Outlook Sports Year in Review 2017 Part 2

Outlook staff writer

The last seven months of 2017 Locomotive sports is reviewed below. There were plenty of high points, but a few defeats as well, both for athletes and coaches.



Laurel track and field hosts state tournament and girls take 4th and boys 5th. Isaiah Renner won the long jump with a leap of 22-5 3/4. Taylor Ludwig won the 100m with 13.21.

2016 Laurel High graduate and Rocky Mountain College sophomore Morgan O’Neil claimed the prestigious Barnett Memorial golf tournament in Missoula. O’Neil won the tournament at Missoula Country Club by four shots after posting 73-83-77 on the storied course. MCC Head Golf Professional Connor Sproull praised O’Neil’s character and golf skill, then said, “She seems like a great kid.”

Skylar Oak qualified for the Junior Gold National Bowling Championship in Cleveland, Ohio. The Laurel 16-year-old qualified by way of the Montana Youth Bowling Championship held in Great Falls March 31–April 2. Oak said he has been bowling for so long he can’t remember when he started, but his competitive career began four or five years ago. “I love the sport. It’s my life,” he said. 

Incoming LHS freshman, Carson Hackmann, won his division in the State Junior Golf Championship by 15 shots after shooting 74-68 at Marias Valley Golf Course in Shelby. His first round 74 gave him a three shot lead heading into the final round. After shooting a three-under-par 33 on the front nine in the final round, his lead swelled to 10 shots but he didn’t let up and posted a four-under 68; his career low tournament round. “I tried to make more birdies and go as far under as I could,” he said. 



The Laurel Dodgers head to the Eastern A District tournament in Miles City having earned the number one seed through a 22-2 conference record. They received a first round bye an face the winner of Miles City and Glasgow teams, they are a combined 8-0 again this year. Coach Doug Studiner stressed they are taking it one game at a time. “We are not a cocky team, but we are confident in our abilities. Our leaders are humble players who take nothing for granted,” he said.

Sue Matson claimed an unprecedented fourth Montana State Senior Women’s Amateur at Laurel Golf Club. Matson shot rounds of 79-89-80 to edge Helene Michael by four shots in the 100th playing of the State Amateur. By winning the tournament, Matson qualified for her 4th USGA State Team event this fall in Sante Fe, N.M.

The Dodger’s season ended earlier than expected last weekend after falling to the Billings Cardinals 6-4 in the Eastern A District tournament in Miles City. After losing their first game to Miles City, Laurel beat the Billings Blue Jays and Glasgow Reds to advance to the semi-final against the Cardinals. Coach Studiner said “We were a good ball club with a great group of young men. We gave it our all, it just wasn’t our turn. The kids gave everything they had and I’m proud of them. We will use this for fuel next year.”



Laurel varsity cheerleaders Gabrielle Scammon and Breckyn Eckberg recently joined 140 athletes from 30 states at the Cheer Hawaii USA Invitational on the island of Oahu. They were nominated to attend the week-long event which included cheer and stunt instruction, leadership development training and historical education. During their downtime they visited the Aloha Stadium, Kailua and Ehukai beaches, Pearl Harbor and the Polynesian Cultural Center. They also tried their hand at Hula dancing and participated in a traditional Hawaiian luau.

Joliet High School was awarded its third Class B Northwestern Energy Academic Excellence Award in the past five years. The award is given to one school in each classification with the highest GPA for the school year. This year 68 J-Hawk students participated. Qualifying students include those who were varsity letter winners in all MHSA sanctioned sports, all music students who received a superior rating at the district music festival, all speech and drama students who participated in the state meet and all varsity cheerleaders.

The Laurel/Granite Peak/Beartooth boys 10-11 all-star little league team heads into the school year with some hardware to show their fellow classmates after winning the District 1 tournament and finishing second at state. They beat perennial powerhouse Boulder Arrowhead of Billings to claim the district championship. Coach Jason Wise said the Billings team is the “Goliath of baseball; they win everything. We surprised a few people, and even ourselves.” The coaches expect good things next year and hope the success of this years team encourages more kids to play baseball.

Laurel golf is off to a good start after their first three tournaments. The boys won their first tournament of the season in Havre on the strength of 2nd, 3rd and 5th place individual performances by Paul O’Neil, 72; Carson Hackmann, 75; and Ryan Kallem, 80. Laurel followed that up with a 5th place finish in the Billings Invitational and 2nd place at the Miles City Invitational. Elise Shover was the top female finisher on the team, taking 5th in Havre. 



LHS soccer girls remain undefeated in the early season with convincing wins over Stevensville 11-0 and Corvallis 4-0. Freshman Morgan Maack scored four goals in the two games to lead the Locos in scoring. Aspen and Maeson Cotter each scored two goals as did Sammi Spitzer.

After a nail biter against Harlowton, Park City coasted through their Homecoming game against Gardiner, blasting the Big Horns 60-6. Carson Baker was nearly unstoppable, picking up 148 rushing yards on only eight carries and scoring four times. Coach Mark Rathbun said the team will remain focused and “continue to work and get better this week.”

Laurel reigns in rainy Homecoming game against Park County, taking down the Rangers 20-14 on a soggy and windy evening. The 4-0 Locos still have room for improvement according to Coach Mike Ludwig who was happy for the win but not about the team’s performance; two turnovers, 14 penalties and two key injuries. He felt the Loco’s play matched the weather: sloppy. “We didn’t play very well. We had two fumbles, again, and we can’t have over 100 yards in penalties every game.”

