Nine individuals and eight teams will enter the Butte Sports Hall of Fame this weekend.
The 2015 class was announced in February, it will be officially inducted on Saturday night at the Butte Civic Center.
Bert Markovich, Deann Johnson, Jack O’Billovich, Joe Simonich, John Metz, Kellie Johnson, Mick Delaney, Monte Sever and Bernie Boyle will join the Hall as individuals.
The teams getting the call are the 1986, ’87 and ’88 Butte High wrestling teams, the 1986 and ’87 Butte High girls’ track teams, the 1989 Butte Central golf team, and the 1996 and ’97 Butte Central softball teams.
The weekend’s events begin with Friday’s Green Jacket Ceremony at the Civic Center. A social will begin at 6 p.m., with the ceremony beginning at 8. The event is open to the public.
The induction banquet will be held on Saturday. The no-host cocktail hour is to start at 6 p.m. with the dinner to follow at 7. The banquet tickets, which are $40, are available at the Butte Civic Center box office during business hours.
Following is an in-depth look at all the individuals and teams as compiled by ButteSports.com writer Bruce Sayler and the late Pat Kearney.
He was an outstanding football player at Butte Central and Montana State in the 1970s. Markovich played football for the Maroons from 1969-71. Butte Central won two state Class A titles during that time, in 1969 and 1971. Markovich was the only sophomore who lettered on the 1969 state championship team.
In 1970, he was the starting center for the Maroons who won the city and league championships. For his efforts, Markovich was named first team All-Conference following the season. There was no All-State team announced that year in Class A.
In his senior year, in 1971, Markovich moved to the tight end position. He was the team’s leading receiver by catching seven balls for 198 yards while scoring a team-high four receiving touchdowns. Markovich was the captain on the 1971 team that won the state Class A title. He was picked second team All-Conference as a tight end. In basketball, Markovich played varsity three years from 1970-72. He played in 46 games, scoring 243 points for an average of 5.2 points a game.
Markovich took his talents to Montana State University where he played football for the Bobcats. Markovich was the starting center for MSU in 1975 and 1976. In his senior year, in 1976, Markovich was the captain of the NCAA Division II national championship team at Montana State.
1969 member Butte Central state championship football team
1970 member Butte Central basketball team
1970 starting center Butte Central football team
1970 selected first team All-Conference in football
1971 member Butte Central basketball team
1971 captain starting tight end Butte Central state football Championship team
1971 leading receiver with 7 catches for 198 yards 4 TDS.
1971 selected second team All-Conference as a tight end
1972 member Butte Central basketball team
1973 member Montana State football team
1974 member Montana State football team
1975 starting center Montana State football team
1976 starting center Montana State national football champs
1976 captain Montana State football team.
She was a standout basketball player at Butte High and Montana Tech in the 1980s. Johnson was a member of the 1982 and 1983 Butte High girls’ basketball teams. She led the 1983 team in scoring with 230 points on the season, averaging 10.9 points a game in 21 games. For her efforts, she was selected first team All-State following the season.
Johnson’s career totals were 233 points, a 9.23 average in 25 games. Johnson went on to compete in basketball at Montana Tech. In 1985, she threw in 21 points against Eastern Montana College. She averaged 8 points and 6 rebounds her freshman year. In 1986, she led the team in free throw shooting at 67 percent, was second in rebounding with 6.6 caroms a game, and averaged 9 points a contest.
In 1986, she led the team in rebounds with 10 a game. She also scored 11.2 points a game. In 1987, Johnson was named the Most Valuable Player of the Big Sky Holiday Classic Tournament. She was selected second team All-Frontier Conference. She pulled down 17 rebounds in one game against Western Montana College. For her efforts, she was named the Frontier Conference Player of the Week.
In her senior year, in 1988, Johnson had 27 points and 12 rebounds in a win over Ricks College. She had 21 points in a victory over Carroll College which earned her Frontier Conference Player of the Week honors. She scored more than 20 points in five games. Her average for the season was 15 points a game. She also averaged 9 rebounds a game. Johnson was named the 1988 Frontier Conference Most Valuable Player of the Year. She was also picked first team All-Frontier Conference. In addition, Johnson was selected to the NAIA District 12 team.
Johnson finished her career with 1,075 points scored. She ranked fourth all-time in scoring at Montana Tech when her career was completed. Johnson received the 1988 Peggy Sarsfield Award as the top female athlete at Montana Tech. Following her playing days, Johnson served as an assistant coach at Butte High and Montana Tech before becoming an official.
