UM Sports Trivia

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

Next Saturday night (December 15th) the Montana Grizzlies will play their final non-conference e game of the season against a very worthy opponent. South Dakota State is currently 8-3 with two of those losses coming against powerful Minnesota and Alabama teams. South Dakota State has faced one Big Sky team, beating North Dakota by 1 in Brookings. The Jackrabbits marquee win last season was at Washington.  Ironically the Griz have won exactly 100 games since their most recent meeting with the Jackrabbits a 70-61 Montana win on November 17, 2007. Facing South Dakota State is special for UM mascot Monte as he made his public debut at a Griz football game against SDSU to open the 1993 season.

The Lady Griz last non-Conference game will be Sunday Afternoon hosting the Denver Pioneers. The Pioneers have 4 wins on the season but two of those are against winless teams from Oregon and the Air Force Academy. The Pioneers guard extraordinaire, Emiko Smith, is finally a senior and still among the national leaders in steals and assists. Smith, a Los Angles native lists “Relaxing at the beach” as one of her hobbies (which may help explain why she left LA to go to College in Colorado?). The Pioneers have a new head coach, long-time SEC assistant Kerry Cremans, besides the SEC, Cremans spent two years at Purdue and was a part of the Boilermakers staff when they won the 1999 National title.

While it hurts for MSU Bobcat fans to season the football season end the combinations of 21 wins in the past 2 seasons is the most ever in back-to-back seasons (the 19 wins of 2010-11 was the previous high mark.)

If North Dakota State and Sam Houston State win in the upcoming FCS semi-finals it will set up the first rematch in the FCS title game in 15 years. In both 1995 and 1996 the Grizzlies faced the Marshall Thundering Hurd for the title. Wins by NDSU and Eastern Washington would mark the first time in 109 seasons that the two previous national Champions met for the title, in 1993 it was Marshall and Youngstown State.

Along with trying to add to their momentum heading into Conference play the Griz basketball team can be a part of a milestone win. Mick Holien began calling UM sports on the radio back in November of 1985. Through 8 seasons of Lady Griz games and 20 seasons each of the football and Men’s basketball Holien has kept on reporting Grizzly Triumphs. A Griz win Saturday would the 750th UM win Mick has called. The first game Mick called was a November 23, 1985 when the Lady Griz defeated MSU-Billings (that date was historic in Griz sports for another reason as for the first time ever the UM men’s and women’s basketball teams and the Griz football team won regular season games on the same day.)

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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 costumedmascot.

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.