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Flathead High School's Luke Fischer is one of three athletes to recently sign a letter of intent to play soccer for Northwest University in Kirkland, Wash., coach Gary McIntosh announced Thursday.

Fischer was part of two state championship teams while with the Braves. He also received all-state honors as a forward for both of those seasons.

Fischer, who is a multi-sport athlete, also holds the FHS record in the javelin (199-8) and was a state champion in wrestling this past year at the 171-pound weight class.

Fischer joins midfielder James Kerr from Woodinville, Wash. and center midfielder Wilbur Velasco from Wenatchee Community College as recent signees with the school.

Four area coaches named Coach of Year

The Montana Coaches Association recently announced its list of Coach of the Year honorees for the spring sports season. Among those to be honored at the MCA Awards Ceremony on Aug. 7 are four coaches from Western Montana.

Missoula Big Sky's track and field coach Dan Nile was named as the AA Coach of the Year for girls' track and field after leading the Eagles to their first girls' title in 18 years.

A pair of Polson coaches will also be recognized for their achievements this past season.

Bob Gunderson was named as the Class A girls' track and field COY after leading the Pirates to their third state title since 2003, while Bob Hislop will be honored in the girls' special sports category after leading the Pirates to a team title at the State A tennis tournament.

Whitefish's Derek Schulz rounds out the Western Montana honorees. Schulz recently led the Bulldog boys' track and field team to its sixth title in the past 12 years.

Montana Coaches of the Year

Spring Sports

Boys' track and field - AA: Rob Stanton, Billings West; A: Derek Schulz, Whitefish; B: Ed Royce, Manhattan; C: Dwight Freeman, Hinsdale/Saco.

Girls' track and field - AA: Dan Nile, Missoula Big Sky; A: Rob Gunderson, Polson; B: John LaBonty, Glasgow; C: Roy Lackner, Big Sandy.

Boys' golf - B: Jeff Armstron, Shepherd; C: Dave Perius, Gardiner.

Girls' golf - B: Jeff Strickland, Three Forks; C: Mike Taylor, Centerville.

Boys' special sports - Jim Gregg, Cut Bank tennis.

Girls' special sports (tie) - Bob Hislop, Polson tennis; John Smith, Stillwater softball.

Bobcats' Svoboda promoted

BOZEMAN (AP) - Montana State's second-year quarterbacks coach, Jim Svoboda, has been promoted to assistant head football coach and co-offensive coordinator.

Head coach Rob Ash said the promotion reflects Svoboda's experience and duties in the Bobcat program.

Svoboda joined Ash's staff last summer from UCLA, where he coached from 2004-06, including the last season as the Bruins' offensive coordinator.

He was a finalist for the 2005 Frank Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant football coach.

Svoboda graduated from Iowa's Northwestern College in 1983 and served as assistant coach there the same year. He also has coached at Eastern New Mexico and Northwest Missouri.

In addition, Svoboda was head coach at Nebraska Wesleyan from 1988-93, earning league coach-of-the-year honors three times.

Saints sign Oregon cross country star

HELENA (AP) - Carroll College has announced the signing of cross country athlete Tara Higgins from Portland, Ore.

Cross country coach Bill Ballinger said the signing completes recruitment for the 2008 Racing Saints.

He said Higgins is an accomplished athlete from St. Mary's Academy, one of the most prominent high school cross-country programs in the Northwest.

This past fall she helped lead her team to first place in the elite Nike Team National Western Region Championships and 10th place the following week in the NTN National Championships.

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