Teegan is shifting his focus to the national scene — last year, Teegan finished second at the national folkstyle tournament and he’s prepared to top that this year. “I’ve been working a lot on my mental game, keeping my mind focused all the time, especially with bigger things coming up for me.”

Ada Qunell

SCHOOL: Whitefish
CLASS: Senior
CHAMPION:100-Medley, 500-Freestyle
Whitefish senior Ada Qunell has won state titles swimming in every discipline in the pool and added two more to her resume this season, including her fourth straight victory in the 200-yard IM. In both the IM and her other signature event, the 500-freestyle, Ada has notched some of the fastest times in state history. “I really wanted to get the school record in the 500, but just missed it,” Ada said. “My goal is to swim that time at a club meet, just so I know I can do it.” Ada has a full club season ahead of her this spring and summer with plans to qualify for some regional and national meets before heading off to swim for Colorado Mesa University in the fall. “Between high school and club swim, I’m very proud of my last four years. I really feel like I learned to swim at a high level, and that’s what I plan to keep doing.”

Justin Windauer

SCHOOL: Columbia Falls
CLASS: Senior
CHAMPION: 138-pounds
Justin Windauer has been inching up the podium each year of his high school career — he finished third as a freshman and second as a sophomore. “I definitely didn’t want to take second again,” Justin said. “I spent lots of time on the mat and more time in the weight room over the last year. My whole mindset was just that I wanted to be a champion really badly.” In the final match of the state wrestling tournament, Justin became the Class A champion at 138-pounds after outlasting his opponent in an 8-4 decision. “I’d watched all of my opponent’s film and I really wanted to push the pace from the start,” Justin said. “We went out of bounds with about eight seconds left and at that point I knew it was done. I was smiling before it was over.” Justin only had two losses on his record this season and had 36 pins in his matches — just one off the school record. “I really wanted to end the state final on a pin to get the record, but I got the win and that’s what mattered most.”

Maddie Robison

SCHOOL: Columbia Falls
CLASS: Senior
POSITION: Guard
Coming off a record-setting season on the soccer field, Maddie didn’t slow down when it came to shifting sports to the basketball court. The Class A Northwest Co-MVP put up 245 points for the Wildkats in the final season of her high school career, helping Columbia Falls return to the state tournament. “It’s crazy that it’s over, it just doesn’t feel real yet,” Maddie said. “The girls I got to play with, we really just felt like a team of best friends. We had great chemistry, and everyone stepped into the roles they needed to really well.” After a stellar high school career as a multisport athlete, Maddie will be taking a step back from the competitive scene when she attends Grand Canyon University to work toward a dream of becoming an optometrist. “I’m not sure how I’ll react to not having a competitive sport for really the first time ever, but I’ll be excited to play intramurals. Plus, I’ve still got a spring soccer season ahead of me, so I’m ready to get the most out of what I have left.”

Fin Nadeau

SCHOOL: Flathead
CLASS: Senior
CHAMPION: 145-pounds
Fin Nadeau’s moment on the mat has been four years in the making. Three years in a row Fin made it to the final match of the state wrestling tournament before getting relegated to a runner-up finish. Not this year. Fin was matched up against an opponent he had a 4-0 record in for the final and took a 5-3 victory for his first state title. “It’s a lot better of a feeling to come off the mat as the champion,” Fin said. “All season I was looking to dominate on the mat, but I didn’t put as much pressure on myself and was less stressed for each competition.” Fin’s victory helped the Brave Brawlers secure the team title for the second straight year. “We all go to tournaments pretty serious, but once we’re on the bus and have come away with the wins, it’s all fun and games.” Fin will be wrestling this summer aiming for a spot on the U20 national team before he heads to Binghamton University in New York to continue wrestling at the collegiate level.

