(Editor’s Note: Montana State Sports Information release)
BOZEMAN — The Montana State Bobcats took control from the start and never relinquished the lead to claim the Brawl of the Wild Series, presented by Town Pump, for the second consecutive year over the Montana Grizzlies with track and field closing out the latest year’s competition up 12-5 on Friday in Moscow, Idaho.
The Bobcats gained the lead from the get-go with a three-set victory in volleyball over the Griz in Bozeman. The rivalry matchup was a standing-room only affair in Shroyer Gymnasium on the Montana State campus that the ‘Cats fed off of. Natalie Passeck led MSU with 10 kills as Montana State outhit Montana .219 to .067 in a 25-22, 26-24, 25-17 win.
The volleyball team increased the lead to 4-0 after a five-set thrilling win over the Griz in Dahlberg Arena on Nov. 5, but not before the Bobcat cross country squads competed at the Big Sky Conference Championships in Utah.
Both of the MSU men’s and women’s cross country teams finished ahead of the Montana squads to contribute two points to the Bobcats in the Brawl of the Wild standings. The Bobcat women’s cross country team earned its best team performance at the meet since 1999 by finishing runner-up to Northern Arizona, while the men’s team placed fifth, five spots ahead of Montana.
The Cat-Griz football rivalry was renewed at Bobcat Stadium on Nov. 18 when the two Big Sky foes met for the 117th time. Montana State defeated Montana, 31-23, for the team’s first home win against the Griz since 2005 in front of 19,907 fans. The Bobcats earned their second straight win over Montana and kept the Great Divide Trophy in Bozeman for another year, along with giving MSU a 6-0 lead in the series.
Montana picked up its first point in the Brawl of the Wild with a nightcap victory in men’s basketball at Worthington Arena on Jan. 20, but the Bobcat women’s basketball team put MSU up seven points prior with an 81-64 victory. The seniors led the way for Montana State with Delany Junkermier, Hannah Caudill and Rebekah Hatchard all scoring in double-figures in front of a crowd of 4,017.
The Griz scored two points in the standings with two victories in basketball in Missoula on Feb. 24. However, the MSU track and field teams clinched the Brawl of the Wild trophy by placing higher than Montana at the Big Sky Indoor Championship on the same day in Flagstaff. The Bobcats took third and fifth in the men’s and women’s team rankings at the meet. The Griz finshed 12th and 10th, respectively.
Montana State picked up three more points thanks to women’s tennis and track and field.
The MSU women’s tennis team dropped a 6-1 contest to Montana on Feb. 2 in a non-Big Sky and non-Brawl of the Wild dual, but responded on March 4 with a 4-3 win in Missoula that counted towards both. The match came down to Enni Zander at No. 5 singles. With the teams tied at 3-3, Zander came back from a deficit to record a 7-6 (6), 6-3 victory to give the Bobcats a win over their intra-state rival.
Montana picked up the next two points in men’s tennis and women’s golf. The Bobcats put the finishing touches on their Brawl of the Wild Series during the 2017-18 campaign by placing ahead of Montana in the men’s and women’s outdoor conference championships in Moscow that came to an end on Friday.
Montana State cut the deficit in the year-to-year Brawl of the Wild Series to 3-2 with this year’s triumph. Montana won the first three years’ series with the first one in 2013-14. The Bobcats won its first Series during the 2016-17 academic year by a 10-7 total.