Year in Review Part 2

Dodgers win second title; Cochran takes over Lady Loco basketball, and more in sports from 2019
Thursday, January 9, 2020
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Photos courtesy of Michelle Gauthier

Park City’s James Wetmore puts a jump–hook up over Mike Curl of Absarokee during the Panthers’ 38–34 victory at home on Jan. 2.

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The Lady Panthers huddle up before their game against Absarokee last Tuesday where Park City defeated the Huskies 48–19.

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In July, members of the Laurel Locomotives Big 32 State Championship basketball team of 1968–1969 after their Laurel High School Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Laurel. The team finished the season 26–0 to claim LHS’s first State title.

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The Laurel Dodgers and all participating teams display a large American flag during opening ceremonies of the Eastern A District tournament in Laurel.

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The Laurel golf teams celebrated their combined fifth State Class A Championship in a row at Laurel Golf Club.

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Ethan Renner crosses the endzone for his first touchdown in Laurel’s win against Billings Central on October 4. The The State Champion Laurel Locomotive soccer team sprints towards the Laurel supporters after claiming their second win snapped a 17–year losing streak to the Rams. state title in three years.

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Year in Review Part 2

July

• The 1968–1969 Big 32 State Championship basketball team was inducted into the Laurel High School Hall of Fame at a ceremony at Sid’s Eastside Bar and Grill on the 50th year anniversary of their historic season. Eight members of the team were on hand to celebrate a season which they went undefeated and beat Flathead 57–54 in overtime to claim Laurel’s first State Championship.

The game was played in front of the largest crowd for a high school basketball game in Montana history at the MSU Fieldhouse. The undersized Locos, coached by legendary Hall of Famer Don Peterson, outlasted the Braves who had 6’10” and 6’7” players.

The Loco’s finished the season 26–0 and their last victory turned out to be the final game of the Big 32 State tournament, which was dismantled the following year. Much like in the movie “Hoosiers,” the Big 32 tournament was not based on class or school size, only how good the teams were.

• Eddie Cochran was hired to take over the Lady Loco’s basketball program after the departure of Pat Hansen. Cochran said after he was hired it was time to get to work. “I have a chance to do something special,” he said. Cochran comes to Laurel High School from Elder Grove, where he was the head girls and boys coach.

• The Laurel Dodgers won their second consecutive Eastern A District title at home after defeating Miles City 11–5 in the championship game. Carson West put up some solid stats during the tournament hitting .714 with a .786 on base percentage while driving in 11 runs. He also picked up a win on the pitchers mound in the quarterfinal meeting with the Mavericks.

The Dodgers went on to finish 4th at the State tournament.

August

• At the Billings Invitational golf tournament, LHS sophomore Haylee Adams blistered the Peter Yegen golf course and posted a one–under–par 70. The round was 14 shots better that her career low. She started the round on fire, getting to -4 through seven holes before cooling off. Adams finished parpar–birdie to post the likely school record for girls golf.

September

• The Lady Loco soccer team outscored their first four opponents 34–0 to open their season. They beat Frenchtown 13–0, Stevensville 10–0, Hamilton 4–0 and Loyola 7–0.

• The boys’ soccer team was riding a five–game win streak after downing Park 5–1 and Billings Central 4–3. The boys sat comfortably atop the Eastern A with an 8–2–0 record.

October

• Both Loco golf teams defended their State Class A titles at Laurel Golf Club. The boys won their third consecutive Championship and the girls repeated.

The boys’ victory wasn’t as easy as the previous year as they struggled in the cool and windy conditions. Carson Hackmann fell in a playoff to finish as runner–up individually and Nick Pasquarello finished in solo 3rd, one shot out of the playoff. Kade Ewalt took 9th. It was the 11th State title for the Loco boys golf program.

It took the Lady Loco golf team 47 years to win their second Championship and only 12 months to win their third. The girls never finished behind a Class A school on the season, won 8 of 11 tournaments and lapped the field at Divisionals and State by a combined 106 shots. Sophomore Hannah Adams won her first State Individual title after shooting 83–82 to grab medalist honors by six strokes. Haylee Adams finished in 3rd place, Madi Cooney in 9th and Keli Hodges 14th.

• The Laurel football team snapped a 17–year losing streak to Billings Central in dominating fashion after shutting out the home team 33–0 at Herb Klindt Field in Billings. The Locos let 14–0 at the half then stepped on the pedal in blowout fashion. After Head Coach Mike Ludwig got a Gatorade bath from his players he said, “I feel good, I just don’t know if it’s really sunk in yet.” Ethan Renner, who amassed more than 200 all–purpose yards and scored all four of Laurel’s offensive touchdowns said, “I wanted to go out my senior year as the team that beat Billings Central. I’m on top of the world.”

• The Park City Panthers secured the #2 seed from the Southern Division in the Class C 8–Man State tournament. The Panthers won their first–round game over St. Ignatius 34–24 then fell to Fort Benton in the quarter–finals 33–30.

November

• After a season of high–scoring games, solid defense and developing players, the Lady Loco soccer team were State Champions for the second time in three years after they defeated Billings Central 2–0. It was the sixth consecutive season Laurel has been in the State title game and the fifth consecutive title matchup with the Rams. Mya Maack scored on an assist from Morgan Maack and Maeson Cotter scored on an assist from Allison Shovar in the game.

• The Loco boys’ soccer team fought hard against a tough, undefeated Whitefish opponent in their State title game but fell to the Bulldogs 4–0. The Locos lose nine seniors from a team that collected their first two playoff wins ever in their historical march to the Championship game.

• The Loco football team fell to Miles City 35–7 in the Class A State Championship game, their first appearance since 2002. Laurel was the #2 seed from the East entering the playoffs and after a first–round bye pummeled the Libby Loggers 50–0. In the semi–finals they took down the Dillon Beavers 21–12 to advance to the title game. The Cowboys were up 14–0 at the half and 21–0 in the third quarter before the Locos got their lone score off a 53–yard receiving touchdown by Ethan Renner who finished his senior season with 1,265 allpurpose yards and 23 touchdowns.

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