Montana has a new state handball champion, and this one looks to have some staying power.
Scottie Moler of Bozeman used his powerful serve to knock off defending champion Brett Badovinac 21-9, 21-2 in the Open Division championship match Sunday at the Butte Elks.
The 33-year-old Moler moved to Bozeman from Iowa to the Treasure State in June. He didn’t lose a game in his four wins on his way to the state title.
A year ago, Badovinac became the first Butte player to win an Open state title since the great Bill Peoples in 1999. Badovinac, 45, captured the Masters (40-plus) tile because he was the highest masters-eligible finisher.
The Masters and the Open divisions were combined this year.
Butte’s Mike Hitchcock played in two divisions, and he dropped tough championship matches in both on Sunday.
Rick Edwards of Livingston beat Hitchcock 21-9, 21-9 in the 50-plus Golden Masters chipper. A couple of hours later, Jay Spooner of Fargo, North Dakota, topped Hitchcock 21-12, 21-16 in the 60-plus Super Golden Masters championship match.
Butte’s Skyler Criscuolo won his first state title, beating Joseph Lison of Rock Springs, Wyoming, 21-14, 21-10 in the B Division title match.
The win means Criscuolo will play in the Open Division in the future.
Joe Urbani won the A Division, which is for players who lost in the first round of the Open.
Butte’s Don Foley won the Open consolation, while Butte player Tom Madrazo claimed the Super Golden Masters consolation crown.
Scottie Moler, Bozeman, def. Brett Badovinac, Butte, 21-9, 21-2
Les Seago, Emigrant, def. Moe Johnson, Missoula, 4-21, 21-19, 11-3
Golden Masters (50 plus)
Rick Edwards, Livingston def. Mike Hitchcock 21-9, 21-9
Kelly Scott, Lander, Wyo., d. Jay Stender, Sheridan, Wyo., 21-7, 21-20
Super Golden Masters (60 plus)
Jay Spooner, Fargo, N.D., def. Mike Hithcock, Butte, 21-12, 21-16
John Larson, East Helena, d. Rich Hawe, Butte, by injury default
Sandy Gagnon, Bozeman, d. Jim Lambert 20-21, 21-4, 11-7
1, Tom Morris, Billings, 4-0
2, Gagnon 3-1
3, Lambert 2-2
Skylar Criscoulo, Butte, def. Joseph Lison, Rock Springs, Wyo., 21-14, 21-10
Eric Schmidt, Missoula, def. Dawson Huff, Butte, 21-15, 21-6
Joe Urbani, Bozeman, def. Dylan Urbani, Bozeman, 21-17, 21-19
Don Foley d. Sean Sandau, Missoula, 21-9, 21-16
Golden Masters Consolation
Nick White, Bozeman, def. Joseph Lison, Rock Springs, Wyo., 21-12, 21-19
1, Don Schmidt, Missoula, 2-0
2, White 1-1
Super Golden Masters Consolation
Tom Madrazo, Butte, def. Craig Canfield, Billings
Mike Meyer, Billings, def. Scott Salo, Butte