Butte Sports Hall of Fame welcomes Class of 2019

The Butte Sports Hall of Fame will grow by nine individuals and four teams this weekend.

Walter Lonner, Tom Pomroy Sr., Kathy (Bender) Means, Tom Hauck, Bob Rowling, Krystal (Ackerman) Carlson, Barry Sullivan, Paul Riley and Jason Street will receive their Green Jackets during Friday’s Green Jacket Ceremony at the Butte Civic Center.

The four championship teams will also be honored during the Friday ceremony. Those teams are the Frontier Conference champion 1979 Tech Football team the Frontier Conference champion 1981 Tech volleyball team, the state champion 1990 Butte High wrestling team and the state champion 1994 Butte High volleyball team.

A cocktail hour for the event begins at 6 p.m., and the ceremony starts at 7:30. The Green Jacket ceremony is free and open to the public.

A Green Jacket breakfast will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday at Perkins. This event is for all Green Jackets.

The induction banquet will be held Saturday at the Civic Center. A cocktail hour begins at 6 p.m., and dinner will be served at 7. Tickets, which are $40, are currently on sale at the Butte Civic Center box office. They can be ordered online at butteciviccenter.com.

In addition to Friday’s introduction, the championship teams will be introduced individually during the banquet.

Also, the Butte Sports Hall of Fame golf tournament begins at 1:30 p.m. on Friday at the Highland View Golf Course. The tournament is a four-person nine-hole scramble. Cost is $10 plus green fees for nonmembers.

Following is a look at the Butte Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2019.

Walter J. “Walt” Lonner

From the mid-1940s to the late 1950s, Walt was involved in many sports, including baseball, football and speedskating.  His passion was track and field, especially the sprints.

At  Butte High, he earned three letters in track. In dual meets he usually scored points in seven events. At the state meet in 1952, his senior year, he became the fifth Butte sprinter to win the 100- and 220-yard dashes.  He also placed second in the long jump and anchored the half-mile relay.  He missed being the meet’s high-point man by 1.5 points.  Weeks earlier, in a special race in Naranche stadium arranged by coach Swede Dahlberg, he eclipsed the Butte record of 10.1 in the 100 posted in 1933 by famed Bob O’Malley.

As a Grizzly, he lettered all four years in track and one year in football.  In his senior year and track team captain, he posted times of 9.7, 21.0, and 47.5 in the 100-, 220-, and 440-yard dashes, respectively. His best mark in the long jump was 23 feet.  At the 1956 Skyline Conference track and field championships in Denver, he won the 220 and soon after repeated that win at the Montana AAU championships, setting a new state record of 21.4.  Representing Montana at the National AAU Championship Meet in Bakersfield, California, an Olympics trial venue, he competed in the 200-meter dash, making it to the semi-finals.  In that meet he competed with the best sprinters in the nation, including the eventual gold, silver, and bronze medalists in the 1956 Melbourne Games. While a USAF officer (1956-59), he was on the Air Defense Command track team that competed in the 1959 All-Air Force Track meet in Oxnard, California.

Tom Pomroy Sr.

Tom Pomroy was a great all-around athlete, competing on the state level from the 1950s through the 1990s.

Pomroy was the ace pitcher on the 1951 Butte Miners American Legion Baseball team that placed second at the state tournament. Pomroy lost only one game that season, and that came in a relief appearance in the state championship game. He struck out 13 batters in one game in Billings hat season. The only hit he surrendered was a bunt. Following the season, the Chicago Cubs offered him a tryout. Pomroy led the Miners Union team to the 1953 Copper League championship, and he pitched for the University of Montana. In 1954, he compiled an undefeated record on the mound as the Grizzlies won the Skyline Conference Western Division title.

Pomroy was a force on the football field for the Bulldogs, who claimed a share of the state championship in 1951. He ran for a 47-yard touchdown in Butte High’s 61-0 win over Butte Central in that season. As a running back, Pomroy averaged 14.4 yards per carry on the season. He led all rushers in the Butte-Central game and led the bulldogs in rushing in the state title game. He went on to start at running back for the Grizzly Cubs while at UM. Pomroy placed fourth in the 440-yard dash at the State track meet in 1952.

He also ran for Butte High’s 440-yard relay team at State that year. Pomroy also won multiple City Golden Masters titles in handball. He teamed with his son, Tom Pomroy Jr., Bill Peoples, Ernie Burby and Rocky Williams to win multiple City Doubles titles. Tom Pomroy Jr. was inducted into the Butte Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.

