Extra points

There's new talk of the University of Montana adding women's softball to its athletic program.

Maybe, maybe not, athletic director Wayne Hogan said.

Softball has been mentioned as a means to help the school comply with gender equity requirements. Softball and skiing are two sports being considered, Hogan said, but nothing is imminent.

"We will probably end up adding a women's sport in the next two to five years," Hogan said. "(Skiing or softball) are the two most likely."

Competition and weather are two obstacles UM would face with softball. The closest Division I competition is in the Pac-10. Hogan said teams must play about 60 games to qualify for the NCAA playoffs, which begin in mid-May. That would mean starting the season in early March.

It's not exactly virtual track and field, but now there's a way to match college teams on the Internet in head-to-head duals.

At tower.isu.edu/Power you can punch in, for instance, Montana vs. Montana State before they meet at Dornblaser Field next Saturday. Based on top marks through last weekend, the Bobcat men should beat the Grizzlies 103-98 and the MSU women should win 105-98.

Idaho State coach Dave Nielsen has devised the system - called "Team Power Ranking" - for Division I teams, and more than half are cooperating by providing their marks each week. Volunteer coach Stew Melby provides the time-consuming service for UM.

Teams are also ranked, receiving scores in the same fashion as the decathlon and heptathlon are scored. This week Montana and Montana State men rank 41st and 42nd, respectively, while the MSU women are 25th and the Lady Griz 30th.

Bad news for Luis Terrero, who became an instant hit among Missoula Osprey fans last summer when he hit a grand slam in the Osprey's home opener. Terrero, a promising center fielder in the Diamondbacks' farm system, broke a wrist in early April before he played an inning for the High Desert Mavericks in the Advanced A California League. He's out for two months.

From the mailbag: Received a note (well, a press release) from General Motors the other day. Inside is a snapshot of Hot Springs' own Todd Riech, striking a javelin-propelling pose in front of a silver GMC Envoy, which is in front of the gray Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Riech lives in beautiful downtown Burbank, Calif., working full-time as a personal trainer and training six to eight hours a day to get to the Olympic Games in Australia in September. He went to Atlanta in '96 as the top javelin thrower from the U.S., though he failed to medal.

"I guess you have to come here and see what it's like before you really know," Riech said at the time. "I'm definitely coming back."

He placed sixth at Mt. SAC on Sunday with a throw of 230-2, about 12 feet behind James Goulding's winning throw.

Remember when Riech won two Class C state track titles single-handedly for Hot Springs and coaches Loren Sullender and Floyde Baldry in 1988 and '89? It was and is an unprecedented feat.

Now he competes for a Nike-sponsored club and - the reason for GM's involvement - one of 100 U.S. Olympic hopefuls to receive a new car in a program called "The Team Behind the Team."

(Kim Briggeman can be reached at 523-5266 or by e-mail at kbriggeman@missoulian.com.)

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