BILLINGS — When trying to quantify a year's worth of accomplishments, you quickly realize how difficult it is to do. So we've done our best as we looked back at the past academic year to determine which high school did the most.
After assigning points to each team trophy handed out by the MHSA, Bozeman earned the 406mtsports.com School of the Year honors for the second year in a row by accumulating 34 points. Missoula Hellgate was second with 20, Whitefish third with 19, Billings Central fourth with 17 and Billings West's 16 rounded out the top five.
We awarded three points for first-place finishes, two for second-place and one for third-place. In cases where only semifinals are played with no true third and fourth place decision, both schools who failed to advance further were awarded one point. And in the case of co-ops who scored, those points were awarded to each school comprising the co-op.
The Hawks scored in 14 of the total 18 sports offered by the MHSA and took top honors in almost half of the sports as they racked up points all year long. Anchored by wins in boys and girls golf, boys cross country, boys soccer, wrestling, boys basketball, girls tennis and girls track and field, the Hawks also were runners-up in girls cross country, volleyball and both boys and girls swimming. They rounded out the trophy haul with a third-place trophy in boys tennis and a semifinal appearance in football.
Missoula Hellgate was second in the tally with 20 points thanks in large part to a trio of wins in girls cross country, and both boys and girls swimming. They complimented that with five runner-up finishes and a surprise third-place trophy in girls basketball to give them a one-point edge over our third-place school.
In the final two days of the 2018-19 school year, Class A Whitefish made an 8-point jump to launch the Bulldogs from finishing in what would have been 10th place all the way up to third with a total of 19 points. A win at home in boys soccer started their state championship run for the year, followed in the winter by girls swimming and capped off on the final weekend by standing atop the podium of girls tennis and girls track and field. They also got runner-up finishes in girls golf, girls cross country, boys tennis and a third-place finish in girls soccer.
Billings Central started their year with a trio of fall championships in girls soccer, volleyball and football. Wins in boys basketball and a share of the title in boys swimming in the winter continued the Rams' momentum. Girls swimming finished runner-up to push their final tally to 17 points.
Rounding out the top five with 16 points is Billings West. Their win in football bolstered runner-up finishes in girls golf, girls basketball, both boys and girls track and field and third-place trophies in boys golf, girls soccer, volleyball, boys basketball and softball.
Making the top 10 places were Missoula Loyola (15), Hardin (13), Laurel (13), Huntley Project (12), Manhattan Christian (12), Missoula Sentinel (10) and Bigfork (9).