Isak Epperly

SCHOOL: Bigfork
CLASS: Junior
POSITION: Guard
Six-foot-two junior guard Isak was Bigfork’s most important player on the court this year.  “Isak always guarded the opposing team’s best player and he was our leading rebounder,” said coach John Hollow. Averaging 10 points and 7 rebounds per game, Isak helped the Viking overcome several close games throughout the season, including a 55-51 overtime victory against Eureka, to win the Western B Divisional Title. “Those close games were some of my favorites,” Isak said. “The games with the best competition are the most fun.” The Vikings earned their first trip back to the state tournament since their 2019 championship, and while the team was disappointed to fall short of a trophy, they were stoked with how far they’ve come since last season. “Just getting to state made us all super happy,” Isak said. “We just wanted to stick to our game plans and play as well as we had all season, and that’s what we did.”

Sophi Logue

SCHOOL: Bigfork
CLASS: Senior
CHAMPION: 100 Butterfly, 100 Breaststroke
Watching Sophi Logue in the pool, you’d never guess she’d worked to overcome a genetic disorder. Sophi has PKU, a rare genetic that means she can’t break down certain amino acids. PKU can lead to developmental problems, and Sophi says she often struggled in the classroom growing up, but “in the pool it’s all a level playing field for me.” As a sophomore, Sophi’s victory in the 100-butterfly was Bigfork’s first ever individual title at the state swim meet and she has added to the haul ever since — two more titles in the butterfly, a runner up finish in the backstroke last year and a win in the 100-breastroke this season. That last title was one of the most exciting for her. “The breaststroke was a totally new event for me, and I ended up having the fastest time in the state after my first race,” Sophi said. With that top seed time, Sophi went on to win the state title by two seconds. Sophi also contributed to the Valkyries’ first ever win at a swim meet, one in Butte against 12 other teams. “On the drive to the meet, we decided our word of the day was ‘winner.’ We just made it happen, and almost didn’t realize we’d won when we were leaving!”

Joston Cripe

SCHOOL: Flathead
CLASS: Senior
POSITION: Guard
Last April, Joston Cripe was playing in an AAU basketball when his right knee gave out. The diagnosis was the last thing a young athlete heading into their senior year wants to hear: a torn ACL. Following surgery in May, the all-state guard spent more than six months rehabbing his knee, hoping to put in at least an appearance during his senior season. “It was a grind doing what I could to try to stay fit, and I was really out of shape coming back,”Joston said. “But I kept a positive attitude throughout because I knew I’d have the chance to play again.” In January, he was finally cleared to take the court. In his first game in nine months, he was Flathead’s leading scorer with 18 points. He followed that up with 11 more top-scoring games, including putting away 33 points in an overtime win against Helena High. Joston was the highest scoring player in Western AA, giving the Braves 269 points, while also leading the conference in assists and steals. “I’m just excited I got the chance to play again, even though we didn’t make our goal of making state,” Joston said, adding that he had reinjured his knee — his meniscus this time — in the first divisional game. “My family got to see me play my last season and that’s the best part—seeing them after each game and knowing how much support they give me.”

 

Connor Sullivan

SCHOOL: Glacier
CLASS: Senior
POSITION: Forward
Connor Sullivan was an essential part of the dynamic offensive team that helped Glacier make its second straight appearance at the state tournament. “Connor had just an amazing year for us both statistically and as a team leader,” said Glacier coach Mark Harkins. “He is an intense competitor but off the floor is always joking.” Connor was the team’s top scorer, averaging 12.3 points per game, and made more three-pointers than all but one person in the Western AA conference, 56, which set the Glacier single-season record. “The season went by pretty fast but it was the most fun I’ve had in a basketball season,” Connor said.  That was the role I wanted to take on, keeping the spirits up, keeping the guys laughing and making everyone have a good time.” Connor still has a track season ahead of him before he trades in his Wolfpack uniform for a purple Carroll College uniform on this fall.

