BILLINGS — The secret is out.
Approximately a week and a half ago 10 Billings high school seniors were texted, informing them they were finalists for the prestigious male and female Midland Roundtable Athlete of the Year award. They were asked to not tell anybody but their parents.
The individuals would find out who the five girls and five boys finalists were at a media party at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center on Wednesday.
The five male finalists are: Nolan Askelson, football, Senior; Brock Bushfield, wrestling, football, Skyview; Charlie Klepps, wrestling, soccer, Senior; Joey Moore, golf, West and Gabe Sulser, football, track, Senior.
The five female finalists are: Courtney Bad Bear, volleyball, basketball, softball, Senior; Maddie Brockel, track, soccer, West; Catherine Follett, volleyball, tennis, West; Payton Meyer, softball, basketball, Senior and Raegan Steiner, volleyball, Senior.
"We ask them to keep it a secret," said Dana Bishop, a Midland Roundtable board member. "Don't tell boyfriends, girlfriends, friends, teachers, coaches, only their parents. It's fun, getting them together. They don't know who will be here. We don't tell them who the other finalists are.
"They have some thoughts, but they don't know. We don't tell them. We don't tell the coaches or ADs."
The boys and girls Midland Roundtable Athlete of the Year banquet is Wednesday, May 16, at 7 p.m. at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center. The male and female winner will be announced at that time. Tickets are $35 individually or $250 for a table of eight. Former Montana Lady Griz basketball coach Robin Selvig is the keynote speaker. For ticket information, contact Bishop at 406-690-2175.
Overall, Bishop said it's a solid group of finalists.
"We have some good athletes, absolutely, oh, yeah," he said. "There are always athletes left off the list who are deserving. We have to whittle it down and come down to five. It's hard to argue with our five. Who would you pull off?"
Bishop told those gathered at the media party that now that the secret is out, the athletes should start preparing a speech in case they win the award.
"It could be any one of them," Bishop said. "Be prepared and practice. You don't know. You just never know."
Last year's winners were Braydon Deming of West and Brittanee Fisher of Senior.