MILES CITY – If you’re looking for a Badlands Bowl all-star who can overcome challenges, look no further than Mark Estes.
It’s been a wild ride over the past two years for the Kalispell Glacier athlete. Colleges took notice the summer of his junior season when he was at Drummond. The Montana State Bobcats especially liked what they saw after he scored six touchdowns in his first game that fall, but late in that contest, Estes tore his right ACL.
Somehow, just seven months later, he won three State C track events, and committed to MSU two months later. He hasn’t missed a beat since moving to Kalispell, which he credits to a stronger body and mindset.
“I don’t think there was any doubt (I would come back),” said Estes. “I’ve had an older brother and cousins do the same thing to their knee, and they’re back to where they were. They just told me to work out and I’ll be back, better even.”
Estes credits former Bobcat Andrew Verlanic for working with him shortly after the injury, to get him where he is today.
“He helped me with rehab and we went pretty hard in the weight room there for about four months before track season,” Estes said. “I was kind of nervous at the beginning, but after the first track meet, I just started getting back into the flow.”
Estes is listed as a safety at this week’s game, but will play a lot of wide receiver. He’s expected to compete at both positions in college, as well.
The 25th annual Badlands Bowl will pit Montana against North Dakota in Dickinson, N.D. Saturday, with kickoff set for 6 p.m.