(Editor's note: MTN Sports is featuring a Midland Roundtable Athlete of the Year finalist nightly leading into this year's awards banquet Wednesday, May 18, at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center. Ten graduating seniors (five boys, five girls) in Billings are nominated annually by coaches and activities directors before Roundtable members, a group of longtime sports enthusiasts in Billings, vote on one male and one female winner. In rare instances, the award has been shared.)
BILLINGS - West High's Isaiah Claunch is proud of his heritage and it shows. Literally, on his right arm.
"My mom is Samoan, so I have some of that in me and every since I was a little kid I've always been like, hey, I want to get a tattoo, because it's culture like that for males to get tattoos like this," Claunch told MTN Sports.
He said the finished art, which covers his right wrist to elbow, was knocked out in one sitting over five and a half hours. And it's loaded with meaning.
"This right here says "fa'avavau aiga" and that means family forever in Samoa," Claunch explained, pointing out his combination of inked nuances. "And then I have three fishes right here for me and my other two siblings, I have this for West, also a cross (for) Christian..."
Claunch's tattoo characteristics go on and on, much like his terrific athletic career at West.
He combined for nine varsity letters between football, basketball, and track. As a lethal lefty at quarterback, Claunch once threw for seven touchdowns in a win over Helena Capital, leading an explosive, record-setting offense for the Bears his final two seasons.
He's also in position to win a Class AA state title this spring in the javelin.
But after this spring, Claunch will stick with football heading to Carroll where he'd love to help bring back some national title rings. The Saints have six, but none since 2010.
"That would be nice, that's the plan. They definitely showed the most love, most support throughout the recruiting process."
The other half of his plan is to major in civil engineering. Should be a perfect fit considering all he's engineered for the Golden Bears.
Male finalists: Isaiah Claunch (West), Caden Dowler (West), Taco Dowler (West), Drake Rhodes (West), Payton Sanders (Skyview).