State B golf
Eaglerock Golf Course, Billings
2017 medalist: Ryggs Johnston (Libby)
2017 team champion: Missoula Loyola
Tee shot: Johnston won the Class A title in the fall after Libby was reclassified from Class B for the 2017-18 school year, so the top spot is open for the first time in two years.
Chip shot: How open is it, though? Many consider Loyola’s Bucky Crippen to be the favorite. Crippen was state runner-up last year as a sophomore, 14 strokes behind Johnston. But Colstrip’s Peter Brown has had a solid season and he finished fourth last year, four strokes behind Crippen. If Crippen were to win, he would be the fourth sibling in his family to win a state title, joining older sisters Kelsie, Maggie and Sadie.
Two putts: Besides Crippen and Brown, returning top 10 finishers from last year’s state tournament are Blake Finn of Big Timber (7th) and Cody Gravely of Townsend (9th). … Divisional team champs this year were Shelby (Division I), Big Timber (Division II) and Manhattan (Division III). Individual divisional champs were Brock Whitted of Shelby, Brown and Crippen.
2017 medalist: Kylie Esh (Missoula Loyola)
2017 team champion: Three Forks
Tee shot: Esh, who is headed for the University of Montana, won the title last year by 13 strokes over teammate Katie Fagg. There’s no reason to think it’s not Esh against the field this year, either.
Chip shot: Even with that 1-2 finish of Esh and Fagg last year, Loyola finished third behind Three Forks and Shelby. Three Forks and Shelby have finished 1-2 the past two seasons.
Two putts: Players who finished in the top 10 last year and are back this year are Esh, Fagg, Skyler Martin (3rd) and Abbey Aklestad (7th) of Shelby, Shainy Mack of Three Forks (6th), Olivia Hess (8th) of Columbus and Elsie Brown (10th) of Thompson Falls. … Divisional team champs this year were Shelby (Division I), Columbus (Division II) and Loyola (Division III). Individual divisional champs were Martin, Baily Johannes of Colstrip, and Esh.