2020 Sports Year-in-Review Part 1

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Compiled By Chris Mcconnell
Thursday, January 7, 2021
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Laurel junior Nick Pasquarello drives to the bucket during the Loco’s 68–66 overtime victory against Billings Central on Feb. 20.

Laurel’s Cameron Younger, the State runner–up in the 182 pound weight class, during one of his matches at the Metra.

Laurel’s Cameron Younger, the State runner–up in the 182 pound weight class, during one of his matches at the Metra.

Jaxon Wittmayer takes a swing at a pitch during a game against the Billings Blue Jays on June 2 at Thompson Park.

Jaxon Wittmayer takes a swing at a pitch during a game against the Billings Blue Jays on June 2 at Thompson Park.

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The Laurel Matburners Wrestling Club after their win at the B Town Showdown on Jan. 5.

Lady Loco Junior Sophia Timm wrestles for the ball with a Park High player while her sister Grace watches during Laurel’s Jan. 10 victory in Laurel.

Lady Loco Junior Sophia Timm wrestles for the ball with a Park High player while her sister Grace watches during Laurel’s Jan. 10 victory in Laurel.

January

The Laurel Matburners Wrestling Club were the Medium Team Champions at the B Town Showdown hosted by the Billings Wrestling Club in Lockwood. The Laurel Matburners club members range in age from 4–13 years of age.

LHS Senior Madi Cooney signed a letter of intent to play golf at Dickinson State University in Dickinson, North Dakota.

The All–State golfer had six top–10 finishes in the fall and was part of the Lady Loco team that won back–to–back Class A State titles in 2018 and 2019.

Cooney was a softball and basketball player until her sophomore year when Head Golf Coach Jim O’Neil recruited her from the softball team. “I am very proud of Madi. Three years ago she had never touched a golf club in her life. The first time we worked together she couldn’t hit it...and now she is an All–State golfer who has an opportunity to play collegiately.”

 

February

The LHS grapplers took second place in the 2020 Divisional tournament in Lewistown. The Locos took second place out of the 11 teams with score of 213.5, behind Sidney/Fairview who had 370.

Three Laurel wrestlers earned 2nd place in their respective weight classes: Keagan Campbell (138), Cameron Younger (182) and Connor Ulschak (205). Junior Jonathan Herr won the Judd Beck Award for having the quickest pin.

Three stand–out LHS athletes and two community members were inducted into the Laurel High School Hall of Fame Class of 2020.

Patrick Casey, a world–class athlete and 2008 graduate, was a seven–time State Champion in cross country and track at laurel and a three–time All–American at Montana State University.

Connie (Lord) Rowe is a 1976 LHS graduate and three– time Montana State Champion in cross country and track.

Ed Robertus is a 1971 grad and stand–out football player and wrestler. He was a two–time State Wrestling Champion in the 155 pound and 167 pound weight classes. At one point Robertus had 52 straight wins in his career and had no points scored against him.

Dr. Lee Richardson graduated in 1954 and attended Medical School at George Washington University in Washington D.C. he completed his residency in Salt Lake City then returned to Laurel in 1965 to practice family medicine for the next 43 years. Dr. Richardson is described as “an example of what makes this community a special place.”

 

March

The Loco boy’s basketball team advanced to the State tournament as the 4th seed after winning their first two games against Sidney and Miles City, then falling to Billings Central and Livingston.

The Lady Locos’ season ended at the Divisional tournament at the Metra after they followed up an opening round victory against Glendive, followed by losses against Hardin and Livingston.

The Montana State High School Association made the decision on March 13 to cancel all state tournaments after COVID–19 cases were reported in Montana. The announcement was made after the semi–final games. Laurel was scheduled to play Livingston in the State consolation game before the tournament was cancelled. State semi–final winners Butte Central and Hardin were declared State co–champions.

 

April

The Laurel Dodgers announced that tryouts for the baseball team had been postponed indefinitely. A letter released by the American Legion Baseball Committee stated that individual departments review the guidelines and restrictions established by local and federal governments and see that all baseball activities remain suspended until COVID–19 restrictions are lifted.

After it was announced that all spring sports in Montana were cancelled Laurel Head Softball coach Aleesa Olsen had some final words on a season that never was. “We had high hopes for another great season. We were returning with a strong team from last year and added a few new freshmen, who were working hard every day to get better and make an impact on the team. We had great leadership coming from our two seniors, Madison Cooney and Deyshia Goodwin. They were constantly bringing the girls together and keeping positive attitudes through the practices we were able to have. We may have only gotten a week of practice, but we made sure to make all 518,400 seconds count.”

 

May

Dodger Head Coach Doug Studiner announced that the Laurel Legion team had been given the okay to begin on– field activities but not without questions associated with the quarantine rules. Studiner described the schedule as “fluid” and stated that the state would need to be in Phase Two before games can resume. Restrictions at the time were a maximum of 10 people gathering which Phase Two would extend to 50, which would make it easier on the league.

With the announcement of Phase II implementation, the Laurel Dodgers will kick–off their season on June 2 with a doubleheader against the Billings Bluejay. Coach Studiner said, “Things are still being worked out, but with Montana moving to Phase II the Dodgers can play games. What that looks like for our players and fans is still undetermined. We are in the process of developing a plan to manage games under the Phase II requirements.”

 

June

The Laurel Dodgers were six games into their unorthodox season after splitting games with the Lewistown Redbirds. Their season kicked off with a doubleheader split with the Billings Bluejays, followed by a split with the Miles City Mavericks.

Incoming Laurel High School juniors and fraternal twins Haylee and Hannah Adams’ favorite activity hasn’t been affected a whole lot by the COVID–19 virus other than the cancellation of a few summer golf tournaments.

The twins led the Lady Locos to consecutive State Championships in 2018 and 2019 which were only the second and third championships in school history.

While several tournaments have been cancelled this summer, they will still get some good competition and experience in the State Junior Tournament, Women’s State Amateur, Rocky Mountain PGA events and Yellowstone County junior tournaments.

Part 2 - July-December in next week’s edition of the Laurel Outlook.

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Upcoming Events

Monday, February 1, 2021
Mondays, 1:30 p.m., 201 1/2 E Main St.
Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Wednesdays, 7 p.m., 201 1/2 E. Main St., Laurel
Monday, February 8, 2021
Mondays, 1:30 p.m., 201 1/2 E Main St.
Monday, February 8, 2021
Second & fourth Monday at 11 a.m., Big Horn Resort, 1801 Majestic Lane, 281-8455
Monday, February 8, 2021
Free, 2nd Monday, 3-5 p.m., Frontier Cancer Center, 1315 Golden Valley Cir., Billings, 800-227-2345
Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Wednesdays, 7 p.m., 201 1/2 E. Main St., Laurel

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