 

Hania Halverson

SCHOOL: Flathead
CLASS: Senior
POSITION: 120-pounds
Hania Halverson has been wrestling for six years, starting off in Oregon where girls wrestling is a sanctioned sport, then joining the Bravettes for Montana’s inaugural season. Last year, due to pandemic restrictions during the season, Hania entered the state meet with just five matches under her belt and lost in the quarterfinals to the eventual state champion. This season, however, everything went Hania’s way. She had 25 matches during the regular season and was undefeated against Montana competition going into the state tournament. “I had so much confidence going into state this year, even knowing that with this sport, every match is different, and you never truly know what’s going to happen.” Hania put away her competition without much trouble, including a final pin in less than a minute, earning her the tournament’s quick-pin award. “When I started wrestling in middle school, I didn’t envision myself as a state champion, but last year I started to. Then doing what I came here to accomplish turned out even better than I expected it to!”

Clare Converse

SCHOOL: Flathead
CLASS: Senior
POSITION: Guard
Clare said that the Bravettes put in a lot of hard work last summer and through the preseason to turn the team around after a few less-than-ideal seasons. “The chemistry came together perfectly this year. That was so exciting for us, especially after the last two years. I’ve played with a lot of these girls for so long that it was just the best way to go out.” The Bravettes started the season strong, clearly staking their claim as one of the top teams in the state, and still managed to peak for the state tournament where they brought home the third-place trophy. As the lone senior on the team, Clare said she naturally slipped into a leadership role, working to elevate each of her teammates to bring their best every day and have fun — a key aspect of the team’s dynamic this season. “The thing is if this team is having fun, they’re going to win games,” said coach Sam Tudor. Of course, after every big win the fun ratcheted up to a new level. “We’d run to the lock room, blast music and just dance,” Clare said.

 


More Stars

Boys Swimming

Connor Cheff, Columbia Falls, Senior, 2nd 200 medley/ 2nd 500 freestyle

Lincoln Schroeder, Whitefish, Freshman, 3rd 200 medley/ 3rd 500 freestyle

Thane Borgen, Columbia Falls, Sophomore, 6th 200 medley/ 6th 100 backstroke

Adam Schrader, Columbia Falls, Junior, 3rd 200 freestyle/ 2nd 50 freestyle

Derek Smith, Glacier, 2nd 200 freestyle/ 3rd 100 Freestyle

Isaac Keim, Glacier, 2nd 50 freestyle/ 3rd 100 backstroke

Ayden Strobbe-Barry, Flathead, 5th 50 freestyle

Jack McDaniel, Whitefish, Junior, 3rd 50 freestyle/ 2nd 100 butterfly

Logan Niles, Whitefish, Senior, 5th 50 freestyle

Xander Stout, Glacier, 5th 100 butterfly

Noah Schroeder, Whitefish, Freshman, 4th 100 butterfly/ 5th 500 freestyle

Quinn Clark, Columbia Falls, Sophomore, 5th 100 butterfly

Logan Botner, Whitefish, Senior, 2nd 100 freestyle/ 1st 100 backstroke

Connor Keith, Columbia Falls, Freshman, 5th 100 freestyle/ 4th 100 breaststroke

Drew Bouda, Glacier, 3rd 500 freestyle

Aaron Dicks, Whitefish, Senior, 6th 100 breaststroke


Girls Swimming

Sydney Slawter, Bigfork, Senior, 2nd 50 freestyle/ 2nd 100 backstroke

Sadie Cheff, Columbia Falls, Freshman, 4th 100 Freestyle/ 2nd 100 breaststroke

Madeleine McGaughy, Glacier, 6th 500 freestyle

Nia Hanson, Whitefish, Senior, 4th 100 butterfly/ 2nd 500 freestyle

Olivia Gibbons, Glacier, 4th 40 freestyle

Sydney Macintyre, Whitefish, Junior, 2nd 200 freestyle/ 4th 200 medley

Eloise McKeon, Columbia Falls, Junior, 3rd 200 freestyle/ 5th 100 butterfly

Norah Bagley, Columbia Falls, Sophomore, 6th place 200 medley/ 6th 100 butterfly

Lilia Kuzyk, Bigfork, Senior, 5th place 100 breakstroke


Boys Wrestling

Class AA

Davin Naldrett, Flathead, Freshman, 3rd place 103 lbs.

