Posted: May 2, 2012 4:22 PM by Richie Melby
Updated: May 2, 2012 5:23 PM
The halfway point of the spring sports season is officially in the rear view mirror as athletes hit the home stretch to State Championships. Upsets have occurred on the diamonds, school records have been broken on the track and golf course, tennis powers have continued their dominance, and spring football drills went out with a bang. Media members across the Treasure State have taken in these sporting events, giving many a good idea of what to expect in the final weeks.
I have gathered a top-notch group of the media, from one end of Montana to the other to partake in some "Bold Predictions" for the remainder of spring sports and into the summer. Each journalist was asked to think up predictions, consisting of a Montana flavor, that they believe could happen in the coming months. Some predictions are similar, but none of the media members were allowed to see the others' predictions. Each of us has gone out on a limb and we will be glued to the final weeks of spring sports and the coming of summer as we follow these Bold Predictions.
Following is a brief introduction to each participating member of the media, their Twitter handle, and their Bold Predictions. (note: some of these predictions were made a few weeks in advance, before this blog was officially posted).
Here are my predictions. Make sure to follow me on Twitter @richiemelby
1. Helena Capital's Jayden Tripp will hit a Game 2 walk-off to clinch the State AA Softball Title over CMR.
2. CMR pitcher Alissa Keeler will throw a perfect game for the second consecutive year. Freshman Quinn Hartman will come one hit short.
3. Plentywood senior Pres Harris will run a 48-second 400m dash, putting him in the Top 10 all-time.
4. Kalispell Glacier's Lexy Boschee will clear 6' in the high jump, breaking the near-40 year old record of 5'11".
5. Billings Senior star Dani Aragon will capture distance's "Triple Crown", setting records in the 800m and 1600m, while beating Paige Gilchrist by 2 seconds in the 3200m.
6. Missoula Loyola's Tom Swanson will shoot a two-day score of 136 at State Golf, best all-time at a State Invite. Maggie Crippen will again win the State B and Women's State Am titles.
7. Fort Benton's Kelsey Little will win every golf invite she competes in this season, capped by a second straight State Title with a score in the low 160s.
8. Great Falls High's Molly Crum and Kalispell Glacier's Kellen Bates will not lose a set at State Tennis, capturing the AA titles .
9. Fairfield will edge Cut Bank and Townsend for the State BC Tennis Championship. Linnea Zier will beat Paige Larson for the singles title. Jillian Altenburg and Kayla Kraft of Cut Bank will win the doubles championship.
10. Billings Scarlets' center-fielder Justin Black will bat over .600 this legion season and be named a Top 15 performer nationwide.
Greg Smith is the weekend sports anchor at KRTV/KXLH. He covers prep and college sports from Glasgow to Browning, Lewistown to Helena. Follow him on Twitter @KRTVGregSmith
1. Doug Raymer of Darby will break the 1:50 mark to win the State C 800m run.
2. The CMR softball team will not lose a single game in May, winning the State AA Championship in the process.
3. The Great Falls High softball team will qualify for the State Tournament after beating Billings West in the playoffs in Billings. The Bison will win on a walk-off home run by Kelsey Devlin.
4. The Great Falls Chargers will lose 15 consecutive games in June, starting against Kalispell on June 6th through games against Lethbridge on June 30th. The team will rebound and still qualify for State.
5. I will ace a Par 3 on the golf course later this summer.
Evan Weborg is a sports and news reporter for KRTV/KXLH based out of Helena. He is a former college football player who covers Carroll College as well as Helena High and Helena Capital. Follow him on Twitter @EvanWeborg
1. Helena Capital's Tori Nickol will win the 100m hurdles at State with a low 15-second race.
2. Carroll recruit Derrick Williams will run a 1:55.42 in the 800m run at the State A track meet, but will fall short to Corvallis' Colby Henderson, who will win with a 1:55.23.
3. In the Helena crosstown softball game on May 8th, Helena High's bats will come to life and they will stun Capital.
4. Missoula Sentinel star Riley King will be drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers and play for the Helena Brewers while fulfilling his basketball scholarship at Carroll College.
5. The Big Sky All-Stars little league team will go on another magical run to the Little League World Series, this time beating the Latin America squad for the championship.
