Montana Tech coach Chuck Morrell and the Orediggers fell 64-35 at the College of Idaho. (RICHIE MELBY/MTN Sports)

(Editor’s note: Montana Tech media release)

BUTTE – Montana Tech head football coach Chuck Morrell announced the Oredigger recruiting class of 2018 Thursday. The group includes many standout Montana products as well as student-athletes from Alaska, California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

“I am extremely pleased with this group of young men,” said head coach Morrell. “We were able to address several future need areas with a special focus on our offensive and defensive fronts, which are critical keys to success in the Frontier Conference.”

The Orediggers added depth with the incoming freshmen group on both the offensive and defensive lines. Montana Tech graduated three-time all-conference defensive lineman Tyler Sanders and two three-year starters and all-conference selections Jalen Whitley and Jack Hape on the offensive line.

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The class of 2018 includes a number of state champions from Billings Senior High School, Columbia Falls High School, Kalama (Wash.) High School, and Granite High School. Ten of the Montana signees are slated to play in the East-West Shrine Game this summer in Great Falls. The class will total at least 15 all-star game appearances with a number of alternates.

“The leadership capabilities of this group is another piece that really sticks out for me with several state champions and off-the-field community and school awards that display that fact,” Morrell said. “These student-athletes are excellent both in the classroom and on the field. The new signees have bought into our family culture here at Tech, and we look forward to building life-long relationships with them and their families that will last long after their playing days are over.”

Most of the recruits plan on pursuing degrees in an engineering field. Degrees also include Pre-Professional Health, Biology, Applied Health Science and Business.

“We have nearly completed our roster and will look to fill our final couple of pieces here in the next few weeks,” Morrell said.

2018 Montana Tech football recruiting class

Wyatt Alexander, WR, 6-foot-2, 170 pounds, Whitehall, Whitehall HS

High School: Attended high school at Whitehall HS. As a senior, caught 67 passes for 1,441 yards and 19 touchdowns. Set the state record for touchdowns in a single season. Selected first team All-Conference and All-State as a senior at wide receiver and defensive back. Chosen to play in Class B All-Star Game and East-West Shrine Game. Finished career with 144 receptions, 2,767 receiving yards, 35 touchdowns, 64 tackles and 7 interceptions. Ranks 2nd all-time in the state in receiving yards in a season, career receiving yards and career receiving touchdowns. Ranks 4th all-time in career receptions and receptions in a game (15).

Personal: Wyatt, the son of Miki and Brad, plans on pursuing a degree in Business.

Quote from Coach: “Wyatt was an electric force on both sides of the football in Class A this past season. We pleased to keep a player of his talent in the area.”

Brandon Battle, QB, 6-0, 200, Yakima, Wash., West Valley HS

High School: Attended high school at West Valley HS. Selected first team All-League and All-League Offensive MVP as a senior. Chosen for All-State Senior Game. Fall Sports Athlete of the Year nominee. Selected first team All-League as a junior. Member of the National Honor Society and carries a 3.8 grade point average.

Personal: Brandon, son of Becky and Mike, plans on pursuing a degree in Mechanical or Welding Engineering.

Quote from Coach: “Brandon had a great senior campaign. He is a cerebral player that has a live arm and has some tremendous leadership qualities that we look for in the quarterback position.”

Braeden Beck, OL, 6-4, 240, Missoula, Loyola Sacred Heart HS

High School: Attended high school at Loyola Sacred Heart HS. Selected first team All-Conference on offensive line as a senior. Selected second team All-Conference as junior. Named Academic All-State two times. Member of National Honor Society. Carries a 3.8 grade point average.

Personal: Braeden, son of Rachael and Jeremy, plans on pursuing a degree in Civil Engineering.

Quote from Coach: “Braeden has grown tremendously here in the last year or so and has the frame to develop. He is also a tremendous academic fit for Montana Tech.”

Nicholas Blume, OL, 6-3, 285, Lewiston, Idaho, Lewiston HS

High School: Attended high school at Lewiston HS. Selected first team Inland Empire League and All-State defensive lineman as a senior. Selected second team Inland Empire League offensive lineman as a junior. Member of National Honors Society and a national qualifier in DECA. Selected senior class president. Carries a 3.8 grade point average.