1982 member Butte High girls’ basketball team
1983 starter Butte High girls’ basketball team
1983 team’s leading scorer with 230 points 10.9 average
1983 selected first team All-State in basketball
1985 member Montana Tech women’s basketball team
1986 member Montana Tech women’s basketball team
1987 member Montana Tech women’s basketball team
1987 selected MVP Big Sky Holiday Classic Tournament
1987 selected second team All-Frontier Conference
1988 member Montana Tech women’s basketball team
1988 selected Frontier Conference Most Valuable Player
1988 selected first team All-Frontier Conference
1988 selected first team NAIA District 12
1985-88 scored 1,075 career points at Montana Tech
1998-2002 assistant basketball coach Butte High
2002-2004 assistant basketball coach Montana Tech
2004-2011 basketball official
He was a football player at Butte High where he played on the 1959 Bulldogs’ team that competed for the state Class AA title.
Following his high school days, O’Billovich played at Wenatchee Valley College in Washington before moving on to Oregon State. Nicknamed “Mad Dog,” O’Billovich was a three-year starter for the Beavers from 1963 to 1965. He was a member of the 1964 OSU team that won the Pac 8 with an 8-1 record and went on to play Michigan in the Rose Bowl where tthe Beavers lost 34-7.
O’Billovich was selected as an All-American linebacker following the 1964 season. After college, O’Billovich played two years with the Detroit Lions of the National Football League and one year with Hamilton of the Canadian Football League.
Injuries to his knees and elbow cut short his playing career.
O’Billovich was elected to the Oregon State University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008 and now joins his older brother, Bob, in the Butte shrine. Jack O’Billovich passed away in 1995.
1959 member Butte High football team
1960-61 member Wenatchee Valley College football team
1963-65 starter Oregon State football team
1964 member Oregon State Pac 8 champions
1964 selected as an All-American at linebacker
1966-67 member Detroit Lions football team
1968 member Hamilton of CFL
He was called the “Butte Assassin” as a world-class fighter who boxed in the 1920s. During his career, Simonich fought 106 fights and won 76 times. Simonich beat Mickey Walker, “The Toy Bulldog,” a former world champion on Nov. 11, 1926, in Philadelphia. Simonich made history that night by being recorded as the first man to knock Walker off his feet. Then-Philadelphia Bulletin sports editor Lee Doyle described it as “a punch that started when he left Montana” that knocked Walker to the floor.
The next year in Chicago, Simonich whipped world welterweight champion Pete Latzo on March 10, 1927. Latzo forced Simonich to come into the bout overweight so the contest could not be declared a title fight. Howver, the performance earned Simonich the moniker of “uncrowned welterweight champion of the world.” Simonich was a crowd-pleaser who always fought hard and took as much as he gave.
His boxing career took him overseas to Europe and Asia. During the 1920s, Simonich scored knockouts over several of the top welterweight contenders of the day, including Tilly “Kid” Herman, Lou Chester, Joe Dunn, Ray Connally, Frankie Ward and Johnny Nichols. Simonich defeated Johnny Freeman in one of his many appearances at New York’s famous Madison Square Garden.
Before turning pro, Simonich served in World War I, rising from private to first lieutenant, and boxed in the Army, winning the AEF Championship tournament in Paris. After retiring as a boxer, Simonich served the sport many more years as a referee of amateur bouts. He passed away in 2013.
1920s professional boxer
Overall record 76-30 as a professional fighter
He was a standout wrestler at Butte Central for four years. Later, he would become an accomplished coach in the sport. Metz was a varsity wrestler all four years he attended Butte Central, from 1982-85. Metz won the Class A 105-pound state championship as a freshman in 1982. The Maroons won their first divisional title in school history during that season as
Metz won his weight class at the divisional tournament.
The next year, in 1983, the Maroons won the school’s only state championship in wrestling. Metz finished sixth in his weight class at the state Class A meet in Whitefish. Prior to the state meet, Metz won his weight group at the divisional meet. In his junior year, Metz placed third at the state meet after winning his weight division at the divisional meet. In 1985, during his senior season, Metz again won the state championship at 145 pounds.
