HELENA — There’s something special about Hailey Crawford’s hometown, as well as the fans that live there.
“It means everything. I mean, they’ve supported me from the time I was 5 years old, most of them are still here. I just think it’s the coolest thing ever that they always support me and want me to do my best no matter who I’m playing for,” she said
Anytime Crawford, a sophomore guard at Montana Tech, is on the road playing in Helena against rival Carroll College, the feeling of being away from her homecourt never crosses her mind. That’s because the Helena High graduate always has a huge support system in her corner. Aside from her entire family being at the Tech-Carroll game Saturday night, her high school coach Eric Peterson was also watching Crawford play against his alma mater.
“That Tech-versus-Carroll thing is always a big rivalry. It’s one of those things where I wish she stayed a little close to home, you know, I’m a Carroll guy through and through,” said Peterson.
And one can imagine how hard it must be for a Carroll fans to root for Montana Tech, but for coach Peterson, Crawford is the exception to the rule.
“I want to see her do well. (She brought) a shirt for me (Saturday), a Tech shirt, so I told her if they (won Saturday) I’ll wear it (Jan. 15) when they come back here and play,” said Peterson, who avoided donning the Oredigger green after Carroll defeated Tech 65-49.
The decision for Crawford to commit to playing at Montana Tech over her hometown team Carroll wasn’t a tough decision for her to make. And there are no regrets in her decision.
“I just kind of wanted to get away, and I knew no matter where I went everyone would support me, if I wanted to go to Carroll or to Tech,” said Crawford. “It was a pretty easy choice for me, I wanted to get away, I love the team and coach.”
Crawford, though, isn’t the only athlete from the Helena area to lace up her shoes for the Orediggers. Former Helena Capital state champion Tjaden Pallister, along with Jefferson’s Aubrey McMaster and White Sulphur Springs’ Mesa Williams, also hail from the Helena viewing area.
The Tech men’s team boasts former Helena High forward Taylor England, as well as Helena Capital grad Carson Dummer.