Anaconda native to compete at NCAA West Regional

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Jacqueline Verlanic will compete in the NCAA West Regional Track and Field Championships starting Thursday, May 25, 2017 in Austin, Texas. PHOTO COURTESY MSU SPORTS INFORMATION

By BLAKE HEMPSTEAD

When Jacqueline Verlanic walked off the turf at Van Winkle Stadium in Bozeman her senior year, she knew she had not fulfilled her goals as a prep track and field standout for the Copperheads. Little did she know that coming up short of winning a state championship would lead her to places someone in her shoes has never been before.

Verlanic was an approachable yet shy student-athlete whom everyone enjoyed. Her senior year she was selected as captain of her volleyball, basketball and track and field teams, and her teachers and the administration of Anaconda High school would echo the sentiment of Verlanic being the definition of a stellar student-athlete.

But even though her accomplishments were too big to ignore, she felt a competitive hole inside. Verlanic was attending Montana State University in the fall to chase a degree in elementary education, but she also had visions of continuing her athletic career as well.

“When I walked on to the track team, my coach really liked to train people to be hammer throwers and wants everyone to try it,” Verlanic said. “After a little bit, he thought that would be my best option because of my size.”

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Being short in stature – Verlanic stands just 5-foot-7 – never stopped this multi-sport athlete as a prep. She was a four-year letter-winner at Anaconda High in track and field, volleyball and basketball. Although she didn’t receive an athletic scholarship to continue her throwing career in college, she enrolled and walked on to the track and field program to see if she could prove the doubters wrong.

There was never a doubt of Verlanic choosing MSU, you can say Bobcat blood runs rampant through her body. Her father, Ken, was a member of the 1976 football National Championship team while her brother, Jimmy, walked-on and became a captain and starting center for the Bobcats. She also had an uncle, Mike Tocher, and cousins Andrew and Connor Verlanic, all play football for the Blue and Gold.

Her brothers’ success as a walk-on definitely inspired her to chase greatness, no matter how big or small the obstacle. In the Verlanic household, whether it was at her home in Anaconda or on the family ranch near Drummond, nothing short of your best would do.

“We learned from an early age how to work hard,” Verlanic said. “It led me here where my coach gave me an opportunity and I took advantage of it. And I’ve been enjoying every minute of it.”

Mike Carignan, who has been with Montana State as an assistant from 1977-1984 and from 1989 until now as coach in a multitude of events, specializes in the throwing sports for both men and women. Through all his time – he’s coached 21 conference shot put champions and 53 individuals in Big Sky championship meets – he considers Verlanic one of the best students and workers he’s ever coached.

“She had to come a long way, but I knew with her family lineage that she had the will and determination to succeed,” Carignan said. “She didn’t come by all of this naturally, she had some real difficult marks to exceed. Had she not done that early in her training, I would have cut her.”

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This photo was taken during Verlanic’s senior year at AHS. She still hates it.

Verlanic began as a redshirt in 2013 and full member of the team in 2014. As her indoor weight throw and outdoor hammer form began to take shape, her progress was unmistakable. She began placing in events and as a junior, threw a personal-best 179-06 during the season catapulting her to a fifth-place finish at the Big Sky Championships throwing 175-11.

This season, Verlanic continued her climb to the top. She is now ranked 10th all time at MSU in the weight throw (57-5.5) and after unleashing a personal-best of 194-04, the former walk-on now sits in fourth all-time at MSU in the hammer throw.

Two weeks ago, she parlayed her success into All-Big Sky status by placing third at the conference championships at Sacramento State and now will compete starting Thursday, May 25 at the NCAA West Regional, where only 48 hammer throwers out of the region were invited to participate.

And it’s not just the coaching staff that continues to sound off on the impact Verlanic has had on her team and the university. Long time sports information director William Lamberty said “she’s a great kid, and one of my favorites, same as Jimmy was.”

When posed the question, how does it feel to know you and your brother, forgotten by many after your prep days, have made such a positive impact on that campus, Verlanic was humble but appreciative.

“It makes me feel special, it makes me believe I’ve been doing the right things these past five years and now it’s all finally paying off,” she said.

Verlanic admittedly didn’t perform her best when she had a chance to win a state title in the shot and discus during her junior and senior years. She also says those disappointments have fueled her for this newest challenge – one that developed her into an All Big Sky Conference athlete.

“I definitely would say I choked at state a few times, but I think when I came to college I was mentally stronger because of those disappointments,” Verlanic said.

Carignan didn’t see fragility in Verlanic. He knew he was getting a raw athlete, but he also knew the work ethic from knowing the family lineage.