He also won his weight classification in the 1985 Western divisional tournament. Metz won four divisional championships. For his prep career at Butte Central, Metz had a record of 97-12-2. In addition, he won four freestyle state wrestling titles and was a four-time place-winner at the national freestyle event. Following his high school career, Metz took his talents to Northern Montana College. Metz was a two-time All-American wrestler at Northern. He wrestled four years for the Lights. Metz had a record of 20-11-2 in his freshman year and was 33-14 his sophomore year, placing eighth in the national NAIA tournament to earn All-American status. Following a year off due to an injury, Metz came back in 1989 with a 33-18 record, placed eighth in the country and earned his second All-American award. Metz finished his career in 1990 with a record of 117-57-3 at Northern Montana College. He finished third in wins in school history. He was a four-time national qualifier, winning the District 12 crown three times. He was the team’s captain his junior and senior years. He won the Man in the Glass Award in 1990 at Northern, symbolic of the hardest worker who makes the most sacrifices for the program. After his athletic career, Metz spent 15 years as a head wrestling coach at Conrad High School and also Butte High. Metz compiled a record of 205-26-1 during his coaching career. His Conrad teams won four state state Class B-C titles in 1995, ’97, ’98 and ’99. He also won a state Class AA title at Butte High in 2003. Metz had five state championship. He was named coach of the year five times. Metz led his team to second-place finishes at state in 1996 and 2002. During his 15 years as a head coach, his teams placed in the top three places 10 times. He coached 20 state champions during his career. Metz is the only Montana coach to win state wrestling titles at two different schools in different classifications.
1982 member Butte Central divisional wrestling champions
1982 state wrestling champion 105 pounds
1983 member Butte Central state wrestling champions
1983 placed sixth at the state meet
1984 member Butte Central divisional wrestling champions
1984 placed third at the state meet
1985 member Butte Central wrestling team
1985 state champion 145 pounds
1986 member Northern Montana wrestling team 20-11-2 record
1986 second place finish at District 12 regional meet
1987 member Northern Montana wrestling team 33-14 record
1987 champion District 12 regional meet
1987 placed eighth at national meet All-American selection
1989 team captain Northern Montana wrestling 33-18 record
1989 champion District 12 regional meet
1989 placed eighth at national meet All-American selection
1990 team captain Northern Montana wrestling 31-14-1 record
1990 champion District 12 regional meet
1986-90 college record 117-57-3 third best wins at Northern
1991-00 head wrestling coach Conrad High School
1995 head coach Class B state champions at Conrad
1995 selected Class B Coach of the Year
1996 head coach Conrad High school second place finish
1997 head coach Class B state champions at Conrad
1997 selected Class B Coach of the Year
1998 head coach Class B state champions at Conrad
1998 selected Class B Coach of the Year
1999 head coach Class B state champions at Conrad
1999 selected Class B Coach of the Year
2001 head coach Butte High wrestling team
2002 head coach Butte High wrestling team second place
2003 head coach Class AA state champions at Butte High
2003 selected Class AA Coach of the Year
2004 head coach Butte High wrestling team
2005 head coach Butte High wrestling team
1991-05 won five state titles fourth best in Montana
1991-05 coaching record 205-26-19th-best in wins in state
1991-05 coached 20 individual state champions
She was a standout all-around athlete at Butte Central in the 1990s. Johnson competed in basketball, volleyball and softball for the Maroons. Her best sport was basketball where she was the most dominant player in school history. During her four-year career, she set 15 school records at Butte Central. Johnson still holds the school record for points in a game with 42 against Whitehall in 1996.
She also still holds the record for free throws made in a game with 14 which she established in two different games. Johnson still holds the mark for points scored in a season with 485 in 1996. She also holds the second-best mark with 447 points in the 1995 season. She still holds season records with 169 field goals set in 1996, 148 two-point field goals in 1996, 113 free throws made in 1996, 16 free throw attempts in 1996 and best scoring average in a season 23 points a game set in 1996. In career numbers, Johnson tallied 2,098 points, according to Montana High School Association record. Butte Central records say she set career records with 555 field goals, 475 two-point field goals, 80 three-point field goals, 329 free throws made, 476 free throw attempts, and best scoring average of 18.4 points in 83 varsity games. Her 1,342 career rebounds stand as a state record. Johnson was selected first team All-State in basketball in 1995 and 1996.
Besides basketball, Johnson excelled in volleyball for the Maroons. She tallied 1,729 kills in her career at Butte Central, a school record which ranks third all-time in the Montana prep ranks. She was selected first team All-State in volleyball in 1995, 1996 and 1997.
