Missoula Big Sky senior Sarah Lidstrom seemingly played sports her entire life in the shadow of her older sister, Sam. But on Wednesday evening at the DoubleTree Hotel, Lidstrom accomplished something her sister, two years her senior, never did.
A standout in volleyball, basketball and track and field with a 4.0 grade point average, Lidstrom was named the 2010 Missoula High School Female Student-Athlete of the Year at the 52nd annual KPAX Sports Awards Banquet.
With guest speaker Marty Mornhinweg, master of ceremonies Robin Selvig and countless former award winners looking on, Lidstrom learned she had been picked for the award. She was surprised to be chosen over Missoula Sentinel basketball standout Bryn Hasquet, Valley Christian volleyball, basketball and track and field star Bethany Kesler, Loyola Sacred Heart three-sport all-state honoree Jordan Pfau and Mary Yoder, a leader in basketball, volleyball and softball at Missoula Hellgate.
When asked if the student-athlete of the year honor was something she could hold over her sister's head, Lidstrom let out a hearty chuckle.
"Absolutely, I'm going to do just that," she said. "It's funny though. I've known all the other girls (nominated) forever and I've been playing against them forever. I've admired all of them and I've always respected them and always feared them."
Peter Shaughnessey, an all-state football player and all-conference basketball player at Loyola, was selected as the Male Student-Athlete of the Year. He beat out finalists Steven DeYoung, who played football and wrestled at Hellgate and plays for the Missoula Mavericks American Legion baseball team, Josh Hamilton, who ran cross country and track and wrestled at Sentinel, football, basketball and track star Drew Owens from Big Sky and Valley Christian soccer, basketball and tennis standout Morgan Parsons.
"This award is special because I am in great company being nominated with all these guys," said Shaughnessey, who holds a 3.99 GPA. "But it's a reward for four years of hard work not only on the playing field, but in the classroom, too."
After Montana Lady Griz basketball coach Selvig humored a packed banquet room with an opening speech that rivaled a late-night television talk show's opening monologue, he yielded the podium to Mornhinweg.
The former Montana quarterback from 1981-1984 who is now the offensive coordinator and associate head coach of the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, Mornhinweg spoke of the bonds forged over athletics, his mantra of never letting them see you sweat, staying above the negatives, being aggressive, getting what is earned, getting better everyday and hanging in there.
When he was done, UM athletic director Jim O'Day inducted Mornhinweg into the Grizzly Sports Hall of Fame.
Following that presentation, longtime high school official Dick Huse, who helped start the Montana Officials Association, was given the Campbell-Buzzetti Award, given to those who have given freely of their time and effort over the years and who have given their unending support to sports in Missoula.
After Lidstrom was honored, Montana tennis coach Kris Nord was presented with the Ed Chinske Award for a professional coach or other person in the field of athletics.
The final award of the evening was presented to Missoula restaurant entrepreneurs Bob Powell and Nick Alonzo, who received the Ray Rocene Sportsman of the Year Award.