Athletes across the country started signing their NCAA letters of intent on Wednesday, and programs at Montana and Montana State started to announce signings.
The Grizzlies have announced soccer, softball, volleyball and women's basketball signings, while the Bobcats have announced signings for the volleyball and men's and women's basketball programs.
The Griz added eight soccer players, including Kalispell Flathead standout Skyleigh Thompson, who just wrapped up her high school career as the Western AA's top goal and point scorer in the regular season for the second straight year. Thompson will give Montana another in-state player to follow in the footsteps of current Grizzlies Alexa Coyle (Bozeman), Quinn Peacock (Missoula) and Josie Windauer (Columbia Falls). Thompson, a forward, finished her senior season at Flathead with 17 goals and three assists. As a junior, she led the Class AA with 24 goals and tallied 11 assists as well.
Montana also added more in-state talent to the softball program, bringing in Missoula Sentinel's Grace Hardy and Kalispell Glacier's Kynzie Mohl as part of a four-player class. The Grizzlies have already had 10 Montanans suit up for UM's softball program, with Hardy and Mohl both due to add to that number. Hardy, an infielder, was last seen batting .510 as a sophomore for the Spartans, a season cut short by injury prior to the state tournament. In two years with the Wolfpack, Mohl, a catcher, has batted .425, with 57 hits and 43 RBIs. Twenty-one of her hits have gone for extra bases, 11 of which were home runs.
The Griz volleyball program signed two players, announcing the additions of Paige Clark and Sierra Dennison on Thursday. Dennison, a middle blocker from Missoula Sentinel, will be the third Spartan on Montana's 2021 roster, joining Elsa Godwin and Sarina Moreno. When Dennison was a freshman, the latter two were winning a state championship as seniors. The age gap prevented them from playing together, but she remembers watching and looking up to them, and getting to know them over the years. Her former high school coach, Erin Keffeler, also played for the Griz.
Dani Bartsch and Haley Huard officially signed with the Lady Griz basketball program on Wednesday. Bartsch, a 6-foot-2 forward, is a senior at Helena Capital, while Huard, a 6-1 shooting guard, is a senior at Valor Christian High in Highlands Ranch, Colo.
Montana State had a local flavor to its signing classes, too. The Bobcats' volleyball program added five players, including in-state talent Audrey Hofer from Helena and Jordan Radick from Bozeman. Hofer is the first-ever Under Armour first-team All-American to sign at Montana State, and Radick was a second-team all-state pick and a first-team all-conference honoree as the Hawks finished fourth in the state in 2019.
Forsyth's Lindsey Hein is among the three players signed to the Montana State women's basketball team. Mia Hughes, a 5-10 forward from Washington and Casey Arden, a 5-5 guard from Australia, are also joining the Bobcats. The 6-6 Hein is a three-time Class B all-state selection and last winter helped Forsyth to a co-Class B state title. At the Class B state tournament, Hein was averaging 22 points and eight rebounds, while also posting seven blocks and six assists prior to the championship game which was canceled due to COVID-19.
The Bobcat men's basketball program bolstered its team with four signings: Alex Germer, a 6-8 forward from Missoula Sentinel; Sam Lecholat, a 6-7 forward from Sheridan, Wyo.; Patrick McMahon, a 6-6 guard from Alaska; and Great Osobor, a 6-8 guard/forward from Spain. Germer enters his senior season at Sentinel, where he's been a starter for two seasons and averaged double figures in each. Germer averaged 17.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per game as a junior, while shooting over 44 percent from the field.