Johnson also played softball for the Lady Maroons. She was the starting pitcher for Butte Central in 1996 when they won the Conference title. A rainout forced the cancellation of the state softball tournament. The next season, in 1997, Johnson led the Lady Maroons to their first ever state softball championship. She was the starting pitcher for the Maroons the entire season. Johnson holds state softball records with 152 career hits, 177 runs scored, 40 career doubles, 19 doubles in a season, 15 career triples, 57 career home runs (30 more than the holder of second place), 21 home runs in one season, 4 home runs in one game, 189 career runs batted in, 61 RBIs in one season, .594 career batting average, 163 career stolen bases, 65 stolen bases in a season 6 stolen bases in one game, 9 no-hitters pitched in a career and 5 no-hitters pitched in a season. She holds several other school records, as well, in softball.
Following her prep career, Johnson played basketball four years at Illinois State. When her playing career ended, Kellie was an assistant basketball coach at Montana Tech. She became the head coach at the Air Force Prep School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 2010.
1993 member Butte Central girls’ basketball team
1994 member Butte Central girls’ basketball team
1995 member Butte Central volleyball team
1995 selected first team All-State in volleyball
1995 member Butte Central girls’ softball team
1995 member Butte Central girls’ basketball team
1995 selected first team All-State in basketball
1995 member Butte Central girls’ softball team
1996 member Butte Central volleyball team
1996 selected first team All-State in volleyball
1996 member Butte Central girls’ basketball team
1996 selected first team All-State in Basketball
1996 member Butte Central girls’ conference softball champs
1993-96 set 15 school records while playing basketball
1994-96 scored 2,098 (according to MHSA records) career points most in Butte history in basketball
1997 member Butte Central volleyball team
1997 selected first team All-State in volleyball
1997 member Butte Central girls’ state softball champions
1997-00 member Illinois State women’s basketball team
2000s assistant coach Montana Tech women’s basketball
2010-12 head coach Air Force Prep School women’s basketball
He was a standout football player at Butte Central and went on to become a successful high school and college football coach. Delaney was a starting end on the 1960 Butte Central football team. Delaney then competed for the Western Montana Bulldogs in football. After assistant coaching stints at the University of Montana and Butte Central, Delaney got his first head coaching job at Great Falls High. He led the Bison to the Class AA state title in 1974.
Mick went on to become an assistant coach at Montana State where the Bobcats won the Big Sky Conference title in 1979. After spending some time out of the coaching ranks, Delaney took over as athletic director at Montana Tech. He then became head football coach at Western Montana College in 1991. In 1993, he accepted a job as assistant coach at Colorado State to work under friend and Butte Sports Hall of Fame member Sonny Lubick. The Rams won the Western Athletic Conference championship for the first time in the school’s history in 1994. Following the 2007 season, Delaney took a job as an assistant football coach at the University of Montana.
He announced his retirement following the 2011 season, but then was asked by the school to take the reins in the spring of 2012 to salvage a program reeling from firings and an NCAA investigation. Delaney fulfilled the mission and decided after the 2015 season to, again, retire.
1960 starting tight end Butte Central football team
1961-64 played football at Western Montana College
1965 graduate assistant coach for Montana Grizzlies
1966-68 assistant football coach at Butte Central
1969-73 assistant football coach at Great Falls High
1974 head coach of Great Falls High Bison state Class AA champions
1978-81 assistant coach at Montana State
1979 assistant coach for Montana State Big Sky Conference champions
1984-86 athletic director at Montana Tech
1991-92 head football coach at Western Montana College
1993-2007 assistant coach at Colorado State
1994 assistant coach for Colorado State Western Athletic Conference champions
1995 assistant coach for Colorado State Western Athletic Conference champions
2008-2011 assistant coach at Montana
2012-2014 head football coach at Montana
He was a standout running back on two state Class AA championship football teams at Butte High in 1967 and 1968. He was picked first team All-State following both the 1967 and 1968 seasons. In 1967, he had 65 carries for 370 yards and 5 touchdowns plus caught 4 balls for 86 yards and one score. He was picked first team All-State following the season. Sever scored 16 touchdowns during the 1968 season to lead the Bulldogs in scoring. He carried the ball 145 times for a school record 1,001 yards, completed one pass for 30 yards and caught 7 passes for 152 yards. He was the first Butte High running back to record over 1,000 rushing yards in a season.
