George Ferguson Column: It's been quite the run in Chinook
To say things are about to come full circle for Chinook High School athletics would be an understatement.
The run the school has been on in sports the last year didn't start with the historic football state championship back on Nov. 20 and it isn't likely to end there either.
Chinook sports are hot right now and it doesn't look like the Sugarbeeters are cooling off anytime soon.
Last February, the Chinook wrestling team captured the Class C state championship of the B-C state tournament in Billings.
That feat, which was the wrestling team's second straight trophy at state, really jump-started what has been a tremendous amount of success at Chinook in the last calendar year.
The Beeters also had plenty of individual success at the state meet with Willie Miller, Robert Stroh and Ben Stroh all capturing individual state championships on the mat.
And just a week later, the Chinook boys basketball team started its best postseason run in over two decades, making Beeter pride even stronger.
The Chinook boys, led by head coach Chris Daniel picked up a hard-fought second-place finish at the 2010 District 9C tournament in Havre, and qualified for a divisional boys basketball tournament for the first time in years in the process.
Led by senior Class C All-State performer Dylan MacLean, Chinook went on a tear in late February and early March and when the dust settled on their basketball season, the Beeters had come within one win of reaching the Class C state tournament.
The feat by Chinook's boys last winter may have seemed pedestrian to some, but it was huge for the program, especially considering the Beeters had a two-win season back in 2008.
And even though hoops season was over, the hardware continued to pour in in Chinook.
The spring saw Chinook field strong boys and girls track teams, but the big splash came in May in Missoula when the Chinook girls captured a first-ever Class B-C state championship in tennis.
Led by head coach Thom MacLean, and two strong doubles teams and as well as outstanding singles play, the Beeters edged Cut Bank for the team title at the B-C meet in Missoula, bringing even more hardware back to the Hi-Line.
The tennis state championship capped off a tremendous sports year for Chinook, but who knew the best was yet to come.
And not even summer break could slow the Beeter machine down.
This past fall saw the Chinook volleyball team run the table in District 6C East play. The Beeters went undefeated on their way to capturing the regular season district championship. Chinook got through the district tournament, finishing second to North Star before its season came to an end at the Northern C Tournament in Chester just last month.
And of course, there was the coveted state title in football.
No one will forget November of 2010 in Chinook and no one will forget where they were or what they were doing on Nov. 20 when the Beeters torched undefeated Wibaux for the Class C football state championship. The Chinook football team of this year will be forever etched in history.
And with the run Chinook is on, could things get even better? The answer is likely, yes because the Beeters are right back where the run started.
It's wrestling season and Chinook is the heavy favorite to capture another Class C title as well as finish among the top teams in all of B-C wrestling.
And basketball season is only a week away, and the Beeters are back as a favorite to capture the 9C boys title this season, something they didn't quite achieve during their magical run last winter. And the Chinook girls should be very good on the hardwood too.
So can things keep going in Chinook?
With the roll Chinook athletics is on, it appears anything is possible right now, and there's no question that in the world of Hi-Line sports, the Orange and Black is on top right now.
Beeters on a roll
February/March 2010 — Chinook captures Class C state championship in wrestling, claims three individual champions on the mat. Chinook's boys basketball team also wins 9C challenge game and reaches the Northern C Tournament for the first time. Chinook boys reach Northern C title game in Great Falls before falling to Power, then losing to rival Big Sandy in a Northern C challenge game.
May 2010 — Chinook girls tennis team captures the first-ever state championship for the school in tennis in Missoula.
November 2010 — Chinook volleyball wins District 6C East regular season title, finishes second at the district tournament. Chinook's football team captures the school's first-ever state championship in football by beating Wibaux 74-6 on Nov. 20 in Chinook.