Personal: Nicholas, son of Michelle and Robert, plans on pursuing a degree Pre-Professional Health.

Quote from Coach: “Nicholas has the size, strength and mentality to be an early contributor to the Oredigger offensive line. We are really excited to have him here as a part of our family.”

Nathaniel Buer, ATH, 6-0, 175, Post Falls, Idaho, Post Falls HS

High School: Attended high school at Post Falls HS. Football team captain. Selected first team Inland Empire League at quarterback as a senior. Named Inland Empire League Newcomer of the Year as a junior. Selected first team Inland Empire League in baseball at catcher as a junior. Named Idaho Top School. Member of National Honors Society. Carries a 4.0 grade point average.

Personal: Nathaniel, son of Kim and Barry, plans on pursuing a degree in Engineering.

Quote from Coach: “Nathan is a very athletic young man and a great academic fit here at Tech. He is a bonafide playmaker.”

Corbyn Byrnes, LB/ATH, 6-2, 210, Kalama, Wash., Kalama HS

High School: Attended high school at Kalama HS. Selected first team All-League, All-Area and All-State at linebacker. Selected first team All-League at tight end.

Personal: Corbyn, son of Joselyn and Pat, plans on pursuing a degree in Nursing.

Quote from Coach: “Corbyn was a big time leader for Kalama this past season as they won the State Championship. He is passionate for the game and we really like his physical style of play.”

Nickolaus Clawson, Jr., OL/DL, 6-2, 250, Billings, Billings West HS

High School: Attended high school at Billings West HS. Selected second team All-Conference and honorable mention All-State on defensive line. Chosen to play in East-West Shrine Game. Named Academic All-State six times in football and wrestling.

Personal: Nickolaus, son of Patricia and Nickolaus, plans on pursuing a degree Electrical Engineering.

Quote from Coach: “Nick is outstanding in the classroom and a key member of the Billings West front lines. We had a great opportunity to work and build a relationship with him during the summer and fall.”

Trey Copeland, OL, 6-2, 250, Huntley, Huntley Project HS

High School: Attended high school at Huntley Project HS. Selected first team All-Conference offensive lineman three times. Selected first team All-Conference and All-State at defensive lineman two times. Chosen to play defensive line in East-West Shrine Game. Lettered four times in track and field and three times in wrestling. Named Academic All-State all four years.

Personal: Trey, son of Cheri and Eric, is pursuing a degree in Wildlife Biology.

Quote from Coach: “Trey is a tremendous fit and we believe that he will quickly find his way on the field for us here. We were able to build a great relationship with him through summer camps and believe he has the qualities to be a future leader for the Orediggers.”

Teddy Croft, DB, 6-2, 190, Homer, Alaska, Homer HS

High School: Attended high school at Homer HS. Selected first team All-Conference and All-State at quarterback as a senior. Named 2017 Offensive Player of the Year and Player of the Game in state championship. Three-time state qualifier in track and Field in triple jump, 100m, 200m, 400m and relays. Finished 2nd in 400m and 4th in 100m and 200m as a junior.

Personal: Teddy, son of Lisa and Larry, plans on pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Quote from Coach: “We are excited to have Teddy here from Alaska, he has some outstanding tools to build off of. We expect him to be a playmaker in the Digger secondary.”

Colton Eliason, WR, 6-5, 180, Billings, Billings Senior HS

High School: Attended high school at Billings Senior HS. Part of back-to-back high school state championship teams. Selected second team All-Conference and honorable mention All-State. Named Academic All-State.

Personal: Colton, son of Jennifer and Stan, plans on pursuing a degree in Mathematics.

Quote from Coach: “Colton has a passion for the game that shows up in his style of play. His length and effort will be a major asset.”

Tyler Flink, LB, 5-11, 210, Missoula, Big Sky HS

High School: Attended high school at Big Sky HS. Football team captain. Selected second team All-State. Finished career as all-time tackle leader.

Personal: Tyler is the son of Deb and Calvin.

Quote from Coach: “Tyler has been a stalwart for Big Sky the last couple of years. He has the combination of quickness and physicality that we look for in our linebackers.”