Sever capped his brilliant career with 262 total yards in the 1968 state title game win over Great Falls High. The effort set a new school record for total yards in a game. The record was broken in 1987 by Todd Paffhausen when he got 286 yards in a game against Billings Skyview. Sever was selected first team All-State on offense following the 1968 season. He was named Class AA Co-Offensive Player of the Year along with Great Falls Russell’s Sparky Kottke. Sever also was picked second team All-State on defense. He was also picked honorable mention on the All-American team. During his career, he rushed for 1,371 yards on 210 carries scoring 21 rushing TDs. The career rushing total set a new school record at Butte High. He completed 1 pass for 30 yards and caught 11 passes for 238 yards and 1 touchdown.
In addition to football, Sever played three years of basketball 1967-69. In 1967, he averaged 5.7 points a game. In 1968, he hit 8 points a game. In 1969, he had 282 points second-most by a Bulldogs’ player that year, for an 11.7 average. Sever scored 32 points in one game against Great Falls High in 1969. He hit in double figures in eight games during the season. Following his prep career, Sever played in the 1969 Montana East-West Shrine Game in Great Falls. He played college football at the University of Montana and Montana Tech. In 1999, Sever was selected to the All-Century Butte High football team.
1967 starting fullback Butte High state football champions
1967 selected first team All-State in football
1968 member Butte High basketball team
1968 starting fullback Butte High state football champions
1968 set school-record with 262 total yards in a game
1968 set school-record 1,001 rushing yards
1968 selected first team All-State in football
1968 selected honorable mention All-American team
1967-69 1,371 career rushing yards school record
1969 member Butte High basketball team
1969 set school record scoring 32 points in one game
1969 played in Montana East-West Shrine Game
1970 member Montana Grizzlies’ football team
1971 member Montana Tech football team
1999 selected to All-Century Butte High football team
He is known for his selflessness and support for Butte’s youth and all Butte sports and as a tireless community volunteer worker on such projects as the Knights of Columbus Athletic Club honor displays and the fruition of the Maroon Activities Center. He has been known to chauffeur youth players home from their practices to ensure their safe arrivals, heading for many years the Butte Babe Ruth League baseball program during some of its more successful seasons, and directing the Knights of Columbus youth basketball Saturday morning programs. He has coached and officiated in the programs as well as raised funds for them and administered them.
He helps to maintain, paint, clean, etc. facilities such as the KC Hall and MAC and Butte Central schools. He managed the KC Hall many years while working fulltime as a Butte firefighter. He’s been the directing force and a hands-on worker for the Butte sports history tribute on the walls at the KC Hall where teams and individuals are depicted. Another of his contributions to the benefit of Butte and its youth were the Utah Jazz basketball trips to Salt Lake City he organized through the KCAC that provided many a kid his or her first live glimpse of a real National Basketball Association game. The excursions often included a youngster or two with no means to afford a ticket but who Boyle was able to magically find a way to take.
1986 Butte High wrestling
The 1986 state Class AA high school wrestling tournament was held at the Butte Civic Center and so the Butte High Bulldogs had the opportunity to continue its reign in front of the their home crowd. It was Butte High’s seventh straight championship duriing state-record runs in the sport.
All championships had come under the direction of head coach Jim Street and he guided this Bulldog team to 192.5 points to beat out fierce rival Kalispell (Flathead). The effort was led by three individual state champions with Kevin Parvinen ruling at 105 pounds, Randy Street (son of the coach) at 119 and Sean Moodry at 145. Moodry’s crown was won three weeks after he underwent surgery to repair an injured knee.
Other place-winners were Mike Telling, Bill Fisher, Randy Walund, Russ Connole, Lewis Pesanti, Paul LeProwse, Pat Ryan, Mark Dennehy and Craig Gransbery in a powerful team showing. Coach Street was assisted by John Connole and Steve Stosich. Damon Ogle served as team manager.
1987 Butte High wrestling
The winning streaks continued as Butte High rolled through its glory years on the mats. The Bulldogs won their eighth straight state championship and added on to a dual meet victory streak that was gaining the program national acclaim.
Randy Street was the team’s only champion but 10 other Butte High wrestlers earned place-winnings as the Bulldogs flexed their team muscle again, scoring a state-record 205.5 points in the state Class AA tournament held at the Billings Senior High School gym.
