Up next - winter sports

Doreen Heintz
Sports Editor

With the conclusion of the All-Class State Volleyball Tournament in Bozeman on Saturday, the fall sports season has come to a conclusion for me. All that remains to be crowned are the five state champions in football. With none of our local teams involved in one of the football state championships, it is time to look forward to the winter sports seasons. In case you do not know, practices begin tomorrow (Thursday) for girls’ and boys’ basketball and wrestling.
The Fergus wrestling team will have its first competition of the season on Dec. 2 and 3 at the Havre Invitational. Basketball will not get underway for area teams until the following weekend. The Fergus varsity boys’ team travels this year to Havre for a Tip-Off Tournament, while the varsity girls’ team will compete in a Tip-Off Tournament in Sidney on Dec. 9 and 10.
Fergus High School, with  Athletic Director Jim Daniels in charge, will be hosting, for the second consecutive year, the Holiday Showcase Tournament for both boys’ and girls’ basketball. The Showcase Tournament, which includes a number of Class C teams from throughout the state, along with the Fergus JV and freshman teams, begins on Thursday, Dec. 8. Games on Thursday begin at 1 p.m. Games on Friday start at 8:30 a.m. and on Saturday at 8 a.m.  Local teams competing at the tournament include Roy-Winifred, Denton-Geyser-Stanford, and Tri-City. We will publish a full tournament schedule once we get closer to tournament time.
It takes a number of people to help with this size of tournament. If you can help in any way, please contact Daniels at Fergus High School, 535-2321.

MHSA looks at revising enrollment ranges for reclassifying schools
At the Sept. 12 meeting of the Montana High School Association Executive Board, the Board preliminarily approved reclassifying MHSA football divisions and revising enrollment ranges used to reclassifying schools. Final action on the proposed revisions will take place on Nov. 21-22 during the next regularly scheduled executive board meeting.
I do not know specific numbers for reclassification. The Executive Board will make its decision after it has received input on the changes from member schools.

Volleyball state tournament not kind to area teams
Competing at the state tournament in the MSU Fieldhouse in Bozeman is never very kind for teams which have never been there. Although both Tri-City and Fergus were at the state tournament two years ago, many players on both teams have not played in the type of atmosphere seen at state. Most teams have played in an invitational tournament where two matches are going on side-by-side, but never four matches going on at once.
Personally, I have never liked having an all-class state tournament for volleyball. First of all, I think having all four classifications at one site takes away from the atmosphere of playing at your own state tournament. I know many people enjoy watching eight teams playing at once, but I am not one of them. I remember attending a couple of Class C State Volleyball Tournaments here in Lewistown – now that is truly a tournament experience.
One rationale for having a four-classification state tournament is the MHSA does the same thing for wrestling. But I think wrestlers are more acclimated to having lots of matches going on a once, because it happens at most invitational tournaments throughout the season.
Monday I did an interview with the Belt volleyball coach for the Judith Basin Press. Belt has been to state several times over the past few years. Coach Christine Gonderio agreed it is very difficult for first-time teams to play well at state. Gonderio said it is hard to explain, but she said the floor is different, the lighting is different and the atmosphere is way different. She added many teams are awestruck when walking into the Fieldhouse.
I know the format will never change because there are a lot of people who enjoy the atmosphere at the Fieldhouse. I just don’t happen to be one of them.


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