Kathy (Bender) Means

Part of the fearless diving Bender family, Kathy (Bender) Means won more than 200 first-place medals in swimming, diving, synchronized swimming and gymnastics.

Ranked among the top 10 divers in the nation, Means was named a high school All-American in swimming and diving. Means, a 1969 graduate of Butte Central, competed in international swim meets in Canada, while also competing in Northwest events in Rapid City, Spokane, Jamestown and Seattle.

Along with her sister, Pam, Kathy went to Arizona to train for the Olympic diving team. However, her dream ended because scholarships were not offered to women in those days. She was named the AAU Montana “Swimmer of the Year” in 1966. In 1967, she received the Girl Athlete of the Year by the Missoula Alumni Association of the University of Montana.

Means held numerous state swimming records and, at one point, Means and her sister, Pam, held every Montana state diving record. In September of 1969, Means received the prestigious Little Sullivan Award for Outstanding Athlete of the Year by the Montana AAU. She was elected by a unanimous vote. In 1970, Kathy was awarded first place in all-around intercollegiate gymnastics for Montana.

Tom Hauck

Butte native Tom Hauck is a legendary assistant football coach at Rocky Mountain College and then the University of Montana.

He helped send 12 players to the National Football league. Before that, Hauck was a star athlete at Butte High and the University of Montana. Hauck picked up eight varsity letters at Butte High (three in football, two in basketball and three in track.) As a linebacker and center, Hauck helped lead Butte High to State Championship Game in 1959. He was named All-State at linebacker following his senior campaign that year. He also was a standout in basketball and track for the Bulldogs.

Hauck started three seasons for the Grizzlies. He was named a preseason All-American by Street and Smith Magazine in 1963. Future NFL Hall of Famer linebacker Dick Butkus was the only other linebacker mentioned by the magazine. After graduating from the University with a degree in mathematics,

Hauck served as an army officer in Vietnam.  Upon discharge, he began a very long career as coach in Big Sky Country. That included being part of the Montana Grizzlies 2001 NCAA 1-AA national championship team. Tom has also coached wrestling as well as track and field. He still helps out instructing in field events for both boys’ and girls’ at a school associated with Missoula Loyola-Sacred Heart. Both as a player and as coach, Tom was known for sportsmanship and integrity.

Bob “Rollo” Rowling

Bob was a longtime Butte-Silver Bow Parks and Recreation Director (45 years) and sports official (55 years).

What started as a job to make extra money in 1964 turned into a career that saw him officiate championship games in all classifications in Montana high school basketball and football. He worked the Montana East-West Shrine game five times. He has served as the Region 3 director for the MOA/MHSA since 1985. He worked 12 years as a Frontier football official and 20 as a basketball official. Rollo began a 30-year career as a Big Sky Conference football in 1976. He officiated the NCAA I-AA National Championship Game four straight years, 1985 through 1988. He worked three Bobcat-Grizzly games and more than 40 playoff games.

Rowling served on the Big Sky board of directors from 1990 through 1997, and he was the president of the Big Sky Officials Association in 1994 and 1995. Rollo was inducted into the Big Sky Officials Hall of Fame in 2006, and he was honored by the Montana Chapter of National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 2010.

kAs Rec Director, Rowling was instrumental in the development of the Corette Pool and oversaw the management of it for 38 years. He helped lead the way for upgrades to Stodden Park and the Highland View Golf Course, and was a major player in the creation of the Copper Mountain Sports Complex. As a young athlete, Rowling pitched in the Babe Ruth state championship game. He also played in the last year of the Copper League. He was a member of championship water polo teams and was invited to and played in the Olympic pool in San Francisco.

Krystal (Ackerman) Carlson

Krystal (Ackerman) Carlson was an outstanding three-sport athlete at Butte High School. From the fall of 1991 through the spring of 1995, Carlson earned 11 varsity letters for the Bulldogs.

She lettered four times in both basketball and golf. She lettered three more times in volleyball. Carlson was a member of the 1994 Butte High state championship volleyball team, a 2019 Butte Sports Hall of Fame inducted team. As a senior, in 1994, Carlson averaged 16.0 points per game on the basketball court, earning first-team All-State honors. In her four-years playing varsity basketball, Ackerman scored 352 points, averaging 10.3 points per game. That ranks No. 7 on the school’s all-time list at the time of her enshrinement. She is one of just 11 players in school history to score 300 or more career points.