Head coach Jim Street’s knack for building team strength showed in second-place finishes by Jim Blow, Mark Dennehy, Mike Telling and Ernie Wilson; thirds by Lewis Pesanti and Paul LeProwse, fourths by Scott Becker and Corey Bolton, a fifth by Russ Connole and a sixth by Joey Johnston. Jaime Harris was also a state qualifier. Robert Byrd was the team manager, Steve Stosich, John Connole and Dan Liva were assistant coaches.
1988 Butte High wrestling
The state championship team kept chugging as the Butte High dual-meet win streak had reached 87 straight and the Class AA state crown was the Bulldogs’ ninth in a row. The ‘88 squad produced four state champions as Butte High posted 231 ½ points to greatly outdistance runner-up Great Falls High, which tallied 152 ½.
The Bulldogs’ performance shattered the state tournament points record it had put up the year before by 26 points. The 1988 state tournament was held in Bozeman and the Butte High individual champions were won by Jim Blow at 130 pounds, Randy Street at 140, Ernie Wilson at 145 and Corey Bolton at 160. Randy Street’s title was his third in a row. He missed the state tournament his freshman year because of a knee injury suffered the week of the meet.
Head coach Jim Street also saw second-place finishes by Jim Kelly at 119 pounds and Marvin Mongar at heavyweights, thirds by Jaime Harris at 98, Brian Bolton at 119, Shane Worley at 125, Shawn Becker at 135 and Chad Lembke at 189. Dean Gransbery placed fifth at 171 and Tom Gordon and Steve McCarthy also wreslted at the state tournament. Robert Byrd was the team manager. Coach Street was assisted by Steve Stosich, John Connole and Dan Liva.
1989 Butte Central Boys’ Golf
The 1989 state Class A high school boys’ golf tournament on the Fairmont Hot Springs resort course literally went down to the very end as Butte Central prevailed by one shot, 684-685, over defending champion Whitefish.
Mike Rapp matched 83s for a 166 over the two-day, 36-hole competition to lead the Maroons. Rapp’s score was good for a tie for third place, but he was relegated to fourth place in a tie-breaker. Conditions were miserable the first day of the tournament, which saw snow ride in on a fierce wind. Whitefish won the next year, so the 1989 outcome cost the Bulldogs a three-year championship streak.
Butte Central golfers Don Foley, Joe Stimatz, T.J. Harrington and Brian Noctor were the other members of the team, coached by Bobbie Anner-Hughes. Rapp, Foley and Stimatz all earned All-State status in their careers.
1986 Butte High Girls’ Track
Team balance was a key for head coach Pete Schonsberg and his Butte High girls’ track team that won the state Class AA team championship in 1986. Butte High scored 37 points at the meet held in Missoula to edge out second-place Missoula Big Sky, which registered 32.
The Bulldogs won just two events and both were by star Heidi Hemmert, who swept the hurdles events with times of 14.95 seconds in the 100-meter event, and 44.38 in the grueling 300-meter hurdles race. Hemmert scored 23 ½ points in the two-day meet under the old 6-4-3 points system, which scored six places per event. Hemmert also placed second in the 200-meter dash and other Butte High place-winners were Sherry Sparks, third in the 100-meter dash, Tawna Cleverly, fourth in the 100-meter hurdles, Jackie Chelini, fourth in the triple jump, Rhonda Ferkovich, fifth in the 3,200-meter run, and Anna Wherry, fifth in the 800-meter run. The Bulldog girls’ 400-meter relay team placed second.
The 1,600-meter relay team of Amy Regan, Shelly LaMere, Cleverly and Hemmert placed third. Other members of the championship track team at state were Tawnya Mock, Heidi Sherick and Cheri Walsh. Schonsberg’s assistant coaches were Tom Roberts, George Tarrant and Steve Wolstein. The team manager was Jackie Hanley.
1987 Butte High Girls’ Track
The Heidi Hemmert-led Butte High team made it two in a row in Class AA high school girls’ track with another state championship. The Bulldogs scored 54 points and Missoula Hellgate was second with 38 in the meet held in Great Falls. Hemmert won three events with firsts of 25.56 seconds in the 200-meter dash, 43.87 in the 300-meter hurdles and 14.87 in the 100-meter hurdles.