Ezekiel Fromel, DL, 6-1, 265, Vancouver, Wash., Mountain View HS

High School: Attended high school at Mountain View HS. Selected All-Conference on offensive line as a junior and senior. National Football Foundation Scholarship nominee.

Personal: Ezekiel, son of Becky Beggs and Josh Fromel, plans on pursuing a degree in Applied Health.

Quote from Coach: “Zeek has had a great career as an offensive lineman, we are going to work to develop him as a defensive tackle here at Tech.”

Cody Gagnon, K, 5-9, 160, Billings, Billings Senior HS

High School: Attended high school at Billings Senior HS. Part of back-to-back high school state championship teams. Selected first team All-Conference and first team All-State at kicker as a senior. Selected first team All-Conference and second team All-State at punter. Selected honorable mention All-Conference at kicker as a junior. Named Academic All-State.

Personal: Cody, son of Laurie and Rob, plans on pursuing a degree in Engineering.

Quote from Coach: “Cody had a tremendous senior campaign and has the leg strength to be a weapon for the Diggers from multiple distances on the field. He has the confidence and ability that we look for in kickers.”

Colton Grange, ATH, 5-11, 175, Philipsburg, Granite HS

High School: Attended high school at Granite HS. As a senior, passed for 1,626 yards, rushed for 944 yards and totaled 52 touchdowns. Totaled 101 tackles (77 solo, 48 assisted), 8 TFL, 1 forced fumble, 20 pass breakups and 1 interception. Selected first team All-Conference at quarterback and middle linebacker. Named Offense and Defensive Player of the Year for the Western C Division. Named to Great Falls Tribune Super-State Team. Chosen to play in Class C All-Star Game and East-West Shrine Game. Named Academic All-State 7 times.

Personal: Colton is the son of Teresa and Matt and plans on pursuing a degree in Engineering.

Quote from Coach: “The leadership that Colton showed in leading Flint Creek to the Class C title this past season was nothing short of amazing. He has the toughness, character and ability to translate to the college field.”

Tucker Guiles, OL, 6-5, 275, Ritzville, Wash., Lind-Ritzville HS

High School: Attended high school at Lind-Ritzville HS. Selected first team All-League as offensive and defensive lineman. Placed 3rd at state wrestling as a junior. Member of the STEM Club.

Personal: Tucker, son of Aimee, plans on pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Quote from Coach: “Tucker’s frame and athletic ability will make him an impact player here at Montana Tech in the near future. Tucker is also outstanding in the classroom.”

Cade Harris, LB, 6-4, 200, Covington, Wash., Kentwood HS

High School: Attended high school at Kentwood HS. Started at linebacker and tight end. Senior season was cut short due to injury. Selected second team 4A NPSL All-Cascade as a junior.

Personal: Cade, son of Rhonda and Ken, plans on pursuing a degree in Engineering or Business.

Quote from Coach: “Cade’s senior year unfortunately got cut short due to injury. We believe that he has the length and speed to play multiple spots in our linebacking core once healthy. We are excited to have him on board at Tech.”

Jack Hiller, OL, 6-5, 245, La Center, Wash., La Center HS

High School: Attended high school at La Center HS. Selected All-League and All-Region on defensive line. Named All-League MVP. Member of National Honor Society and carries a 4.0 grade point average.

Personal: Jack, son of Lynette and Chris, plans on pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Brother Max is a linebacker for the Orediggers.

Quote from Coach: “Jack is a great all-around fit for the Diggers. Outstanding in the classroom, family ties and a tremendous player on the field.”

Samuel Hines, DL, 6-1, 240, Antioch, Calif., Saint Mary’s College HS

High School: Attended high school at Saint Mary’s College HS. Selected first team All-League on offensive and defensive line. Named TCAL Lineman of the Year. Selected honorable mention All-Metro. Selected All-NCS.

Personal: Samuel is the son of Eileen Lang and Samuel Hines Jr., plans on pursuing a degree in Civil Engineering or Business Management.

Quote from Coach: “Samuel is an explosive defensive player. We expect him to be a major factor in our front line for years to come.”

Ty Hoppie, ATH, 6-0, 180, Frenchtown, Frenchtown HS

High School: Attended high school at Frenchtown HS. Selected honorable mention All-Conference at quarterback. Selected first team All-Conference and All-State at safety. Selected All-Conference in track and field. Named Academic All-State four times.

