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Havre Daily Top Local Sports Stories of 2022

Havre, Hi-Line was full of champions, championships and wonderful sports moments

Is there ever a year that isn't huge in our coverage area? If there has been one, I can't remember one.

The last year was certainly an exciting one in Havre and on the Hi-Line. From state championship teams and individuals, to new coaches, exciting games and everything in between, the Havre Daily News' coverage area had yet another incredible year of sports.

Here's our Top Local Sports Stories for 2022, and get ready, because 2023 is here, and it will likely produce just as many amazing moments.

1. Havre High girls win State A hoops, again

They did it again. Back in March in Missoula, the Havre High girls basketball team repeated as Class A state champions with a 37-30 win over arch rival Billings Central. The victory was Havre's fifth state championship since 2014 under head coach Dustin Kraske. Four of those titles also came in the last five seasons. Havre's Sadie Filius, Jade Wendland, Yelena Miller, Avery Carlson also earned Class A All-State honors for the Ponies.

2. Big Sandy is finally state champ in football

The journey to a Six-Man state championship was finally complete for the Big Sandy Pioneers. After three trips to the semifinals and four straight playoff appearances in which they lost to the eventual state champion, the Pioneers finally hoisted the state title trophy with a 62-27 win over Broadview-Lavina in Big Sandy Nov. 19. The win capped a perfect 13-0 season for the Pioneers, who were led by head coach Larry Jappe and a deep and talented roster. The Pioneers also won the Six-Man North title for the seventh straight season.

3. Northern football hires Jerome Souers

2022 started with a splash for the struggling MSU-Northern football program. On Jan. 14, Northern introduced former Northern Arizona head coach Jerome Souers as the new head man of the Lights. At NAU, Souers won more Big Sky Conference games than any coach in history, and was a former defensive coordinator at the University of Montana. Souers also assembled a talented staff of outstanding coaches, and while the Lights struggled on the field in the fall, going 0-10, Souers, who replaced Andrew Rolin after four seasons, intends to fully change the culture and trajectory of MSU-N football.

4. Pony spikers have an incredible season

For the second year in a row, the Havre High volleyball team played for the Class A state championship. And though the Ponies again fell just short against Billings Central, 2022 capped off an amazing two-year run for the Ponies, of head coach Steph Huse. Havre went undefeated in the Northeast A and in the regular season, placed second at the Eastern A after coming all the way back in the loser-out bracket, then won an incredible four matches in a row at the state tourney in Bozeman to force a decisive final match against the Rams. Ponies Molly Huse, Yelena Miller and Avery Carlson would go on to be All-State selections as well in what was a memorable year on the volleyball court.

5. Thivierge 3-peats, Ponies get second

Havre High senior Orion Thiverge asserted his dominance in the 2021-22 wrestling season. A 39-1 overall record culminated with a third-straight state championship when he pinned Sidney's Grady Nelson in the first period of the 170-pound championship match at the Metra in Billings back in February. It was Thivierge's third straight Class A state championship, and it also helped vault the Ponies to a second-place trophy as Havre placed 11 wrestlers and scored 147.5 points.

6. Box Elder girls come so close

It was nearly a third state championship in the last five years for the Box Elder girls basketball team. If not for a dominant season by the Roy-Winifred Outlaws. After winning the District 9C championship the Bears lost to the Outlaws in the Northern C chipper in Great Falls in February, and the State C chipper in March, also in Great Falls. Still, it was an amazing journey for the Bears who went 23-2 overall under head coach Joel Rosette.

7. Isaac Bartel is a 5X All-American, Lights finish sixth

His bid to win a second straight NAIA national championship came up one win short. But, in March, MSU-Northern's Isaac Bartel became the first five-time NAIA All-American in wrestling when he finished second at 197 pounds. Bartel wrapped up an incredible run for the Lights in which he placed third in 2018, second in 2019 and 2020, won the national title in 2021 and second in 2022. Northern would also see former Havre Blue Pony Martin Wilkie place second at nationals and finish sixth overall.

8. Pony boys earn another state tennis trophy

The Havre High boys didn't quite repeat as state tennis champs back in May in Bozeman, but they sure did come close. Behind a second-place finish from Josh Currie in singles for the second year in a row, and an excellent effort from the doubles teams of Trenton Maloughney and Caleb Spangler and Theron Peterson and Carter Spangler Havre finished one point behind co-state champions Whitefish and Billings Central. It was the HHS boys 16th state trophy since 2000.

9. A great run by the Havre Northstars

After hosting the Class A state tournament in 2021, the Havre Northstars got back to state this past summer. After finishing second at the Northern District Tournament, which was played at Legion Field in July, the Northstars won twice in the loser-out bracket, falling to eventual state champion Butte at the State A Tournament in Belgrade back in August. Havre finished fourth at state and capped a great season in which head coach Patch Wirtzberger's club made it to state for the third summer in a row.

10. Ponies win first softball title

The Havre High softball team finally got the divisional title they had been chasing for so long. Back in May in Miles City, the Blue Ponies shut out Lewistown 4-0 to win the program's first divisional championship. Under the direction of head coach Tony Vigliotti, Havre's historic title also catapulted them to the Class A state tournament for yet another season, while seven Ponies went on to be named All-Conference, and Molly Huse, Avery Carlson, Alyssa Oliver and Lizzi Haney were named Class A All-State.

Honorable Mention: Chinook's Tyler Schoen wins B-C state wrestling title; Havre's Shea Reber is All-State in golf; Havre's Caleb Tomac All-State in cross country; Five area teams make MHSA football playoffs; Harlem boys and girls make it to Class B state basketball tournament; Chinook volleyball wins 7C title advances to state; Havre's Parker Filius advances to NCAA wrestling tournament for third time; Fort Benton's Cloe Kalanick wins Class C discus state title; Pony boys make it to State A hoops.


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