By Bill Foley
The 2022-23 high school sports season will officially begin Monday when the Butte High and Butte Central golfers take the course.
Butte High will hit the road for the two-day Great Falls Invitational, while the Maroons will host the Butte Central Invitational at the Highland View Golf Course.
BC’s tournament will begin at 9 a.m. Butte High will play at 1 p.m. at Meadow Lark Country Club. Tuesday’s play begins at 8:30 a.m. at Eagle Falls Golf Course.
Corvallis, Dillon, East Helena, Frenchtown, Hamilton, Livingston and Butte High’s junior varsity will play with the Maroons at Highland View.
The Maroons will be under new leadership as former BC and Montana Tech golfer Cole Noctor takes over as head coach. He will be assisted by Marty Reilly.
Central will have four boys but no girls as they open the season. Playing for the Maroons will be senior Randy Larson, sophomore Sam Henderson and freshmen Will McGree and Kelton Berger.
Berger, however, will not play Monday because he does not have his required practice time in.
“I’m excited that we have at least four,” Noctor said, noting that four players are needed for a team score. “All the kids are good kids. They are fun. I hope we make it fun for them. When a sport is fun, you put more passion into it.”
Butte High coach Eric Mankins said the Bulldogs are entering the season with high hopes on the boys’ and girls’ side.
Senior Jack Prigge leads the Bulldog boys into action. He is coming off a junior season that saw him win the Western AA Divisional title before placing third at the Class AA State tournament.
“He definitely is a top five player who has the potential to win it,” Mankins said. “He’s a good player.”
Experienced sophomore Brenner Booth is No. 2 on the team. He is followed by promising freshman Chase Choquette, senior Jacob Sawyer and junior Zach Sawyer.
Gavin Roesti, Kade Corcoran, Wyatt Blakeley, Rider Montgomery and Torsten Anderson are on the junior varsity and will play at the BC tournament. Mankins said those players could all push for varsity team.
“It’s a pretty deep team,” Mankins said. “I think there are going to be a lot of different combinations. It is going to be a dogfight.”
Sophomore Dylann Bartoletti is the No. 1 player for the Butte High girls. Mankins said she has been working hard to improve her game during the summer.
Junior Taylor Sullivan is No. 2. She is followed by junior Kendyllen Lean, sophomore Chelsi Lyons and eighth grader Kate DeShaw.
DeShaw will hold the distinction of being the first Butte eighth grader to play varsity under the new Montana High School Association rule.
“To get a fifth, I’m going to rip the band aid off,” Mankins said of the new rule regarding eighth graders. “She’s going to be a good little player. The more she plays competitively, the better she will be.”
As of now, Butte High does not have any junior varsity girls. Still, the coach likes what he has.
“I think people are going to be surprisingly shocked,” Mankins said of his girls in 2022. “I think we’re going to do pretty well.”
Mankins will once again be assisted by Cory Johnston.
The Bulldogs will play at the Missoula Invitational next week. The Butte Invitational is Sept. 7-8, and the Western A Divisional is Sept. 22-23 in Kalispell. The Class AA State tournament is sept. 29-30 in Helena.
A sight for the Western A Divisional tournament has not yet been announced. The Class A State tournament is set for Sept. 30-Oct. 1 in Hamilton.
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