A year’s worth of highlights

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  • The Bulldogs hoist their second straight trophy after their 4-0 state title win over Laurel . (Daniel McKay/Whitefish Pilot)

  • 1

    Gracie Smyley fires the ball en route to a divisional title during the Western A Divisional Tournament last week at Flathead Valley Community College. (Daniel McKay/Whitefish Pilot)

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    The Whitefish Bulldog girls tennis team takes a victory lap on a Whitefish Fire Department truck to celebrate their Class A state title. (Heidi Desch/Whitefish Pilot)

  • 3

    The Lady Bulldog track and field team takes its celebratory firetruck ride downtown after winning the Class A State Title last weekend. (Daniel McKay/Whitefish Pilot)

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    Mikenna Ells turns the corner in the 400 meter dash during a home dual against Flathead last week. (Daniel McKay/Whtiefish Pilot)

  • 5

    Cameron Kahle reacts after sinking an eagle putt to force a sudden-death playoff at the Class A State Golf Tournament on Friday in Laurel. (Jeff Doorn photo)

  • 6

    Whitefish’s Cameron Kahle and Ella Shaw were both individual champions at the Western A Divisional Golf Tournament. (Jeff Doorn photo)

  • The Bulldogs hoist their second straight trophy after their 4-0 state title win over Laurel . (Daniel McKay/Whitefish Pilot)

  • 1

    Gracie Smyley fires the ball en route to a divisional title during the Western A Divisional Tournament last week at Flathead Valley Community College. (Daniel McKay/Whitefish Pilot)

  • 2

    The Whitefish Bulldog girls tennis team takes a victory lap on a Whitefish Fire Department truck to celebrate their Class A state title. (Heidi Desch/Whitefish Pilot)

  • 3

    The Lady Bulldog track and field team takes its celebratory firetruck ride downtown after winning the Class A State Title last weekend. (Daniel McKay/Whitefish Pilot)

  • 4

    Mikenna Ells turns the corner in the 400 meter dash during a home dual against Flathead last week. (Daniel McKay/Whtiefish Pilot)

  • 5

    Cameron Kahle reacts after sinking an eagle putt to force a sudden-death playoff at the Class A State Golf Tournament on Friday in Laurel. (Jeff Doorn photo)

  • 6

    Whitefish’s Cameron Kahle and Ella Shaw were both individual champions at the Western A Divisional Golf Tournament. (Jeff Doorn photo)

The year 2019 was one of state titles, scoring errors and plans for a new sports facility for Whitefish.

Here’s a look back on what went down in the past 12 months.

All-Sports Champions

Whitefish High School in June was named Class A All-Sports Champions for the 2018-19 school year after the girls track and tennis teams capped off the spring season with state titles.

The all-sports champions are determined by MontanaSports.com and calculated by adding team finishes in each sport throughout the season, with 10 points for first, seven for second, and on until one point for an eighth place finish.

Whitefish ended the season ahead of Billings Central by 11.5 points.

Along with girls track and tennis, the Dogs also won boys soccer and girls swimming titles.

Soccer repeat

The boys soccer team followed up 2018’s state championship with a second straight state title in 2019, finishing another season undefeated.

The Bulldogs took down Livingston-Park 4-0 in the title match down in Livingston in November, again cementing their status as the best boys soccer team in Class A.

Along the way, the team scored 102 goals in the season and notched four games of double-digit scoring totals.

Seniors on the team include Casey Schneider, Sam Menicke, Ian Lacey, Bradlee Anderson, Kaden de Yong, Joseph Houston, Colter Upton and Jevien Pemberton. The team also totaled seven All-State selections.

Golf

The golf team also had a strong season, coming out with the boys individual champion and a girls second place team finish at state.

Kahle won a thrilling three-hole playoff against Laurel’s Carson Hackman after forcing the extra holes with a birdie and an eagle on No. 17 and 18.

Kahle kept his cool and nailed par on every hole for the championship.

“I told him on the tee, ‘Just put a good swing on it and put it in the fairway and let’s see what happens.’ And he did,” coach Bill Kahle, Cameron’s father, said. “It was absolutely spectacular.”

On the girls side, Megan Archibald tied for 11th overall, while Ella Shaw took 17th, Kendall Reed 18th and Anyah Cripe 20th. As a team, the girls took second behind Laurel.

Champions

The Whitefish Lady Bulldogs left their mark on 2019.

In February, the swim team capped off their season with a thrilling state title in Bozeman, just beating out Billings Central 91-88 in scoring.

Whitefish was led by a first and second by Helena Kunz and Nia Hanson in the 200 freestyle and Ada Qunell’s first in the 200 intermediate medley and 100 butterfly. Then Annie Sullivan and Hanson added another first and second in the 500 freestyle, Sullivan took first in the 100 breaststroke and Lauren York took third in the same race.

The 400 freestyle relay team finished things off for the team.

A few months later, the track and field and tennis teams got their own moments.

In tennis, the Lady Dogs took the overall team title as well as singles and doubles champions.

Gracie Smyley finished her undefeated season as overall singles champion by taking down Livingston’s Bobbi Limi, and Olivia Potthoff and Aubrey Hanks took first over a Polson duo.

Then the Lady Dogs track and field team got their first championship in 35 years with winners in the 400 meter dash and the 4x100 and 4x400 relays.

Mikenna Ells won the 400, while Lauren Schulz finished off her great Bulldog career with a second in the 200, a second in the 400 and a fourth in the 100.

The season was likely the final for head coach Derek Schulz, who retired at the end of the school year after 24 years at the helm.

Speech

The speech team in the 2018-19 season had one of the stranger turn of events.

After battling with rival Columbia Falls all season long, Whitefish was named state champions in Belgrade in late January.

That was a huge upset — breaking a 13-season championship streak for the Wildcats.

The Bulldogs were elated, until a few days later.

The following week it was announced that the Dogs’ first place finish had been amended to second place due to a scoring error.

Three scoring errors were found, including two that would give two points to both teams as well as the missing three points that gave Columbia Falls the title.

Softball

Whitefish also lost a sport in 2019, as the district was forced to cancel the softball team’s season in late March after only six players came out for the team.

The team had just hired a new head coach, Hannah Pomeroy, and was looking to get out of a slump of consecutive losing seasons.

The team this year will look to get enough girls involved to field junior varsity team, and then hopefully in the future the program will expand.

Stadium

Talk of a new Bulldogs sports complex started in January, when the School Board approved fundraising efforts, and has evolved into actual design concepts for the future home of the Bulldogs.

With the help of CTA Architects, the stadium project has moved into its master planning and fundraising phases.

Early cost estimates put the stadium at about $6 million, though that number is subject to change based on design choices, and the project will be funded solely through private donations.

The stadium is proposed to be located on roughly 15 acres east of the high school where the track and football practice field currently sits, though the orientation and layout of that site could change dramatically.

The stadium will be the home for the football, soccer and track and field teams, and will also include facilities for wrestling and cheerleading.

The district so far has been working with CTA Architects, TDH Engineering and Tad Schulz, a private consultant, on the project.

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