This week's edition of Prep Athletes of the Week has to give a nod to Arlee's Phillip Malatare for his 48-point, near triple-double performance on Thursday.
Malatare's reign as last week's Prep Athlete of the Week — as selected by Missoulian readers — just came to an end, however. And in the interest of integrity and showcasing as many of the talented high school athletes as possible, Malatare missed this week's list.
An Arlee ball player did garner a nomination, though, as well as a trio of wrestlers, a pair of swimmers and perhaps the first ever middle school athlete to make the cut.
Each week, we nominate an equal number of boys and girls for our “Prep Athletes of the Week.” Readers will be able to vote for one boy and one girl in polls that appear by noon Monday at Missoulian.com. Voting will be open through 6 p.m. Wednesday.
The winners will be published in the Missoulian’s Prep Extra section each Thursday.
Here are this week’s nominees:
Arlee's Alyssia Vanderburg scored a game-high 25 points in her team's 45-30 win against Seeley-Swan on Thursday. The 6-foot-1 junior followed her performance with a 20-point game in the Scarlets' 53-31 District 14-C win against Hot Springs on Saturday.
Missoula Hellgate's Gabby Smart won a pair of individual races at the Missoula City Meet, and her Knights swim team blew the competition out of the water on its way to a team victory. Smart clocked in at 2 minutes, 16.63 seconds to take the 200-yard individual medley by over six seconds. Smart also won the 500-yard freestyle by nearly 14 seconds.
Shaye Ewing, from Meadow Hill middle school, may very well be the first middle schooler to crack the prep athlete of the week nominee list. Her stellar weekend at the high school hockey level was worthy, though. Ewing tallied three goals in the U19 Missoula Lady Bruins' 8-5 win against Flathead on Saturday. Ewing added a goal and an assist on Friday in a 5-0 win against Bozeman.
Bigfork's Jaime Berg scored an area-best 30 points on Saturday to lead Bigfork to a 61-46 win over Anaconda. The big game came two days after Berg had another double-figure performance in a 44-32 win against Eureka on Thursday. Berg scored 14 in that one, and the Valkyries are undefeated to start the season (5-0 overall).
Philipsburg's Jaden Comings nearly eclipsed the 30-point threshold Friday, as the senior tallied 29 points in her team's 63-21 District 12-C win against Sheridan. Comings followed with another 20-point performance Saturday as the Prospectors topped Lima, 61-25. P-Burg improved to 4-2 overall with the pair of wins.
Plains quite literally would not have been able to win Eureka's Buzz Lucey wrestling tournament without Daniel Uli. Uli was the lone Horseman to take home an individual title, which he won by way of a 15-0 technical fall in the 126-pound championship match. The five points gained were pivotal, as Plains bested Whitefish by the slimmest of margins, 117-116.5.
Frenchtown's Riley Gurr made quick work of his opponent in the Tri-State 132-pound championship match in Coeur d'Alene Saturday. Gurr won the title bout with a pin in 50 seconds at the prestigous two-day meet. Gurr was great all weekend, too, as he won every match — all five — by pin. His longest match took just 1:36 to complete, otherwise he had his opponent pinned in less than a minute.
Kalispell Flathead's Tucker Nadeau also brought home a Tri-State title at the Coeur d'Alene tournament. The 182-pound wrestler won by an 8-3 decision in the championship match after advancing to the title bout with a grueling semifinal win. The win, by way of pin, in the semis came at the 5:35 mark of the match. The Tri-State meet featured teams from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
Missoula Sentinel's Bremer Deaton was the lone representative from the Garden City not sporting Hellgate Red and Gold to win a race at the Missoula City swim meet Saturday. Deaton touched the wall just .08 seconds ahead of Hellgate's Tanner Baldry in the 100-yard backstroke, surely fueling a friendly rivalry for the two swimmers who swim under the banner of the same coach. Deaton's winning time clocked in at 57.53 seconds.
Hamilton's Tanner Goligoski had a shooting performance so good Thursday night his coach Travis Blome said he's, "never seen anything like (it)," before. Goligoski was 9 for 10 from 3-point range for the game, and he was 8-for-8 shooting from downtown at one point in the first half. In the first 16 minutes of the game, Goligoski was just five 3-pointers off the state record, according to the MHSA. Though he didn't break the record (13, Matt Luedtke, Ronan), Goligoski did finish with 31 points in a 67-39 win over rival Corvallis.