In grade school, Carlson won a state title in the Elks Hoop Shoot. On the golf course, Carlson excelled in high school, college and beyond. As a junior and senior at Butte High, Ackerman earned All-State honors by placing in the top 15 at the Class AA State Golf tournament. She went on to play golf at Montana Tech. Carlson is also a two-time women’s club champion at the Butte Country Club.

Barry Sullivan

Barry Sullivan was a standout all-around athlete at Butte High in the 1970s, competing in football, basketball and track.

Sullivan was a two-year starting quarterback for the Bulldogs and received the Swede Dahlberg Award in 1978. In his senior year, Sullivan was a captain of the Bulldogs’ 1977 undefeated football team that won the state championship. The 1977 team was selected as the top Butte High football team of the 20th Century. Sullivan was selected first-team All-State quarterback and played in the Montana East West Shrine game.

In basketball, Sullivan played for the Bulldogs in 1977 and 1978. He was the club’s second-leading scorer in 1978, tallying 280 points for a 10.3 average. Sullivan was also a member of the Butte High track team participating in pole vault, long jump, and hurdles. He was also a standout pitcher for the Butte Miners and leading home run hitter.

Following graduation from Butte High, Sullivan played football at Montana State from 1979 to 1982. He was the Bobcat starting quarterback for more than three years and led the Bobcats to the Big Sky Conference championship in 1979.  Sullivan received all-conference honors in 1980. Sullivan played quarterback in four Bobcat-Grizzly games.

When Sullivan completed his career at MSU, he was ranked No. 1 for the Bobcats in the following categories: most career pass completions; highest career pass completion percentage; highest pass completion percentage in a single season; most passing yards in a single season by a freshman; and most total yards in a single season by a freshman.  He also was ranked No. 2 in career passing yards and No. 3 in career total offensive yards.  He still ranks in the top 10 for the Bobcats in all but two of these categories.  Sullivan was a member of Butte’s 1972 Little League All-Star team that won the state championship and advanced to the regional tournament in San Bernardino, California.

Paul Riley

Paul Riley is a tremendous all-around athlete, known for his skills from the speedskating rink, to the football field, to the track, to the golf course, to the racquetball court.

Riley started two seasons at defensive back for Butte High’s football teams that advanced to the State Championship Game in 1974 and 1975. As a senior in 1975, Paul was named first-team all-conference at safety and return specialist. He was named second-team All-State at safety. Riley  went on to play football at Montana Tech, where he was named first-team All-Conference and first team All-District 12 at receiver in 1977. He received an All-NAIA honorable mention at receiver that same year.

On the track, Riley contributed for Butte High by qualifying for the Class AA State meet in the 100-yard dash in 1976. He was also a member of Butte High’s second-place team in the 440-yard relay. Riley, who played Legion Baseball in Butte, is an accomplished golfer and racquetball player.

His many golf accomplishments include placing seventh at the Montana State Mid-Amateur in Bozeman in 1994. Along with Rick Lyons and Dave Cashell, Riley won the Gene Cook Cup at the 1995 Montana State Mid-Amateur at the Butte Country Club.

Riley also won the 1984 long-drive championship at the Montana State Amateur in Great Falls in 1984. In the racquetball court, Riley won multiple state championships. From 1980 through 2000, he was a nationally sponsored player by Pro Kennex. Riley also ran several marathons from 2000 to 2010.

Jason Street

Jason Street was a multi-sport athlete at Butte High School.  He won 11 varsity letters during his career — four each in wrestling and track, and three in football.

Street was an integral member on four state championship teams, three in wrestling from 1990 through 1992 and one in football in 1991.  During his senior year in football, Street earned All-Conference in three positions punter: kick returner and linebacker.

Street’s most success came on the wrestling mat where he was State runner-up as a freshman at 145 pounds while taking home the championship his sophomore through senior years at 152, 17, and 189 pounds, respectively. Street ended his Senior year having compiled the most wins by any Montana wrestler at that time and was a National High School All-American in three different tournaments.

Street continued to excel on the mats post high school wrestling for Fresno State before transferring to University of Oklahoma for his senior year.  He qualified for the NCAA Wrestling Championships every year but his junior year that ended in injury. He earned one individual conference championship and three team conference championships. Street credits his mom and dad for is accomplishments and states his greatest joy is being a father.