6. Andrew Luck will be the next Peyton Manning while Robert Griffin III will be the next Ryan Leaf.
Gidal Kaiser is a sports writer for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. He covers prep sports in the Bozeman area, as well as select athletic events at Montana State. Follow him on Twitter, @GidalKaiser
1. Big Timber's Selene Johnson will win the Class B distance triple crown at the State Meet in Bozeman.
2. Manhattan's Carlee Smith will win the Class B shotput and discus.
3. The Bozeman softball team will win 7 games this season (as of 4/24 the Hawks were 0-7 with 12 games left).
4. Bozeman hurler Kennedy Carpenter will throw a no-hitter this season.
5. Belgrade's softball team will win the State A Championship, doing so behind a 1-hitter, 3-hitter and 2 no-hitters (in any order).
6. Belgrade's State Championship will be won by a walk-off/final inning home run.
7. A member of Bozeman High's distance corps will keep Senior's Danielle Aragon from repeating as a distance triple crown winner.
8. The Manhattan boys track team will win the State B Championship by 30-plus points.
9. Columbus golfer Tayler Noble will beat Tom Swanson for the State B individual title. Noble will shoot a 137 and win by 4 strokes.
10. Ennis golfer Mathew Johnerson will benefit from his home course to win the State C individual title with a two-day score of 150.
Carl "Slim" Kimmel is the online sports editor for the Billings Gazette. He handles the prep sports scene across Montana, with a focus on the southeastern part of the state. He is Montana-born, starring for the Winnett High School basketball team in 2004. Follow Slim on Twitter @SlimKimmel
1. The Billings West boys and Billings Senior girls will win the State AA Track and Field team titles, while Corvallis sweeps both in Class A. The Manhattan and Darby boys teams will earn team victories, as will the girls from Glasgow and North Star.
2. Winnett-Grass Range's Martha Dembek will win the triple jump at the State C meet in Bozeman, surpassing the 36' mark. Dembek won the event as a freshman in 2010, jumping 36-02. She battled ankle problems in 2011, but is pain-free this year. North Star's Lisa Carlon will get second place.
3. Lexy Boschee of Kalispell Glacier will get the four-peat in the high jump. As a freshman, Boschee won the event with a jump of 5-06. She won in 2012 at 5-04 (it was pouring rain in Great Falls). Last year in Butte, she cleared 5-08. The State Record is 5-9.50. She will get the new State Record this year by clearing 5-11.
4. I know the State AA track meet is in Butte where the elevation makes things more difficult on distance runners. But Billings Senior's Dani Aragon will set new State Records in both the 800m and 1600m runs, while also winning the 400m and 3200m.
5. Landon Polkow will win the 300m hurdles, breaking the State Record of 37.66. The Billings Skyview senior is the two-time defending champion in the event.
6. Helena Capital, Polson and Florence will win th State Softball Championships. Billings Skyview and Shepherd are the only teams local to Billings that will win hardware, with each getting 3rd place.
7. Speaking of the Falcons, senior pitcher Meg Reitz will throw a no-hitter this year and will not allow more than three runs in any single game.
8. Lewistown's Allie Adams will hit double-digit home runs this season, including a walk-off solo shot against Belgrade in a 3-2 Lady Eagles win. It will be Belgrade's first conference loss in forever.
9. Stillwater's streak of consecutive championship game appearances will come to an end this season. The Renegades have played in the last five State BC Championships, winning four of them.
10. Tayler Noble of Columbus and Austin Zopfi of Huntley project will finish 1-2 at State B Golf.
Jesse Zentz is the sports editor for the Helena Independent Record. He covers numerous sporting events with extensive knowledge in track and field, as well as running. Follow him on Twitter @IR_JesseZentz
1. Class B distance runners Makena Morley, a Bigfork freshman, and Chiara Warner, a Townsend junior, will both run the 1600m faster than 5 minutes this season, sending a message to their big-school rivals.
2. The Helena Capital softball team will advance to the championship game at the State Tournament and win the title in extra innings.
3. The Helena High boys tennis team will feature the State AA Champion in doubles, with either Will Poell and Colter Curey or Tyler Krushensky and Colin Harris winning.