Coach Pete Schonsberg’s team was dominant with wins in three more events as Tami Mathewson took the 100-meter dash in 12.60, Anna Wherry broke the tape in the 800-meter run in 2:20.66 and the Butte High 400-meter relay team of Hemmert, Mathewson, Pam Pederson and Sherry Sparks triumphed in 49.70. Also, Mathewson placed second in the 200-meter dash and long jump, and was third in the triple jump. Mathewson was runner-up to Mathewson in the 100-meter dash and Wherry placed third in the javelin.
Others members of the state team for the Bulldogs were Connie Carle, Kristy Malkovich, Shelly LaMere, Chris Hartley, Jackie Chelini, Kandi Keil and Heidi Sherick. Jackie Hanley was the team manager. Assistant coaches were Tom Roberts, George Tarrant,Steve Wolstein and Scott Bardsley.
1996 Butte Central Softball
Butte Central seemed poised to win its first state championship in girls’ softball, a sport the Maroons began only six years prior. Butte Central and Hamilton were the top two teams in the state in Class A going into the state tournament set for Billings. However, relentless and hard rain muddied the fields over the first two days of the schedule, causing state officials to cancel the tournament before the third day arrived as the diamonds had been rendered unplayable. So, no official state champion was crowned, but Butte Central and Hamilton were considered to be unofficial Class A co-champions by many of those interested around the state. H
amilton had the better record than the Maroons’ 14-4 mark and there was a push to crown the Broncs champions, relegating Butte Central to second place and Billings Central to third. However, the Montana High School Association decided such should be determined on the field and no official champion was crowned. Butte Central junior Kellie Johnson batted .596 in the season that also saw her knock in eight runs in one game, score five runs in one game and win 10 games in a row as a pitcher. First baseman Jackie Cortese was picked All-State first team and Johnson was voted to the All-State second team.
Meg Murphy was the head coach and was assisted by Jim Patrick and Leonard Kougioulis. Other members of the team were Brittani Dallaserra, Traci Adams, Kacie Briney, Melissa Brophy, Kristina Cashell, Karee Crittendon, Colleen Cullen, J.J. Hogart, Jackie Hogart, Bryn Olson, Angie Regan, Heather Ryan, Callie Sullivan, Sarah Thatcher, Kate VanDaveer and Alicia Wheeler.
1997 Butte Central softball
Fort those who had doubts about Butte Central’s claim to the unofficial crown following the washed out 1996 state Class A tournament, the Maroons argued strongly for their legitimacy the next year. The tournament began in Butte before suffering weather difficulties again, which forced the championship game to be delayed two days and moved to Frenchtown where Butte Central defeated Polson.
The title was the Maroons’ first in the sport. A saving catch by diminutive center fielder Kate VanDaveer robbed Billings Central of a home run and saved a loser-out win for Butte Central in one key moment at Stodden Park, where the first two days of the tournament were held. Meg Murphy was the head coach assisted by Jim Patrick and Leonard Kougioulis.
The Maroons had opened the tournament with a 27-0 blasting of Browning, then lost 1-0 to Polson in the second round. They bounced back with the 3-2 edging of Billings Central saved by VanDaveer’s catch, downed Libby 2-0 and then pounded Polson 17-5 in the first final, forcing a second title tilt with the Pirates. Rain had arrived and would’ve curtailed the first championship game if not for Butte Central ending it early on the 10-run difference rule. The second title tilt was moved to Frenchtown and the Maroons won by 9-2 to cap at 23-5 season. Kellie Johnson pitched in every game of the tournament. She also went 4-for-4 with three doubles in the second championship game. Catcher J.J. Hogart was 2-for-2 in the game, and first baseman Kacie Briney belted a pair of hits. Johnson and VanDaveer were voted All-State First Team.
Traci Adams, Bryn Olson and Heather Ryan were picked to the All-State Second Team, and J.J. Hogart and Melissa Brophy were accorded honorable mention. Johnson had a tremendous “career” on the 1997 season with 47 hits, including 19 doubles, seven triples, a state-record 61 runs batted in, a .588 batting average, 65 stolen bases, seven shutouts pitched, eight pitching wins in a row, five no-hitters, 21 earned runs allowed for a 1.18 ERA and 218 strikeouts pitched, including 16 against Laurel, 14 against Missoula Loyola and 13 against Polson. Other members of the team were Kristina Cashell, Karee Crittendon, Colleen Cullen, Jackie Hogart, Angie Regan, Kaci Regan Callie Sullivan, Sarah Thatcher and Alicia Wheeler.