UM Sports Trivia | Week of May 19

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

Derby and Preakness winner California Chrome was born on February 18, 2011, and yes there is a Montana connection here. As his name says, California Chrome was born in California not far from the Los Angeles Metroplex, and by happy coincidence another group of thoroughbreds were in the area that day. The Montana Grizzlies Mens basketball team was in Southern California preparing for a “Bracketbuster” game at Long Beach State. By the way, California was born on a Friday as was the last Triple Winner Affirmed (February 21, 1975).

May the results of a state basketball tournament in Montana in March prove a foretelling of who the Stanley Cup winner in Hockey is this spring? In 1940 the Havre Blue Ponies won the State basketball title and the New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup. Both the Ponies and Rangers went through a title draught until 1994 when both Havre and the Rangers stood at the top of their world. Well this past March the Havre girls won the Class A basketball title (the program’s first since the season switch a decade ago.) Now the New York Rangers are in the lead in the Eastern Conference Finals with a chance to make it back to the Cup Finals for the first time in 20 years.

On November 1st two coaches with new teams will travel to familiar locations that bring back bad memories. In Missoula Interim Sacremento State coach Jody Sears brings his Hornets into Washington Grizzly Stadium, where his previous team the Weber State Wildcats got pounded 42-6 (in a game that truly wasn’t that close). In Pullman, Washington Steve Sarkisian brings his USC Trojans into face the Washington state Cougars, his last visit to the Palouse saw his Washington Huskies blow a 3- touchdown lead and fall to the lowly Cougars in overtime. While the two coaches have bad memories of the locations the Hornets and Trojans both have a strong desire for revenge as Sacremento State lost a heartbreaker in overtime to Montana last November in overtime. In what was a devastating defeat WSU came into the LA coliseum and upset USC 10-7.

Montana lost a legal Pioneer and a great sports mom last week with the passing of Judge Diane Barz at the age of 70. Barz, was the first woman to serve on the Montana Supreme Court, was named to the Montana Supreme Court in September of 1989. Barz resigned from the Court a year later citing “family reasons.” Barz continued her legal career in Billings, except for times her son Rocky had baseball or basketball games. Rocky Barz was an excellent pitcher for the Billings Scarlets and Diane was not afraid to offer “friendly opinion “from the grandstands.

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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.