4. Montana ultrarunner Mike Wolfe, who is moving from Helena to Missoula to run full-time for The North Face, will win the prestigious Western States Endurance Run, which is 100 miles long, on June 23rd in California.
5. The Helena High girls track and field team will improve from third place last year at the State AA Meet to second place this year, surprising my alma mater, Billings West, as Senior goes on to win the championship.
6. Kalispell's Zac Perrin will ignore the lack of oxygen in Butte at the State AA Track Meet and will put forth a legendary effort to break the 30-year-old All-Class State Record in the 3200m of 9:13.3, set in 1982 by Deer Lodge's Gordon Ruttenbur.
7. Carroll College track and field will continue its meteoric rise in the NAIA ranks and will have at least four more All-American performances at the outdoor championships.
8. Bozeman product and world-class cyclist Tejay Van Garderen will win the general classification title at the Tour of California and will finish among the Top 10 in the Tour de France.
9. Helena Capital 400m runner Kyle Nickol, a sophomore, will stun Senior's John Daubert, a senior, at the tape to claim the State AA Championship.
10. Helena Capital product and Boise State sophomore wide receiver Matt Miller will catch two touchdown passes and finish with 100-plus receiving yards to lead the Broncos past Michigan State in East Lansing on August 31st.
Phil Buck is the Montana This Morning anchor at KPAX in Missoula. Phil spent years on the sideline as the "television voice of the Grizzlies" and recently moved back to Montana after working at KING5 in Seattle. Follow him on Twitter @Phil_Buck
1. Glacier High's Kellen Bates, bored and uninterested after never losing a set his entire high school career, decides to play State Tennis with his off-hand, and he still doesn't lose a set en route to the State AA Championship.
2. Sitting on a 5-stroke lead on the 18th green at the final round of the 2012 Montana State Am Golf Tournament, 2-time defending champ Nathan Bailey 6-putts to fall short of winning his 3rd straight title.
3. Homesick, Stanford women's basketball standout and Missoula-native Joslyn Tinkle transfers to the University of Montana. She goes on to lead the Lady Griz to their first NCAA Final Four appearance in program history.
4. The University of Montana hires Carroll College's Mike Van Diest as head coach of the Grizzly football program. Carroll hires Helena-native Bobby Petrino to take over as Van Diest's successor.
5. Arizona Diamondbacks Paul Goldschmidt and Ian Kennedy will be sent down to the Missoula Osprey and will dominate the Pioneer League en route to an undefeated second half of the season and a league championship.
Casey Conlon is the weekend sports anchor at KTVQ in Billings. He covers the prep and college sports scene in the Magic City, but admits following the Big Sky All-Stars magical run through the Little League World Series has been his favorite event to cover. Follow him on Twitter @CaseyConlon
1. Billings Senior's Dani Aragon will break the State Record of 2:11 in the 800m and the 1600m record of 4:55.18 at the State AA Track Meet.
2. Billings Skyview's Landon Polkow will break the State Record of 37.66 in the 300m hurdles at the State AA Track Meet.
3. The Billings West boys will break the all-time points record at the State AA Track Meet.
4. Columbus golfer Morgan Scott will upset defending champion Maggie Crippen at the State B Girls Golf Tournament. Scott will win by multiple strokes.
5. Red Lodge golfer Matt Mullaney will hit a drive over 350 yards at the State B Boys Golf Tournament and will finish in the Top 3 individually.
6. The Stillwater softball team will not make the State BC Championship game for the first time in 6 years. In fact, they will finish with a losing record at State.
7. Billings Central freshman Dillon Meyer will win the State A Boys tennis title, not losing a set along the way.
8. The Billings Royals will win every meeting with the rival Scarlets during the season, and will win only their 2nd State AA Legion Championship in the last 20 years.
9. Scarlets' center-fielder Justin Black will hit over .500 on the season with double-digit home runs.
10. I will shoot my first-ever under-par round of golf this summer, during which I will record my first-ever hole-in-one....and then I'll wake up.
There are your 66 predictions as thrown out there by eight of us media members in Montana, athletes and coaches, we're counting on you to make us NOT look like fools! Good luck to all competitors in the final weeks of spring sports season.