Calvin Becker

Calvin Becker, a fourth-grader at Rossiter Elementary School in Helena, is the 2019 Elks Hoop Shoot State champion in the boys 8-9 division.

HELENA — More bowling news on Sidelines this week, folks, as well as a national college wrestler and a state champion Elks free-throw shooter.

Brady Kirkeby was the highest local finisher at the 2019 annual Miller’s Masters Bowling Tournament at Sleeping Giant Lanes recently. Kirkeby placed fifth in the tourney, which consisted of a field of 104 of the state’s top bowlers.

He averaged about 200 for the 19 games he bowled during the two-day event with a high of 258, while collecting $745 prize money.

Kirkeby holds the unique distinction of bowling six perfect 300 games and acing eight hole-in-ones on the golf course during his career, which is believed to be a state record for those two achievements combined.

Josh Link of Billings garnered the Miller's championship, defeating Anaconda’s Brian Robbins in the step ladder finals, 247-223. Link pocketed $1,400 for the victory, while Robbins earned the runner-up prize of $1,200. TJ Calara (Canada) and Jason Like (Billings) placed third and fourth.

Another Helena kegler claiming a top-10 showing was Tom Scrozyk, who placed sixth.

At February’s Junior City Bowling Tournament at SGL, in the A Division, the Pocket Pounders (Hailey Hess, Taylor Hess, Kaiden Hess, Evan Hines) won the team championship, while Bryan Platts/Kade Smith captured the doubles title.

Hailey Hess garnered the singles crown and the girls scratch all events, and Caylor Cox won the boys scratch all events. Kade Smith claimed the boys handicap all events, while Lily Caldwell won the girls handicap all events.

In the Junior B Division, the Sparks (Josclyn Hess, Shijia Sullivan, Kaiya Anderson, Kayden Humphries) earned the team crown, and Kade Smith/Wyatt Bernhardt garnered the doubles title.

Bernhardt won the singles championship, while Cadin Tate captured the boys handicap all events, and Sarah Morand claimed the girls handicap all events. The boys scratch all events championship was earned by Jacob Balcerzak, with Haylee McNurlin garnering the girls scratch all events.

Kaiden Hess fired a 300 for the tourney’s high game, becoming the fifth Helena junior bowler to shoot a perfecto, along with Doug Prewett, Caylor Cox (4 times), Mari Pizinni and MacKenzie Mosness.

Calvin Becker, representing the Helena Elks Lodge No. 193, recently captured the State championship at the Elks National Hoop Shoot in Livingston. Becker, a Rossiter School fourth-grader competing in the Boys 8-9 age group, sank 19 of 25 free throws to win his division against four others.  

The victory qualifies Becker for the regional competition in Rapid City, South Dakota, on Saturday.

Boulder’s Parker and Brianna Layng also competed at the State Competition, finishing second and fourth in their divisions, respectively.

Becker plays for the H-Town SuperSonics traveling basketball team. They garnered the Anaconda Slammer Tournament in December, and were 18-3 prior to the latest Swish Tournament. For the Hoop-shoot contests, he did not practice any free throws before the local, district, or state competitions. But he does attend basketball practice four times a week.

His PR for consecutive free throws in a competition is 14 in a row. Nicknamed “Little Beast,” his favorite subject in school is science.  

Becker, who has been playing hoops since kindergarten, said that he has “learned the most about the game of basketball from my dad,” but his coach Mike Campbell deserves credit, as well.

If Becker can win regionals, the next step is the national finals in Chicago in April.

MSU-Northern wrestler Nick Kunz completed his sophomore season for the Lights, going 1-2 at the NAIA National Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, recently. Competing in the 125-pound class at nationals, Kunz lost to Trevor Murano (Grand View) by pin, decisioned Mharr Caballa (Eastern Oregon) 4-2, and was edged by Keegan Hessler (Morningside) 4-3.

Kunz, Capital High’s (2013-17) all-time winningest wrestler with 122 career prep victories, finishes the season with a record of 33-15, with 21 pins.

Curt Synness can be reached at 594-2878 or email He’s also on Twitter @curtsynness_IR

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