UM Sports Trivia | Week of Dec 23

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

Remember the opening weekend of the College football season when 7 FCS schools upset FBS schools, highlighted by North Dakota State’s win at Kansas State and Eastern Washington’s victory at Oregon State? Many of those FCS wins were dismissed by many with the comment “…look who those teams beat.” Well of those 7 opening major college victims 4 reached a bowl game by the end of the season. San Diego lost to eastern Illinois but gave the University of Buffalo Bulls a pounding in the Potato Bowl in Boise, and Tulane turned in a spirited effort in losing in the New Orleans Bowl. Both Oregon State and Kansas State are given a good chance of winning their bowl games.

How ironic that while the Towson football team was reaching the FCS title game the school’s mens basketball team were in Fargo taking on the North Dakota State Bison in a match-up of the two schools that would battle for the FCS crown in Texas at the end of next week. By the way, NDSU won the basketball game 90-82.

Last Saturday Penn State defeated Wisconsin to claim the 33rd Annual NCAA Division I Volleyball title. Along with the fact that Penn State claimed their sixth national title the championship match-up in and of itself was noteworthy. This year’s final was only the fourth time in the 33 years of the event that the finals did not include a team from California. Stanford, UCLA, USC and Pacific have all claimed multiple national titles.  Did you remember that the UM volleyball won a match in the NCAA tournament? In 1994 Montana defeated Arkansas State in the opening round before falling to national power Long beach State in the second round.

The University of Montana Griz basketball team ventures into Moscow Idaho Saturday night to close out their non-conference schedule against the Vandals. In the most recent NCAA stats Griz junior Jordan Gregory is ranked second in free throw accuracy hit at a 96% clip from the line. The Grizzlies have won their last 6 games against the Vandals. The last Idaho win in the series was a 48-47 win in Moscow in December of 2001.

The Montana Lady Griz do not have another game until after the New Year, but Saturday is the 25th anniversary of a rather interesting game. The Lady Griz was a mere 5-3 at this junction of the 1988-89 season so were happy to see Frontier member Rocky Mountain College as their next opponent. Montana raced out to a 27-2 lead and coasted to an n 82-23 win. Normally such a beat down would not be noteworthy, but the game’s two leading scorers would–by the end of their college careers–gain national attention. Montana for the first time was led in scoring and rebounding by true freshman Shannon Cate while RMC was led by another Billings true freshman Ann Berry. Cate and Berry had been the catalyst as Billings Central won three straight state titles. Berry would receive an offer from Nevada Reno after her freshman year at Rocky and would go on to lead the nation in rebounding as a senior for the Wolf pack. Cate would go on to earn first team all-American honors her senior at UM. Interestingly enough Cate became the career scoring leader in the Big Sky while facing Berry and the Wolf pack in Reno.

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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.