Billings Skyview's Paolo Salminen and Billings Senior's Rylee Kogolshak were named 2023 Midland Roundtable Athletes of the Year on Wednesday night inside the Billings Hotel and Convention Center.
Salminen wrapped up his wrestling career at Skyview with back-to-back state titles at 170 pounds, going 78-0 with 77 consecutive pins. It was an earlier banquet in Salminen's career that put him on the path to success.
"Really my sophomore year, it was really impactful in my life. I heard the speaker and I wasn't where I wanted to be. There was everyday stuff that I wanted to change," Salminen said. "It took being here, listening to someone tell me that I needed to make a change. It really impacted my life, it really did."
Kogolshak, the Montana Gatorade volleyball player of the year and 2023 state wrestling runner-up, won the girls award over a talented field and could feel the nerves when she went on stage to accept her award.
"My heart kind of dropped," Kogolshak said. "I kind of blacked out up there, I was pretty nervous. I thought it was going to be pretty close. All of the athletes here are really talented, I wasn't sure which way it was going to go."
Salminen will wrestle next year at the University of Wyoming, while Kogolshak will play volleyball at MSU-Billings.