BOZEMAN — The top 10 most-read high school sports stories from the 2017-18 school year at 406mtsports.com:
1. Glasgow volleyball forfeits 1st-place district trophy, Oct. 30, 2017: The Scotties will certainly take a closer look in the future if or when they bring in practice help. Two ineligible participants cost Glasgow a trophy but not a berth at divisionals. The Scotties were demoted to second place in the divisional, behind Wolf Point.
2. 'This is for Two Eagle': Arlee's suicide awareness campaign, March 4, 2018 (Amie Just): Who can forget Arlee's ascendancy to the top of Class C boys basketball and the fallen Warrior for whom they played? "They're playing for a bigger purpose than just basketball," Arlee coach Zanen Pitts said, referring to the Flathead Reservation's suicide epidemic in general and the loss of a friend specifically. This story was written the day after the Warriors topped Manhattan Christian for their second consecutive state title.
3. Hugs and hisses? Brothers to start opposite each other for Hardin, Billings Central, Jan. 5, 2018 (Kyle Hansen): Two brothers, each a starter, one for each team. That was Jae Hugs of Billings Central and Trae of Hardin. The pair would have three memorable meetings during the season, including five overtimes and a championship showdown won by the Bulldogs. “I got really emotional just to see them both out there on separate teams," said Adree Herrera, the boys' mother.
4. Huntley Project girls basketball coach killed in crash, Oct. 15, 2017 (Sam Wilson): Tragedy struck a close-knit community when Kurt Kautz, 37 and the girls coach at Huntley Project for three years, died in a one-car accident on Interstate 94 north of Lockwood. Kautz was a Huntley Project graduate who had taught at St. Francis Primary Catholic School in Billings. Huntley Project Superintendent Mark Wandle called Kautz a “dedicated guy (who) loved athletic competition and really valued hard work and life lessons. It’s a tough day.”
5. Controversy brews as airborne hurdles cause injury, interference, re-run, May 26, 2018 (Amie Just/Jordan Hansen): One moment they were flying down the track and over the first three hurdles, the next a hurdle in lane 4 flew up and hit a competitor in the girls 100-meter hurdles at the Class AA state track and field meet in Great Falls. Seven hurdlers went to the cinders as hurdles kept falling. Said Missoula Sentinel coach Craig Mettler: "It was like a war zone out there."
6. Jeff Welsch: Mya Fourstar, Idaho woman shared hoop dreams and more, Jan. 6, 2018 (Jeff Welsch): A basketball star from little Frazer on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation and a deceased woman from Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, had two things in common -- their birthday (Jan. 6) and a love of Gonzaga women's basketball. After reading a story about Fourstar in The Billings Gazette, Cheryl Breeden's widower, Dan, forever linked the two with a surprise package containing Gonzaga gear from his wife's closet. “I was inspired," Breeden said of Fourstar hoop dreams.
7. After disciplinary issue, Helena's Trey Tintinger is back at the high jump mat, May 19, 2018 (Amie Just): In a candid interview during the Western AA divisionals, Montana's top high school high jumper shared the disciplinary reason he missed most of the competitive season for Helena High School. Tintinger, a sophomore who set a national high jump record in 2016 and a year later set an unofficial world record for his age group, would go on to win his second straight Class AA title. "I'm disappointed in myself," Tintinger told 406mtsports.com's Amie Just, adding later when asked what he'd learned: "I've learned not to be a dumbass."
8. How two brothers from Ennis went down as Montana track legends, May 29, 2018 (Chance Q. Cook): In the annals of high school track in Montana, only a handful of times has two athletes won a state title all by themselves. Never had it been done by brothers. And never had a duo scored so many points in doing so. Corbin (45 points) and Tanner (14) Wood brought home Ennis' fourth consecutive Class C title. “We just kept telling each other, ‘We’ll be legends if we do it'," Corbin Wood said.
9. Debilitating disease can’t keep Anaconda’s Sydnie Peterson from flourishing in hoops, Jan. 9, 2018 (Jordan Hansen): When she weighed 64 pounds as a freshman, Peterson's parents were "terrified". It took some time and patience, but doctors finally got to the bottom of what ailed one of Anaconda's finest athletes: Celiac's disease. And "Syd" took it from there, earning postseason honors in volleyball, basketball and softball. "...talking about how I'm an athlete and dealing with the disease and maybe being an advocate — I think I would like doing that," she said.
10. Billings Central dedicates State A tournament to 4th-grader who died from flu, March 1, 2018 (Kyle Hansen): "C.L." followed by a cross was the lettering on the shoes of each Billings Central boys basketball player, a tribute to St. Francis School fourth-grader Chloe Lai, who died from influenza. The team visited Chloe's school to help students and teachers deal with their grief. "Everyone was down, but we went in there, walked through the halls and the kids were smiling, giving us high-fives and it definitely brought us into good spirits. Our prayers are with the Lai family," Jae Hugs said.