Personal: Ty, son of Anne and Curt, plans on pursuing a degree in Biology.

Quote from Coach: “Ty is a great academic fit for Tech. He is one of the top students at Frenchtown and is a very solid all-around athlete.”

Jacob Kludsikofsky, OL, 6-4, 290, Auburn, Wash., Auburn HS

High School: Attended high school at Auburn HS. Selected first team All-League as a junior and senior. Chosen to play in the All-State All-Star Game.

Personal: Jacob, son of Jenel and Jay, plans on pursuing a degree in Business.

Quote from Coach: “Jacob has size and presence on the field. We have developed an excellent relationship with him and feel like he is going to be a perfect fit in Butte.”

Logan Kolodejchuk, DE, 6-1, 220, Kalispell, Columbia Falls HS

High School: Attended high school at Columbia Falls HS. Selected first team All-Conference at fullback as a senior. Selected first team All-Conference and All-State at defensive end as a senior. Named Northwest Class A Defensive Player of the Year. Helped lead team to Class A State Championship. Selected second team All-Conference sophomore and junior years. Chosen to play in East-West Shrine Game. Selected All-Conference 8 times in track and field and All-State 6 times. Named Academic All-State eight times in two sports.

Personal: Logan, son of Kelli and Glenn, plans on pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Quote from Coach: “Logan was an absolute key to helping lead Columbia Falls Class A State Championship this past season. He is an outstanding all-around player, we look forward to using his talents on the defensive side of the ball.”

Nathan Kunz, DB/ATH, 5-10, 185, Vancouver, Wash., Columbia River HS

High School: Attended high school at Columbia River HS. Football team captain. Selected first team All-League at defensive back and second team All-League at wide receiver as a senior. Selected first team All-League at defensive back as a junior. Finished 5th at state meet is 4x100m relay in track and field. Named Scholar Athlete 12 times. Recipient of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Scholarship. Earned Eagle Scout. Carries 3.94 grade point average.

Personal: Nathan, son of Kristi and Trent, plans on pursuing a degree in Pre-Professional Health.

Quote from Coach: “Nathan is a young man of very high character and has had a great high school career. He is a definite future leader of the Diggers.”

Kaden Lahti, DB, 5-8, 165, Missoula, Big Sky HS

High School: Attended high school at Big Sky HS. Selected first team All-Conference and second team All-State at cornerback. Selected first team All-Conference and All-State at wide receiver. Chosen to play in East-West Shrine Game.

Personal: Kaden, son of Heidi Lahti and Dawson Smith, plans on pursuing a degree in Engineering.

Quote from Coach: “Kaden really impressed me when I saw him play this fall. He is quick, tough and plays with a relentless style.”

Greyson Mandic, DL, 6-2, 205, Butte, Butte HS

High School: Attended high school at Butte HS. Selected second team All-Conference on offensive line and second team All-State on defensive line as a senior. Selected second team All-Conference on defensive line and honorable mention All-State on offensive line as a junior. Selected honorable mention tight end as a sophomore. Chosen to play in East-West Shrine Game. Named academic All-State two times.

Personal: Greyson, son of Karen and Chris, plans on pursuing a degree in Business.

Quote from Coach: “We are very happy to keep Greyson in Butte. He has a great frame and a tremendous drive that will allow him to develop.”

Bo Mortensen, ATH, 5-11, 195, Butte, Butte HS

High School: Attended high school at Butte HS. Selected second team All-Conference at running back. Named Academic All-State four times. Member of National Honor Society and Science National Honor Society.

Personal: Bo, son of Laura and Clint, plans on pursuing a degree in Engineering.

Quote from Coach: “Bo is one tough customer. I am very pleased that he decided to stay in Butte and play for the Orediggers.”

Brandon Morley, DB, 6-0, 190, Lolo, Sentinel HS

High School: Attended high school at Sentinel HS. Selected first team All-Conference and second team All-State at inside linebacker. Selected honorable mention All-Conference at tight end. Selected first team All-Conference and second team All-State at outside linebacker. Chosen to play in East-West Shrine Game. Named Academic All-State four times in football and basketball. Member of National Honor Society and DECA.

Personal: Brandon, son of Shelly and Lee, plans on pursuing a degree in Civil Engineering.

