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MISSOULA — Hellgate High School is in the process of creating a Hall of Fame to highlight the top athletes, coaches, teams and sports contributors who’ve passed through the school over the previous 53 years.

“It’s a long time coming,” said former Hellgate track coach Ron Jones, who is on Hellgate's Hall of Fame Committee and is a 2019 Hall of Fame inductee for the National High School Athletic Coaches Association. “I think we’ve had some tremendous athletes and teams and some who went on to bigger things, and all these years they haven’t been recognized. I think it’s due that they come about as being part of Hellgate’s history.

“We’ve had Olympians, NFL players, CFL players, outstanding college players. They need to be recognized. So far, it hasn’t been done. It needs to be done, not just for Hellgate but for the community of Missoula so we’ll be able to say, ‘Look at these people who came through Hellgate.’”

Anyone can nominate a team or individual for induction into the inaugural class by submitting a nomination form before the end of March. Forms can be found in the high school’s main office or on Hellgate’s website. To be eligible, an athlete must have graduated at least 10 years ago, and coaches must have been at Hellgate for at least five years and must no longer be coaching.

The Hall of Fame Committee will review the submissions and will choose the class based on criteria they set. The committee consists of four former coaches — Jones, Eric Hays, Vicki Brown and Jim Kelly — an athletic trainer, one administrator and two teachers.

There is no size limit for the inaugural class. It’s expected that the group could be chosen by the start of the 2019 school year and that the inductees could be honored during the week of the homecoming football game, although those dates are still being discussed.

The Hall of Fame is a joint project between the newly created Hall of Fame Committee and the Hellgate High School Booster Club. The inkling of an idea began about two years ago when construction at the school forced the trophies spread around the school to be moved.

The school that is now Hellgate was created in 1908 as Missoula County High School. That school split into Hellgate and Sentinel, and Sentinel kept the Spartans name, trophies and athletics history, Jones said. Hellgate’s athletic days go back to the 1965-66 school year.

“There’s so many trophies throughout the years that a lot of students and staff don’t know what’s gone on with the history of Hellgate,” said Melissa Henthorn, a teacher on the Hall of Fame Committee. “What a perfect way to bring light to the athletic accomplishments and bring traditions from the past to the present.”

She added: “It’s something we need more of at Hellgate — bringing the past back and reconnecting people.”

The Hellgate High School Booster Club and Hall of Fame Committee are raising funds that’ll go toward the physical Hall of Fame, a touch-screen interactive display of Hellgate’s athletic accomplishments, plaques, certificates and the induction banquet. They’re hoping to get $40,000 through donations, which will be tax deductible, according to Henthorn.

Contributions sent by check (made out to HKBC/HOF) can be mailed to Hellgate Hall of Fame, Attn: Melissa Henthorn, 900 S. Higgins Ave., Missoula, MT 59801. A form to submit checks, cash or credit card donations can be found on Hellgate’s website.

Hellgate girls go for rare city sweep

Hellgate will try to pull off its first city sweep since 2003 when it hosts Sentinel in crosstown basketball action 7:15 p.m. Thursday.

The Knights own a pair of victories over Big Sky, 60-44 in December and 55-33 on Tuesday. They beat Sentinel for the first time since 2003 with a 40-31 road win in January.

“We got to come out and be ready to play,” Hellgate head coach Rob Henthorn said. “We got to put a full 32 minutes together because (Sentinel) coach (Karen) Deden is a good coach and will have her team ready to go.”

When Hellgate swept the city title in the 2002-03 season, it was the first year that girls basketball was moved to the winter from the fall. The Knights, who ended as the state runner-up under Wayne Beddow, beat Big Sky 58-41 and 67-21, and topped Sentinel 66-42 and 40-38 in overtime.

The Hellgate boys will go for their first city sweep since 2016. They beat Sentinel 47-43 and 56-45, and took down Hellgate 65-59 and 47-44 in overtime. This year, they beat Big Sky 69-35 and 80-31, and downed Sentinel 64-34.

Arlee’s Schall to play college football

Arlee senior Lane Schall signed on Tuesday to play football for the Minot State Beavers, a Division II program in Minot, North Dakota.

At 6-foot, 185 pounds, Schall is listed as an inside linebacker for Minot State. He earned all-state honors as a quarterback and defensive lineman as a senior. He was first-team all-conference as a quarterback and middle linebacker as a junior.

Schall is also a forward on the Arlee basketball team, which is the two-time defending Class C state champion. The Warriors begin postseason play at 17-1 overall and 12-0 in Western 14-C competition.

Loyola’s Lincoln reaches milestone

Loyola Sacred Heart senior Jack Lincoln reached the 1,000-point plateau for his career during the Rams’ win on Saturday.

Lincoln dropped a game-high 15 points in the Rams’ 63-45 win over Anaconda on Senior Night. He scored his 1,000th point on a free throw in the quarter and added one point in the fourth quarter to end the game with 1,001 career points.

The Rams start divisionals next week and are 15-3 overall, 8-0 in Western 6-B play. They missed out on the state tournament last season and didn’t place when they made it in 2016 and 2017.

Eureka’s Utter hits benchmark

Eureka senior Sienna Utter eclipsed 1,000 career points in the Lions’ victory on Monday.

Utter scored 31 points in the 62-12 win over Troy in a game that was rescheduled from Saturday. She finished the game with 1,005 points in her career.

The Lions begin divisionals next week. They are 13-3 overall, 6-0 in Western 7-B play as they try to qualify for state for the first time since 2006.

Frank Gogola covers Griz football and prep sports for the Missoulian. Follow him on Twitter @FrankGogola or email him at Frank.Gogola@406mtsports.com.

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