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1979 Montana Tech Frontier Conference Champions

This Frontier Conference champion football team is largely credited with bringing back large crowds to Montana Tech football games. Tech had not won a conference title since 1970 before Coach Bill Connor’s Orediggers climbed to the top of the Frontier.

The Orediggers went 6-2-1 overall and did not lose a game in the Frontier Conference. Their only losses came to NCAA Division II programs.  The Orediggers produced 17 All-Conference selections and All-American running back Steve Housler. One of the most prominent notes on the team is their 46-8 drubbing of eventual Big Sky Conference member Eastern Washington to finish the season. The 1979 Orediggers were inducted into the Digger Athletics Hall of Fame in 2018.

1981 Montana Tech Frontier Champions

The Orediggers captured Montana Tech’s first women’s Frontier Conference championship in any sport. Head coach Jo Buysse’s Orediggers finished the season with a 20-7 record, competing against many future NCAA Division I and Division II opponents.

The Orediggers reached the AIAW Region IX Tournament. Four of the 13 Oredigger players were selected All-Conference following the season. Six members of the team were recruited to play basketball and went on to contribute significantly on the volleyball court as well. Mavis (Mollberg) Bentley and Krystal (Becker) Lawson served as captains on the 1981 Orediggers. Other members of the team were Mary Yakawich, Jamie Connell, Mary (Theis) West, Cathy (Gallagher) Brannon, Carla (Slick) Danielson, Julie Hoklin, Kristi (Hoklin) Syvrud, Shelly (Linz) Davis, Cindy (Seymour) Kmetz, Robin (Roehl) Main, and Gloria (Dubiel) Jensen. Linda Schoenstedt assisted Buysse, who was inducted into the Digger Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013.

1989-90 Butte High State Champions

Coach Jim Street’s Bulldogs added to their Montana record with their 11th straight Class AA State title in front of 6,300 fans Feb. 10 at MetraPark Arena in Billings. Three Bulldogs won individual state titles as Butte High racked up 192 ½ points to edge Billings Skyview by five and a half points. Great Falls High placed third with 173 points.

In all, Butte High saw nine wrestlers place in the top four at State. Senior Jaime Harris, at 112 pounds, won his first state title after placing third at state two times. Despite suffering a broken jaw two weeks earlier, junior Keith Haberman claimed a championship 152 pounds. Junior Mark Struznik won at 160 ponds, overcoming four previous losses to Dave Roberts before knocking off the Helena High wrestler 6-4 in the title match. Junior Brian Bolton (125 pounds), sophomore Robin Moodry (130) and freshman Jason Street (145) placed second at State. Junior J.P. Gordon (135) and Freshman Brent Choquette (105) placed third, and junior Vince Bolton (119) took fourth. Other wrestlers who contributed to the championship were seniors Mike Bassett, Nigel Brown, Shane Hollingsworth, Randy Piercy, Chris Simon, Nathan Smyth and Matt Vincent; juniors Brian Anderson, Marc Choquette, Matt Culpin, Ryan Pesanti and Pat Isaacson; sophomores Jeremy Whitlock and Brent Aleksich; and freshmen Brock Aleksich, John Burke, Brian Church, Brett Heard and Jeremy Webster. John Connole, Steve Stosich, Dan Liva and Bob Liva were assistants on the team.

1993-94 Butte High State Champions

Coach John Ries’ Bulldogs captured their only volleyball title by beating Billings Skyview 3-1 March 12 in the championship game of the Class AA State tournament at Butte High’s gym (now called the Ross J. Richardson Gymnasium).

Butte High entered the State tournament as the top-ranked team from the Western AA and knocked off Bozeman 15-5, 15-11, 15-8 to open the tournament. The Bulldogs then beat Billings West 15-8, 15-12, 11-14, 4-15, 15-10 in a thrilling semifinal victory Friday night. The Bulldogs concluded the championship with a 15-8, 11-15, 15-10, 15-11 win over Skyview. The victory capped a 21-2 championship campaign.

Following the season, seniors Laura Belknap and Jennifer O’Neill and juniors Jami Hope and Jamie Wolstein were named first-team All-State.  Seniors Gayle Clark and Heather Little took home second-team All-State honors. Other members of the state champion Bulldogs were senior Holli Sumpter, juniors Karin Jolley and Sarah Rhoads and Krystal Ackerman, sophomore Dawn Callaghan and freshman Anna Fabatz.




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