Quote from Coach: “Brandon was one of our first commits in this class and had a great senior season for Sentinel. He has a nose for the ball and we feel like he will definitely be a playmaker for the Diggers.”

Kyler Pendergast, ATH, 5-11, 165, Hayden, Idaho, Coeur d’Alene HS

High School: Attended high school at Coeur d’Alene HS. Selected first team All-League at wide receiver as a senior. Selected first team All-League at defensive back as a junior.

Personal: Kyler is the son of Angie and Jon.

Quote from Coach: “Kyler had a fantastic year for CDA. CDA is one of the best run high school programs in the area, and Kyler was a key piece of their success this past season.”

Treyton Pickering, TE, 6-5, 215, Sunburst, North Toole County HS

High School: Attended high school at North Toole County HS. Selected first team All-Conference and All-State in football. Selected first team All-Conference and All-State in basketball as a junior. Selected to play in the Shrine Game and the 6-Man All-Star Game.

Personal: Treyton is the son of Tyler Pickering and Janae Aherens.

Quote from Coach: “Treyton was a force in Class C 6 man football this past year. We had a great opportunity to work with him at camp and believe that he has the tools to develop into a tremendous offensive weapon here at Tech.”

Brett Robinson, DB, 6-2, 185, Joliet, Joliet HS

High School: Attended high school at Joliet HS. Selected first team All-Conference and All-State at defensive back and running back as a senior. Selected second team All-Conference at punt and kick returner. Selected first team All-Conference at wide receiver and second team All-Conference at defensive back as a junior. Finished in 2nd place in pole vault as a junior and 5th place as a sophomore. Named Academic All-State in football, basketball, and track and field.

Personal: Brett, son of Kathy and Rob, plans on pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Quote from Coach: “Brett is a great all around fit for us. Lots of untapped potential, he showed some great things on film this last season.”

Braden Smith, LB, 6-3, 205, Whitehall, Whitehall HS

High School: Attended high school at Whitehall HS. Team captain in football and basketball. Selected first team All-Conference and first team All-State at linebacker, punter and tight end as a senior. Selected first team All-Conference at punter and second team All-Conference at running back as a junior. Chosen as alternate for East-West Shrine Game. Qualified for state track in triple jump and relay.

Personal: Braden, son of Joy and Troy, plans on pursuing a degree in Biology.

Quote from Coach: “We were able to work with Braden at summer camp and found that he has some unique skills that will be a major factor in him being successful at the college level.”

Cole Smith, OL, 6-4, 265, Boise, Idaho, Boise HS

High School: Attended high school at Boise HS. Selected honorable mention All-Conference.

Personal: Cole, son of Cindy and Courtney, plans on pursuing a degree in Engineering.

Quote from Coach: “Cole has some strong family roots in Montana along with a big frame and will be a very good fit for Tech and Butte.”

Triston Stauffer, OL, 6-2, 260, Damascus, Ore., Sam Barlow HS

High School: Attended high school at Sam Barlow HS. Selected first team All-League and honorable mention All-State on offensive and defensive line. Won the Mount Hood Conference wrestling title at 285 pounds. Member of the National Honor Society.

Personal: Triston, son of Wendy and Eric, plans on pursuing a degree in Civil Engineering.

Quote from Coach: “Triston is a great fit for Tech both on and off the field. He’s strong, tough and plays the game with physical demeanor.”

Zachary Torgerson, RB, 5-10, 170, Ethridge, Shelby HS

High School: Attended high school at Shelby HS. Selected first team All-Conference and All-State at running back. Selected second team All-Conference at cornerback. Named KSEN Athlete of the Week and Great Falls Tribune Athlete of the Week in football. Named Academic All-State in football, basketball, and track and field.

Personal: Zachary, son of Regina and Aron, plans on pursuing a degree in Business Management. Cousin Kody Torgerson plays wide receiver for the Orediggers.

Quote from Coach: “Zach was a major factor in leading Shelby to the Class B State Championship game this past season.”

Zach Trumble, LB, 6-2, 215, Valleyford, Wash., Freeman HS

High School: Attended high school at Freeman HS. Named Freeman HS Team MVP as a senior and Defensive Player of the Year as a junior and senior. Selected first team All-Conference as a junior. Named Academic All-State as a junior and All-Conference as a sophomore.