Aiden Downing, Flathead, Freshman, 4th place 113 lbs.

Anders Thompson, Flathead, Sophomore, 2nd place 170 lbs.

Gabe Lake, Flathead, Junior, 2nd place 160 lbs.

Cade Troupe, Flathead, Junior, 6th place 152 lbs.

Chase Youso, Flathead, Senior, 2nd place 205 lbs.

Noah Poe-Hatten, Flathead, Junior, 2nd 182 lbs.

Diesel Thompson, Flathead, Freshman, 6th 120 lbs.

Roenan Allumbaugh, Flathead, Sophomore, 5th 132 lbs.

Asher Kemppainen, Flathead, Senior, 4th 138 lbs.

Mason Doran, Flathead, Senior, 5th 170 lbs.  

Sawyer Troupe, Flathead, Sophomore, 5th 182 lbs.

Forest Howell, Flathead, Junior, 5th 282 lbs.

Garrett Bosch, Glacier, Freshman, 6th 113 lbs.

Aiden Krause, Glacier, Sophomore, 6th 182 lbs.

Class A

Blake Hoerner, Columbia Falls, Freshman 6th 126 lbs.

Cris Rathjen, Columbia Falls, Sophomore 5th 132 lbs.

Brandon Role, Columbia Falls, Junior, 6th 170 lbs.

Landree Aurund, Whitefish, Freshman 2nd 120 lbs.

Class B

Traic Fainter, Bigfork, Sophomore 4th 103 lbs.


Girls Wrestling

Bella Arriaga, Flathead, Senior, 6th 120 lbs.

Lily McMahon, Flathead, Junior, 3rd 126 lbs.

Lily Conover, Flathead, Senior, 6th 132 lbs.

Alivia Rinehart, Flathead, Freshman, 5th 138 lbs.

Lucille Libby, Flathead, Sophomore, 5th 205 lbs.

Boston Howell, Flathead, Sophomore, 5th 285 lbs.

Alliyah Stevens, Flathead, Senior, 3rd 285 lbs.

Brooke Yeadon, Glacier, Freshman, 2nd 103 lbs.

Audrey Goodsell, Glacier, Senior, 6th 170 lbs.


Boys Basketball

Ty Olsen, Glacier, Junior, 2nd Team All-Conference

Noah Dowler, Glacier, Junior, Western AA Honorable Mention

Jace Hill, Columbia Falls, Sophomore, All-State

Bodie Smith, Whitefish, Senior, 2nd Team All-Conference

Talon Holmquist, Whitefish, Senior, 2nd Team All-Conference

Alihn Anderson, Columbia Falls, Sophomore, NW Conference Honorable Mention


Girls Basketball

Kennedy Moore, Flathead, Sophomore, 2nd Team All-Conference

Maddy Moy, Flathead, Junior, 2nd Team All-Conference

Sidney Gulick, Glacier, Senior Western AA Honorable Mention

Noah Fincher, Glacier, Sophomore, Western AA Honorable Mention

Beth Sorensen, Glacier, Senior, Western AA Honorable Mention

Hope McAtee, Columbia Falls, Sophomore, All-State

Grace Gedlaman, Columbia Falls, Senior, 2nd Team All-Conference

Erin Wilde, Whitefish, Senior, 2nd Team All-Conference

Bailey Smith, Whitefish, Sophomore, NW Conference Honorable Mention

Alexis Green, Columbia Falls, Senior, NW Conference Honorable Mention

*In the print issue of the Beacon, the Class AA State All-Tournament honors were printed, as the All-Conference and All-State lists were not yet out. You can see those here for boys and girls. In addition the girl wrestling honors were inadvertently left out of the print edition, but are listed here.

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