By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN
Later this week another High School sports season comes to an end as track and softball crown their Champions. Fifty years ago this week a sporting and academic tradition came to a close in Missoula. For over 60 years the Montana High School Association held all of its end-of-year championships in Missoula. Track and Field, tennis golf and all speech and musical competitions. While it was a bonanza for merchants in Missoula it was financially difficult for competitors from the eastern part of the state. Also, the Montana High school Association was expanding competition in golf and tennis for girls and studying the possibility of adding girls track and Field to the mix. The speech and music competitions left the party in 1967 and golf and tennis were soon moved to different locations. In 1969 Montana became only the 12th state to have girls track..
June 11th is the date for the pre-season debut of Dave Dickenson’s first Calgary Stampeders team. The Edmonton Eskimos (reigning Grey Cup Champions and quarterbacked by Kalsispell native Mike Reilly) is the opponent. Dickenson has a quarterback on his squad that has a couple of things in common with Dickenson:Bo Levi Mitchell won the Walter Payton Award in the same season he led his Eastern Washington Eagles to the FCS title just as Dave Dickenson had at UM in 1995. Another of the Stampede’s quarterbacks is Drew Tate who led the Iowa Hawkeyes to a September 2006 demolition of the Montana Grizzlies.
The Seattle Mariners appear to be able to make a play-off run in 2016, which brings up the question: when was the last time the M’s won a play-off game or series? The Mariner’s last play-off appearence was in 2001 after winning 116 regular season games the M’s won a divisional series over the Cleveland Indians but fell in 5 games to the New York Yankees in the ALCS. Jamie Moyer was the last pitcher to record a play-off win for Seattle while Brett Boone was the last Mariner to hit a post-season home run. Since the M’s last post-season win the Seahawks have won a Super Bowl and three NFC Championships along with 13 play-off games. For what it is worth the Montana Grizzlies football team has won a National title and 20 post-season games since the Mariners last play-off win.
Since joining the Big Sky Conference the Grizzlies and Bobcats have met 13 times in Presidential election years, but the race for the White House has not been much of an indicator of who will win the “Brawl Of the Wild”. Over that span when the Bobcats win in elction years the GOP is 4-3 and when the Griz win the national parties have split 6 electoral contests.
Chris Walterskirchen has been an observer of Montana sports for nearly half a century. A Kalispell native, Chris has worked in various capacities for professional and college sports organization of at various times: ranging from announcing and statistical work to the concessions and even a stint as a costumed mascot.
Chris has academic degrees in communications and elementary education. His style of sports trivia involves more than just who won and who lost, but also focuses on the obscure or human side of sports. In this blog you will learn things like the Grizzly football team has won 210 games over the 19 seasons since they have had Monte as their mascot or that UNLV is the only school that both the Griz and Lady Griz have both faced in the NCAA basketball tournament
When not following sports Chris enjoys taking care of animals of all kinds (a peacock rescue?) and reading to pre-schoolers.