1984: Happy Times in Butte City

George Orwell published his famed book called 1984 in 1948. His book told a chilling prophecy of the future. The book 1984 sold millions of copies. One thing that was not in his prophecy of 1984 was just how wonderful a times in would be for high school athletic teams in Butte.

The remarkable year of 1984 got off with a bang in February.  Jim Street’s Butte High wrestling team won their fifth straight state championship in Havre. The Bulldogs beat second place Missoula Big Sky by 23 ½ points. Butte High advanced 10 of their 12 grapplers into the final round of the state tournament with James Tangaro winning a gold

medal at 167 pounds.

Less than a month after Butte High picked up another state wrestling trophy, it was time to turn the spotlight on the Butte Central boys’ basketball team. The Maroons got by Hardin and Laurel to advance to the state finals against Billings Central at the Civic Center.

Butte Central’s Dan O’Gara hit a shot with nine seconds left in regular to get the

Maroons into overtime. Butte Central outscored the Rams by three in the extra period to win a thriller 76-73. It was Butte Central four state title in school history and first in six years.

One week to the day after the Maroons hoisted the state championship trophy,

Butte High was also in the Class AA state finals  in Missoula against Great Falls on St. Patrick’s Day. The Bulldogs had the luck of the Irish on their side all week by beating Missoula Hellgate and then upsetting  top-seed Missoula Big Sky to reach the finals.

The Bulldogs knocked off the Bison by three points 53-50 to capture their first state basketball crown in 26 years. It is the only state basketball championship won by

the Bulldogs in the last 55 years.

The run of state titles was not over for Butte. In the spring of 1984, the Lady Bulldogs of Butte High took center stage. The Butte High girls won the Class AA

state golf championship at Fairmont Hot Spring. The Lady Bulldogs edged host Anaconda by nine shots to take the title. It was Butte High’s first-ever state golf championship in school history.

A few weeks later it was time for the Butte High girls’ track team to take

over the headlines. The Lady Bulldogs Matched Great Falls Russell with 38 points at the

state track meet held in Butte. Both teams were declared state champions. The Bulldogs were led by Holly Maloney who won two events, scoring 17 ½ points. It was Butte High’s first-ever state girls’ track championship.

In a remarkable period of four months, high school teams from Butte teams had won five state team titles. It was one of the best years ever for high school athletics in

the Mining City. It was the one chilling prophecy that George Orwell forgot to predict in his brilliant book 1984.

All five of those state championship teams of 1984 will be honored next weekend when they will be inducted into the Butte Sports Hall of Fame.

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