UM Sports Trivia | Week of May 5

By CHRIS WALTERSKIRCHEN

The Announcement that Sir Paul McCartney will make a Stop at Washington Grizzly Stadium this summer involves some sports related facts. McCartney was selected as the featured performer at the Super Bowl the year after Janet Jackson added the phrase “wardrobe malfunction” to out sports vocabulary. Entering the 2005 Super Bowl in Jacksonville, McCartney’s appearance was viewed by Philadelphia Eagles fans as a good omen since McCartney once fronted a band named “Wings,” but the Eagles fell 3 point short against the Patriots.

Major Concerts at Washington –Grizzly Stadium mean future success as two previous major shows have then been followed by long Grizzly football winning streaks. In 1988 Smokey Robinson and the Miracles came to Missoula and wowed the crowd at the Stadium and Montana proceeded to win their next 16 home football games. In 2006 Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones performed under the lights at Washington Grizzly stadium and then the Griz reeled off 28 consecutive regular season wins.

This week for the First time Ever the University of Montana Men’s tennis team will compete in the NCAA tournament. The Griz will head to Norman Oklahoma to face the No. 2 ranked Oklahoma Sooners. When Men’s tennis coach Kris Nord arrived at UM 30 years ago the idea of a trip to the NCAA tournament for the Griz mens team was ridiculous because the program had been dormant for a couple of years and was brought back with a small budget and even smaller expectations. Nord utilized the strong tennis community in Missoula to developed support for the program and raise funds to improve equipment and facilities. Nord was the first coach when Montana established a women’s golf program in 1996.

The University of Montana Soccer team will play their first regular season home match hosting Colorado State on September 19, at South Campus Field. The encounter will be extra special for Griz forward Aspen Pfeifer who grew up in Colorado Springs Colorado. In addition to some familiar faces from her home state Pfeifer will be celebrating her 20th birthday on the day of the Colorado State match. Earlier in the pre-conference season Pfeifer will get to play in front of family and friends as the Griz face the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. That September 19th match comes one day after the 20th anniversary of Montana’s first Soccer win over a Division I opponent–a win over Gonzaga at Rick Beane Field at Fort Missoula.

Speaking of birthday trivia here’s a fun fact. We doubt that Miami Marlin’s slugger Giancarlo Stanton has ever been to the State of Montana, but he does share a unique birthday with the Treasure State. The future major League baseball star was born on November 8, 1989, which was the exact 100th Anniversary of Montana becoming the 41st state in the Union.

Ichiro Suzuki was 27 years old when he made his Major League Debut for the Mariners in April 2001 yet Ichiro’s career number in the Majors are beginning to become comparable to many of the baseball greats who came to the Majors at a younger age. Suzuki needs just 16 hits (as of May 4th) to pass Andre Dawson and become one of the top 50 in career hits. With 23 more hits Ichiro will pass fellow Seattle great Ken Griffey Jr. on the career hits list.

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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.