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Verlanic during a recent event. PHOTO COURTESY MSU SPORTS INFORMATION

“She didn’t know how to not work hard,” Carignan said. “She was open to everything. Sure, I had doubts, but she wasn’t going to fail because of a lack of effort.”

Seeing the intimate beauty of the event – one he waxes poetically about because of its unconventional nature, Carignan is almost Zen-like when describing the mesmerizing event.

“Balance, rhythm, relaxation and confidence is required to become a successful thrower,” Carignan said. “In actuality, the less you do, the farther it goes. It’s a tug of war and you’re the anchor. I’d say one of 10 people are appropriate for learning how to throw the hammer.”

Carignan equates the disposition and coachability of Verlanic as being the main reason she’s become so accomplished in the event.

“It’s a strong instinct to turn your body sideways and pull hard on it, but that doesn’t work,” he said. “She had the wherewithal to be that anchor, someone who could sit back against something and believe it’s going to create more force than pulling on it sideways. What’s odd is you’re actually pushing it and a good thrower can keep the ball in front of you the entire time. Mathematically, in terms of physics, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense because the resistance increases from nine pounds to upwards of 200-300 pounds.”

After a career filled with hope and dreams, Verlanic will now compete against the best 48 hammer throwers in the West. She is in Flight 1 and set to throw at 11 a.m.

Early odds are to count the former Copperhead out as she attempts to place in the top-12 and earn an invitation to the NCAA Track and Field Championships June 7-10 at legendary Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Then again, that would just be playing into her favor.

She’s crushed the odds her entire life.

Verlanic is the daughter of Ken and Teresa Verlanic.

 

Follow the event live here: http://www.texassports.com/news/2017/3/16/track-field-cross-country-2017-ncaa-division-i-track-and-field-west-preliminary-round-headquarters.aspx

Lady Griz fall short, finish season with 65-62 loss

Trailing by 16 early in the fourth quarter, a potential epic comeback by Montana came up one play short, and the Lady Griz ended their season with a 65-62 loss to North Dakota Wednesday at the Reno Events Center in the quarterfinals of the Big Sky Conference women’s basketball tournament.

Montana (20-11) trailed 30-28 at the break but missed 14 of its first 15 shots to start the second half, and that allowed North Dakota to steadily build what felt like an insurmountable lead. The Fighting Hawks (18-12) went up 56-40 on Makailah Dyer’s 3-pointer with 7:56 left.

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Mia Estes follows in her family’s footsteps, but leaves her own mark

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Mia Estes throws the javelin at Utah State during the 2015 spring season. PHOTO COURTESY UTAH STATE SPORTS INFORMATION

BY JACKSON WAGNER
for kana580.com

Enter the hallways of the Memorial Gymnasium in Anaconda and you are instantly submerged into a history lesson. The hallway inside the front doors is home to all of Anaconda’s achievements in sport, with trophies over a century old peering at you from behind glass.

Make a right turn, and you start to see pictures of Anaconda’s best. The individuals lucky enough to have earned their place in history as State Champions get their own case. If you look hard enough, something becomes immediately clear: the Estes family stands above all in Anaconda.

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Ellis is Ellis again

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Through the smokey haze blanketing Washington Grizzly Stadium, Ellis Henderson was one of the go-to guys for quarterback Brady Gustafson. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CSPHOTO

BY JACKSON WAGNER
Montana Sports Information

In his post game press conference, North Dakota State head coach Chris Klieman said that the group of receivers from Montana is probably the best corps they will face all season.

Montana fans will most likely agree.

One of those star wide outs flying around the field was No. 7 Ellis Henderson, and the sight of his jersey brought Grizzly fans fond memories.

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Griz open Stitt era with memorable win

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Whitefish native Derek Crittenden leads the Griz onto the field at Washington Grizzly Stadium for the FCS Kickoff on ESPN Saturday. The Griz beat four-time defending FCS National Champion North Dakota State 38-35 in front of a stadium record 26,472. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO

 

To the disbelief of a record crowd, the gambler played it safe. And the end result was a memorable start to the Bob Stitt era at Montana.

 

Joey Counts scored on a 1-yard run off left tackle on fourth down with two seconds remaining to rally Montana to a 38-35 victory over four-time defending national champion North Dakota State Saturday at Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula.

 

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PRIME TIME: Anaconda native parlays standout athletic background into network broadcasting career

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Anaconda native Jill Montgomery has emerged as one of ESPNs most coveted sideline reporters, especially as an experienced track and field authority. COURTESY PHOTO

BY BLAKE HEMPSTEAD

From small town Montana to what those in the industry call “the Mother Ship”, Jill Montgomery is quickly and consistently making a name for herself on the biggest of stages.