Personal: Zach, son of Sharon and Ed, plans on pursuing a degree in Pre-Professional Health.

Quote from Coach: “Zach is a great fit for us. He possesses the strength, length and physicality to be a key cog for the Tech defense in the future.”

 

 

Trever VandenBos, ATH, 6-0, 185, Valier, Valier HS

High School: Attended high school at Valier HS. Selected first team All-Conference and All-State at fullback and defensive back. Named Academic All-State four times. Member of National Honor Society.

Personal: Trever, son of Tammy and Bill, plans on pursuing a degree in Business Management.

Quote from Coach: “Trever is another player that we had an opportunity to work with at summer camp and he impressed us with his playmaking ability.”

Ben Voss, RB, 5-10, 170, Billings, Billings Central HS

High School: Attended high school at Billings Central HS. Finished career as all-time leading rusher, touchdowns and single game rushing record. Selected first team All-Conference and All-State as a junior and senior. Chosen to play in East-West Shrine Game. Named Academic All-State.

Personal: Ben, son of Stephanie and Stephen, plans on pursuing a degree in Construction Management or Civil Engineering.

Quote from Coach: “Ben had a dynamite season this last fall for Billings Central. We believe that he has the tools that fall in line with the tremendous history of running backs we’ve had here at Montana Tech.”

Tucker Wetmore, WR, 6-1, 180, Kalama, Wash., Kalama HS

High School: Attended high school at Kalama HS. Selected first team All-Conference and All-State at wide receiver as a senior. Named All-League Offensive MVP and Offensive Player of the Year. Named All-Championship. Selected first team All-League at defensive back and second team All-League at punter. Selected All-Area punter as a sophomore. Finished 3rd place in pole vault at state track twice and 4th place at 110m hurdles. Finished 9th at state in decathlon as a junior

Personal: Tucker, son of Sia Gould and Robert Wetmore, plans on pursuing a degree in Business Management.

Quote from Coach: “Tucker was an outstanding leader for Kalama as they won a state championship this year. He has great hands and route running ability.”

Karson Wheat, DL, 6-2, 275, Deer Lodge, Powell County HS

High School: Attended high school at Powell County HS. Selected first team All-Conference on offensive and defensive line as a junior and senior. Selected first team All-State on defensive line as a junior and senior. Named to USA Today All-Montana Team on offensive line. Chosen to play in Class B All-Star Game and East-West Shrine Game as a defensive lineman. Received the Bill Weston Memorial Award. Named Academic All-State.

Personal: Karson, son of Kelli and Albert, plans on pursuing a degree in Business.

Quote from Coach: “Karson was our very first commit for us here at Tech. He embodies the core characteristics of an Oredigger and we believe that he will quickly find the field for us here.”

Coy Whyte, OL, 6-4, 240, Hamilton, Hamilton HS

High School: Attended high school at Hamilton HS. Selected first team All-Conference and first team All-State at offensive lineman.

Personal: Coy, son of Leanah Couvillion and Chuck Whyte, plans on pursuing a degree in Pre-Professional Health.

Quote from Coach: “Coy really came on this past season and played a major role in helping Hamilton reach the Class A State Championship Game.”

Ben Windauer, ATH, 6-1, 175, Columbia Falls, Columbia Falls HS

High School: Attended high school at Columbia Falls HS. Selected All-Conference at wide receiver as a senior. Selected All-Conference and All-State at safety as a senior. Selected All-Conference at safety as a junior. Helped lead team to 2017 Class A State Championship. Chosen to play in East-West Shrine Game at safety. Selected three years All-Conference, two years All-State and one state runner-up finish in wrestling. Finished 2nd place and selected All-State at pole vault at state. Selected All-Conference in pole vault, javelin and 110m hurdles. Named Academic All-State in football, wrestling, and track and field throughout high school. Member of National Honor Society.

Personal: Ben, son of Beth and Dave, plans on pursuing a degree in Engineering.

Quote from Coach: “Ben is an outstanding young man that is extremely versatile that was a key leader of the Columbia Falls Class A State Championship squad. We had an opportunity to work with him at summer camp and believe that he will be a great fit here.”

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