BUTTE – Class C schools like Belt, Manhattan Christian and Twin Bridges have produced some of the best college athletes in the state of Montana.
At Montana Tech, the women’s basketball team prides itself on having quality Class C talent making a difference on the team. It all starts with the Diggers’ head coach, who knows what it’s like to make that transition from Class C to college.
“I, myself, grew up in Chester, Montana, and graduated from there,” said Tech coach Carly Sanon, a Chester High School alum. “And I really like to see younger girls just play and play and play. There’s not a lot to do in these small communities. You can find some great players.”
They are great players who have had to make a big leap in terms of skill level and pace of the game. Tech freshman guard Dani Urick and sophomore sharpshooter Mesa Williams both came from Class C schools.
“It’s definitely way different, way faster pace, way bigger players with a lot of talent and skill at this level,” said Urick, a Belt alum.
“It was definitely a challenge at first. It was a big step coming from my little town, because, for example, in practice we would have five players. We would never scrimmage, we didn’t have enough people to do that. It was definitely a transition,” said Williams, who played in high school at White Sulphur Springs.
Besides the overall basketball skill and game knowledge it takes to be able to make that transition, these Class C athletes possess a strong work ethic, which makes them stick out to any collegiate coach.
“I think the hard work. I mean, you’re coming from a small school, so you have to put a lot of hours in. Like, Mesa was a rancher, that hard work, those things you learn from working, and putting the time in the gym is the big thing they bring to our program,” added Sanon.