A self-proclaimed hometown girl who grew up in Anaconda, Montgomery has clawed her way to the top. Currently an employee of ESPN, Montgomery is the leading on-field reporter for the network’s track and field coverage. And although she won’t accept the praise, her knowledge and insider access earned from years competing in and studying the beat is making Montgomery the go-to source for collegiate, Team USA and professional track and field athletes.

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Anaconda native Brooke Chapman to play in NCAA Div III World Series

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Former Copperhead All State pitcher Brooke Chapman delivers a pitch during Saturday’s series-clinching win over Central College of Iowa. PHOTO COURTESY LINFIELD COLLEGE SPORTS INFORMATION

 

PELLA, Iowa — Anaconda native Brooke Chapman is going dancin’.

A sophomore pitcher with Linfield College (Oregon), Chapman came on in relief in the deciding game help the Wildcats to a NCAA Div. III World Series-clinching win over Central College of Iowa. With the two-game Super Regional win, Linfield advanced to the NCAA National Tournament in Salem, Va., May 21-26.

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Krumm named to NAIA All America volleyball team

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Anaconda’s Korey Krumm was named to the NAIA All America Honorable Mention team Monday. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced the 2014 Tachikara-NAIA Volleyball All-America Teams today. Montana Tech’s Korey Krumm was selected Honorable Mention and is one of three Frontier Conference players to make the list.

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Anaconda’s Korey Krumm, Tech bows out in Frontier semis

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Anaconda’s Korey Krumm attempts to tip a loose ball opposite handed around the block of Rocky’s Yang Yang and Mariah Stiffarm during Saturday’s Frontier Conference semifinal at Tech’s HPER Complex. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO

BUTTE — Anaconda native Korey Krumm wore her emotions front and center when the final point was scored against her and the Montana Tech Lady Orediggers’ volleyball team, effectively ending their season and her career on the volleyball court.

Tech fought valiantly but fell 25-10, 25-19, 22-25, 25-21 to the No. 1 NAIA nationally-ranked Battlin’ Bears Saturday afternoon in the semifinals of the Frontier Conference volleyball tournament on Kelvin Sampson Court in the HPER Complex. In the loss Tech became only the third team in the league able to take a game off Rocky this season.

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Korey Krumm career totals at Tech 2011-14

Krumm came to Tech recruited by Marilyn Tobin in 2010 and redshirted her freshman year. Undersized at 5-foot-7, Tobin recognized Krumm’s ability to get off the floor and away from the net in a hurry. Going against the norm, Krumm would start to raise eyebrows at middle blocker — a position usually dominated by size — with her athletic ability. When current head coach Brian Solomon took over in 2013, he saw no reason to change that position.

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Krumm wins a joust at the net Saturday against Rocky’s 6-foot middle Crystal Schmidt. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO

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Krumm, right, and setter Makenzie Bauck put up the block on Rocky’s 6-foot-2 outside hitter Ahlea Billis. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO

Coming into her recruitment at Tech, Krumm was the all-time leader in kills for the Copperheads, amassing a school record 842 as a four-year varsity letter winner, an amazing 201 kills clear of second place. In 2008, she set the season-high record of 396 as well. But it was hardly all she was about in high school. A three-sport athlete, Krumm helped the Copperheads to four of seven-straight Southwestern A Conference basketball crowns including two Class A state titles in 2008 and ’09.

It’s been said by many Krumm learned to play against bigger and stronger opponents while on the basketball court as she was always matched up against posts and power forwards with her back to the basket. Despite her size, Krumm developed a keen sense for the bounce of the ball. And her speed and footwork, the most overlooked of all, always frustrated the opposition.

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Korey Krumm hits around the block of Rocky’s Yang Yang. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO

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Krumm (8) celebrates with her teammates after knocking off Rocky 25-22 in Game 3 Saturday afternoon in the Frontier Conference semis. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO

What many don’t know about Krumm is her work ethic was second to none. Being 5-foot-7 and never losing a starting spot from her sophomore year on requires a ridiculous amount of dedication. Krumm finished with three-straight Frontier Conference First Team awards and some conversation about All America honors being that she currently is ranked No. 4 in hitting percentage in the NAIA.

So not only is Anaconda’s Korey Krumm undoubtedly one of the greatest volleyball players ever to hail from the Smelter City — in the conversation with Stacie (Welch) Connors who is the only former Copperhead to play for a Division I volleyball school (Montana State) — her name could also be kicked around with the likes of Torry Hill, Ali Hurley and Kim Sullivan, among others, as one of the all time best girls’ athletes in the school as well.

Even if she doesn’t reach her goal of being on or near that All America team, Krumm has cemented her legacy in the annals of Anaconda High history. I wish the school were into retiring jerseys because there’s no reason for her prep No. 21 to no longer be in circulation.

