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LPHS spring sports off to snowy start

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By Gabrielle Gasser ASSOCIATE EDITOR

BIG SKY – Students at Lone Peak High School continue to keep busy this spring as tennis players,
golfers and track and field athletes practice and compete around southwest Montana.

Spring weather has been a complicating factor in most matchups this season, but all teams remain committed on their journeys toward divisional and state tournament success.

Golf

The golf team fielded seven players this year including three freshmen and four juniors. Coached by Jenny Wilcynski, the team has attended two meets, one at Old Baldy Golf Course in Townsend on April 6 and the other at Cottonwood Hills Golf Course in Bozeman on April 19.

A third competition was scheduled in Ennis on April 29 but the meet was canceled while the Big Horns were en route due to bad weather.

Junior Josie Wilcynski chips at Cottonwood Hills Golf Course  on April 19. PHOTO COURTESY OF JENNY WILCYNSKI

The meet in Townsend took place on a brisk and windy spring day. Freshmen Cameron Pecunies and Garin Staudt debuted in their first varsity tournament, scoring 124 and 134 respectively. Junior Josie Wilcynski notched a 129 for the day after taking a few penalties along the way. 

The golfers had another chilly, snowy day on the fairways at Cottonwood Hills and there was talk of cutting the tournament short as snow blanketed the greens and conditions worsened. However, coaches wanted players to complete as many holes as possible, and all participants played a full 18. 

Freshman Walker Bagby debuted in his first varsity tournament at this meet scoring a 124. Also golfing at Cottonwood were Wilcynski, who finished with a 120 for the day, and Staudt, who put up a 148.

The golf team has just one more regular season meet left on May 5 before the Divisional and State tournaments. A Divisionals tournament is new for Class C golf this spring and will take place at Marias Valley Golf and Country Club in Shelby on May 9. To move on to State, the LPHS teams need to finish in the top five or individual players need to finish in the top 25 to compete. The State Tournament will be held in Sidney on May 17-18.

“Spring sports are challenging in Montana—the golf season is short and starts early—unfortunately we just haven’t been able to play due to weather, but everyone is in the same boat,” Coach Wilcynski wrote in an email to EBS. “We have taken advantage of the days that are nice and practiced and hope we can put it all together for Divisionals and onward to State!”  

Tennis

The tennis team fielded five players this year, four sophomores and one junior. The team has competed in four matches so far with one more regular season matchup on the docket before Divisional and State tournaments.

Head Coach Libby Grabow said that LPHS dominated the first two matches of the season. At the Townsend Triangular on March 31, two players attended and won four out of five matchups.

On April 4, four players competed in a JV meet in Belgrade where they won seven out of eight matches.

Four players later headed to Anaconda on April 24 where they won three out of four singles matches and lost the girls doubles match. Some of the LPHS athletes mixed in with the Anaconda team for doubles matchups.

All smiles for the LPHS tennis team after wins in Anaconda. PHOTO COURTESY OF LIBBY GRABOW

The LPHS team found mixed success at the Dawg Bite tournament in Townsend on April 29 and 30. According to Grabow they were near 50/50 for wins and losses over the two days of rainy tennis. 

The team’s final regular-season play will take place on May 6-7 at the Best of the West Invitational in Missoula. After that, all five players will get the chance to compete in Divisionals.

From Divisionals, players will have the chance to be picked as one of the 6 singles players or 6 doubles teams who go to State from each division.

“We’ve just been having fun and braving the weather on all of our trips and matches and just getting prepared for Divisionals,” Grabow said.

Track and Field

Turnout for the track and field team this year was high with 14 athletes on the roster, effectively doubling numbers from previous years. The team includes one senior, five juniors, four sophomores and four freshmen and is coached by 5-12 grade Health Education Teacher James Miranda.

The Big Horns had a slow start to their track season with the first two matches getting canceled due to bad weather. The athletes competed in their first meet on April 30 in Laurel and junior Benji Saad set a new school record logging a 5” 10” jump in the high jump.

Miranda said Saad is currently ranked in the top 15 in high jump for Class C and he has a good chance of qualifying for the State tournament.

Sophomore Bryce Houghteling does a 5 foot 6 inch high jump during practice on May 4. PHOTO BY GUS HAMMOND

The track team has two regular season meets remaining on May 5 and May 7 ahead of the District tournament at Gallatin High School on May 14. All athletes get the chance to compete at Districts and depending on how they perform there, can move on to the Divisional tournament which will take place on May 20-21 at Frenchtown High School. 

“We’ve been able to make a better practice schedule based off of the facilities and the new track we have here at LPHS,” Miranda said. “Unfortunately, the two meets canceled early in our season prevented us from competing until this last weekend. We have athletes who can hopefully place at districts and divisionals and go to state.”

The State tournament will take place in Great Falls on May 27-28. Miranda said there are several athletes with the potential to qualify including sophomore Astrid McGuire, junior Orrin Coleman, sophomore George Helms, junior Jessie Bough, junior Pierce Farr and Saad.

“Everything is up in the air, nothing is set in stone, if our team shows up with their best at districts individuals can hopefully move on to divisionals,” Miranda said.

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