The Laurel boy’s golf team won Divisionals on a rainy, windy and cold Friday at Fort Custer Golf Course in Hardin, shooting 308 and besting conference rival Billings Central by 19 strokes in the one-round shootout. The soggy day also saw two members of the girls team, Elise Shovar and Keli Hodges, qualify for state. The Loco boys finished 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 15th place meaning all five players would have qualified for state as individuals. 


The Loco golfers got a historic State Championship victory at Sidney Country Club, winning LHS’s ninth State golf title and the first one since 1999. The tournament was held during tough, windy conditions resulting in higher scores for most players. Freshman Carson Hackmann was the Locos top finisher, taking 5th place. Coach Jim O’Neil said “the boys are more of a team than I’ve seen in all my years of coaching.” In the seven exclusively Class A tournaments on the season Laurel took 1st in four and 2nd in three as a team.

Joliet downed one loss Lone Peak 56-21 during their Homecoming game to remain tied with Tri-City and Ennis at the top of the Southern C 8-Man division with 6-1 records. Coach George Warburton said, “I’m very proud of the way the team fought through the distractions of Homecoming week and used it as motivation. We came out ready to play.”

The Laurel boys cross country team won Eastern A Divisionals in Hardin edging the hosts to claim the title for the first time since 2013. Levi Taylor and Grace Timm each won their respective races as individuals, as well as winning six races over the season. Coach Amy Caldeira said “they are humble runners, which makes their wins even more deserving. Our entire team works hard every day and these two are no exception.

Laurel 8th grader has undefeated cross country season. Wyatt Ostler won all six middle school cross country meets he participated in this year, including the Eastern A Classic. Ostler is also a point guard and wing for the Laurel Traxx traveling basketball team.

Laurel High junior Levi Taylor capped off an already impressive season in style, winning the Class A State meet by five seconds on Saturday at Bill Roberts Golf Course in Helena. Coach Amy Caldeira called Taylor’s win “awesome,” adding, “he ran with Matt Wilson of Hamilton until the final 200 meters, where he kicked without a challenge.” Taylor said “I was really nervous right before the race, but once the gun sounded and I turned the first corner I was good.”



Loco girls soccer take State Championship. The Laurel girl’s team won its second state championship in four years as they defeat arch-rival Billings Central 2-0 in front of a crowd that exceeded 1,000 people. Kaitlyn Dawes and Aspen Cotter accounted for the two goals. Coach Aloma Jess said “we wanted it to be our game and we had to impose our will.” Central came into the game undefeated but Laurel had proven it could win close, low-scoring games, and prevailed in the Championship game at Rocky Mountain College.

Laurel’s successful football season ended at home with a 28-20 loss against Dawson County in the first round of the playoffs. Coach Mike Ludwig called it “a tough loss,” and gave Glendive credit for playing “hard with a lot of fire and intensity.” The Locos finished 7-3 on the year after starting 7-1.

J-Hawk gridders fall to Charlo in 8-Man playoffs. Joliet held an 8-0 lead in Charlo after the first quarter but were outscored 68-38 over the next three quarters, falling to the Vikings 68-38. Coach George Warburton said “I couldn’t be more proud of our kids and coaches. Our first year back in the 8-Man was successful and we are looking forward to next year already.” The J-Hawks finished the season 8-2.

Laurel volleyball won their opening match against Havre at the Eastern A Divisional tournament, before falling to Billings Central and Sidney. In their Billings Central match, setter Sophia Timm was injured during a collision with her teammate Riley Chapman and didn’t return for the rest of the tournament.

J-Hawk volleyball takes third at State and brings home the first Class B State trophy for the program. The Joliet team also took 2nd at Districts and 3rd at Divisionals. Coach Colette Webber said “this is a special group of girls. They are a true team. We only lose two seniors. They will be missed but we will com back strong next season.”



The Laurel boys split basketball games over the weekend, defeating Columbus 62-32 on the road, then falling to Billings Senior in their home opener.

The Loco wrestlers traveled to Hardin for a duel against Colstrip and Hardin, then headed to Forsyth for the 47th Annual Matador meet. The Locos tied with Colstrip 36-36, but lost the tiebreaker, and were defeated by the Bulldogs 48-24. Laurel took 2nd at the Matador meet with 153 points behind Miles City’s 161. Kayne Johnson had a runner-up finish in the 145 pound division and eight Locos grabbed 3rd place finishes.

Laurel golf coach Jim O’Neil has been recognized as “Coach of the Year” by the Montana Coaches Association. O’Neil led the Loco boy’s team to an Eastern A Divisional title and their first State Championship since 1999.


Upcoming Events

Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Fourth Tuesdays, 7 p.m., Eagles Hall, 313 W. Main, 628-4503
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., check www.laurelexchangeclub.org for more info. Find them on Facebook www.facebook.com/laurelexchangeclub . Email them to find out meeting time and to join: clubinfo@laurelexchangeclub.org The club will have a meeting or volunteer activity. Meeting location is Sid's East Side Bar & Grill on first and third Wednesdays of each month. Members and guests eat free.  Volunteer activity on the second Wednesday of each month. Check their facebook page for updates.  Every fourth Wednesday is for a club social activity. 
Tuesday, July 2, 2019
Tuesdays, Noon, Beartooth Grill, 305 1st Ave. S.
Wednesday, July 3, 2019
10 a.m., Laurel Public Library, 720 West Third Street, Laurel, 628-4961


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