When: Friday and Saturday.
Courses: Valley View Golf Club, par-70, 5,855 yards from the men's tees, 5,293 yards from the women's tees; Bridger Creek Golf Course, par-71, 6,017 yards form the men's tees, 4,902 yards from the women's tees.
Last year: Missoula Big Sky capitalized on its home-course advantage and won the state title by two strokes over Billings West at Larchmont. The Missoula Sentinel boys finished third. Sentinel's Adam Hober shot a 1-under par 71 on the second day of play to finish fourth. Great Falls High captured the girls' title by one stroke over Billings Skyview.
This year: Sentinel, the 1999 boys' champion, should make a run in Bozeman, although Great Falls Russell has been Class AA's most solid team the past two weeks. Sentinel faltered last week at the Flat-Fish Invitational, but coach George Martin thinks his boys have the talent to bring home a top-three trophy. "We have to have four of them shoot in the 70s," he said. "They've shown they're capable; they just haven't been very consistent." Hober could repeat his 2000 performance, but he'll need help from teammates such as Kyle Mittlestadt, who won the Anaconda-Butte tournament but shot in the 90s last week. …The Big Sky boys aren't expected to be among the contenders this time around. "Just prior to the state tournament last year we did well at the Kalispell tournament," said Coach Wes Appelt. "We improved throughout the whole year, and we were playing on our home course." Big Sky, which was second at the Flat-Fish Invitational last year, didn't crack the top 10 this time. … Kalispell's Logan Lindholm and Casey Keyser are hot heading into state. Lindholm fired a 67 at Kalispell's Buffalo Hill Golf Course last Friday. …Bozeman, C.M. Russell, Billings West and Billings Skyview will field strong boys' contenders. …The Sentinel and Kalispell girls' teams are the best hopes from the West, and they both will be chasing Bozeman. Sentinel's Madison Schroeder will try to repeat her top 10 performance of last year. Sarah Paulson is another contender for the Spartans. … Sara Ogle has to shoot well for Kalispell if the Bravettes hope to make a run. Ogle finished fifth at state last year.
- J.J. Benzak, Missoulian