Korey is the daughter of Tom and Jeanne Krumm of Anaconda.

Former Copperhead to play her final home match at Tech Saturday afternoon

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Anaconda’s Korey Krumm records a kill through the double block against Carroll College on Oct. 30 at the HPER Complex. She will wrap up her career at home Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. versus the No. 1-ranked team in the country in Rocky Mountain College. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO

BY BLAKE HEMPSTEAD

The all-time leading assassin in Copperhead volleyball will have her final hurrah in front of home family, friends and fans Saturday afternoon when the Orediggers take on Rocky Mountain College, the No. 1 NAIA team in the country. Game time is slated for 2 p.m. with Senior Day slated for a 1:30 p.m. start.

Krumm is the all-time leader in kills for the Copperheads, amassing a school record 842 as a four-year varsity letter winner, an amazing 201 kills clear of second place. In 2008, she set the season-high record of 396 as well.

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Krumm with one of her team- and match-high 14 kills against Carroll. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO

At Tech, she’s continued to impress. Although this year her kills totals are behind other seasons in 2014, so are her errors and attacks. As a redshirt sophomore in 2012, Krumm had a career high 317 kills on 728 attack with 84 errors. This year, she has almost half of the attacks and a fourth of the errors despite continuing to rack up the kills. Comparing the two seasons, her kills/game have went down .83, but her total attacks/game have diminished by twice as much.

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Krumm’s career stats leading up to Saturday’s match vs. Rocky.

In layman’s terms what all the numbers mean is despite getting set less, Krumm continues to put up quality numbers for her middle blocker position. This year, she has a .409 attack percentage, which would lead the Frontier Conference if not for failing to qualify due to the frequency of sets (stats require 66 percent of teams offense to be considered).

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Wearing her heart on her sleeve, Krumm celebrates after a stuff block against Westminster. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO

What’s more remarkable is how Krumm, a nursing major at Montana Tech, manages to accomplish such accolades.  The official program recognizes her at 5-foot-9 and playing middle blocker at this level is amazing in itself, however when she’s actually more like 5-7 makes it that much more impressive. Athletically, no middle in the Frontier, or maybe the country, can match her ability to get off the ground.

Taking into account every middle blocker in the Frontier, starter or reserve, Krumm is the smallest in terms of height. Actually she’s the shortest front line player with significant statistical data as well, and would be at the bottom half of the Frontier at setter if she were to use her hight as a measurable. With 31 players recognized as Middle Hitter or Middle Blocker, depending on the offense or how a coach lists the player, the average height of the position is 72.4 inches tall, or a little taller than 6-foot. But when you look at the rosters that have playing time associated with the position, there’s nobody less than 6-1 or 6-2 that’s an impact player.

Unless your name is Korey Krumm.

Krumm has made the most of her lack of height by working to improve her amazing jumping ability, and the frequency she can repeat it. Being a middle at the collegiate level mean covering inside leverage of a double block on either side of the net or protecting the heart of the defense — and they need to do so knowing that most of the offense won’t be geared towards them. And yet, she continues to be an impact.

ON A PERSONAL NOTE

I’ve loved Korey’s passion for the game since she was a freshman in high school playing under then head coach Joe Mehrens. She’s always raised eyebrows, (mostly for those awkwardly huge feet!) but she’s done it being as humble and modest as possible. Being on a losing team, albeit in a brutally tough Frontier Conference, has been trying, but Krumm remains upbeat. Seeing Korey question her ability through her senior season has been tough as the losses have piled up, but it’s been a pleasure watching “the midget in the middle” play every match. Korey is one of the greatest women’s athletes to ever come out of Anaconda, just imagine if her heart and athletic ability was surrounded by a 6-foot frame. She leads her team in hitting percentage and is second in total points scored and third in points/game. Luckily, we don’t have to wonder what could have been with Korey, she’s been THAT good. She’s approachable and fun, and what you see with Korey is what you get — including the trucker vocabulary! Anaconda is lucky to have such a positive role model for young girls and I can only hope my own daughter will wear the Nos. 21 or 8 and go about balancing the sometimes hectic life a student athlete has to lead exactly how Korey has done it.

Throwing it back, here’s the last time she was a senior. Hopefully everyone enjoys the trip down memory lane as much as I do. Remember, Anaconda took second place that season, falling to Billings Central (the only two losses they recorded that season) at the 2009 State tournament.

Congratulations on the great career Korey and thanks for remembering your roots through it all. Copperhead Pride never meant so much!

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2009 seniors Jordan Allen, left, Kelsey Austin, Chelsea Galle, Korey Krumm, Torry Hill and Lisa Laslovich. PHOTO COPYRIGHT CS PHOTO

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Krumm with a kill against Billings Central at the State A tournament.