CUSTER — Trevor Paro wants to play professional baseball some day.
He’s already started pursuit of that dream, playing the last three seasons with the Crew, a travel team based in Spokane.
And this fall, the multi-sport athlete from Hot Springs will join the Lower Columbia College baseball program. The Longview, Washington-based Red Devils recently won the Northwest Athletic Conference championship.
“It will be nice to focus on one sport,” said Paro, sitting in the Custer school lunchroom on Wednesday afternoon. “I’ve never done that before. It will be different.”
But before Paro turns his full athletic focus to baseball, he will put his attention to football, where he’s garnered the most acclaim in Montana.
Paro, the state’s all-time leader for touchdowns, will be playing for the Red team in the annual Class C 6-Man All-Star Game on Saturday in Custer. The game, which showcases the top 6-man players in the state, will begin at 7 p.m.
“It’s just small-town Montana,” Paro said of the atmosphere surrounding the game. “It’s guys walking together to the store … or jumping in the back of pickups to get somewhere. Most kids are like you, farm kids who are good at football.
“It’s an honor to be selected. I love baseball. But with football, you can’t beat the adrenaline of Friday Night Lights.”
Paro, who is 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds, finished with 135 touchdowns in high school, including 56 his senior season in leading the Savage Heat to a 13-0 record and 6-Man state championship. With an innate ability to reach the end zone, Paro rushed for 280 yards and four touchdowns in Hot Springs’ 54-20 win over Westby-Grenora in the title game. He also caught four passes for 116 yards and another score.
“I have to give props to my blockers the past four years,” Paro said. “Those guys worked their tails off to allow me to have that kind of success.”
Paro played every position on defense, finishing at defensive end.
"To give us some speed on the edge and create havoc," he said.
He was recruited for football by all the schools in Montana but eventually leaned to baseball to follow his uncle Jason Goligoski, who played six years in the minor leagues. Paro’s cousin, Taylor Goligoski of Hamilton and Jason's daughter, plays for the University of Montana women’s basketball team.
“I played it out to see what they were offering,” he said of playing football. “I wanted to have fun during the recruiting process. It was close (the decision). I didn’t know what I was going to choose. It’s tough to stop playing football.”
Paro also surpassed former Hot Springs standout Todd Reich as the school’s leading career scorer for boys basketball this year and broke Reich’s single-game scoring record with 43 points against Valley Christian. Reich, by himself, won Class C track and field team titles for Hot Springs in 1988 and 1989.
Paro was second in the triple jump, fourth in the long jump and fifth in the 110-meter hurdles this past weekend at last weekend’s Class C state track and field meet at the Laurel Complex.
After a quick return home for graduation — “We left Laurel right after the triple jump,” he said — Paro arrived in Custer on Tuesday with the rest of the players.
“It’s the first time I’ve been in pads and carried the pigskin around for a while,” he said, alluding to last November’s title game. “From throwing the baseball to grabbing the football, the memory starts flashing back.”
It didn’t take long for the football muscle memory to get back to the forefront.
“During that first practice, I broke off a few runs,” Paro said, smiling. “You’re going fast, it feels different from track.”
And not so pleasant memories.
“When we had the first tackling drills, I got popped,” he continued. “It was, ‘Oh boy, this again.’ ”
Paro will also play in the East-West Shrine Game in July. He plans to re-join the Spokane Crew on Monday.
“My baseball coach has been good about it,” he said of sharing time in two sports. “He says, ‘Just don’t get hurt.’ ”
Both all-star teams were together all week at the school, sleeping in separate classrooms and practicing on different fields during the day.
“It’s fun getting to know all the players,” Paro said. “You’ve played against them and you know them by numbers on their uniforms. It’s totally different to see them in T-shirts and shorts.
“It’s going to be a fun game. And it will also be competitive. I’m sure guys on the other side will be looking for revenge.
“Red team all the way.”