BILLINGS – The Midland Roundtable on Wednesday night announced its five boys and five girls from Billings as finalists for the group’s 2019 Athlete of the Year awards.
Billings Senior and West each showcase four of the 10, with the other two hailing from Billings Central. Billings Central did not have a finalist for this year’s awards, which are limited to graduating seniors among the four Billings high schools.
Winners (one male, one female) will be announced at the Midland Roundtable’s annual spring banquet on the evening of Wednesday, May 15, at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center.
The Roundtable’s marquee events are it’s Athlete of the Year Banquet, Top 10 Track and Field Meet and June’s Montana-Wyoming All-Star basketball series.
Kola Bad Bear – Billings Senior
Bad Bear was a dominant center and middle blocker for the Broncs all four year of her high school career. She was named first team all-state in basketball her first three seasons, and would likely have made it four if not for an injury during her senior volleyball season that prevented her from playing basketball. Bad Bear will attend Montana State University on a basketball scholarship, after receiving 11 NCAA Division 1 offers.
Tavy Findon – Billings Senior
Findon was a three sport athlete for the Broncs, playing volleyball and basketball, but made her living on the track. She won the 300 meter hurdles state championship as a junior in 2018, and has been named all-state her first three years of high school. Findon will attend Carroll College on a full track and field scholarship.
Shayla Montague – Billings West
Montague is a rare one-sport star, concentrating all her high school efforts on basketball for the Bears. She was first team all-state her junior and senior seasons, and led Class AA in field goal percentage (57.1) and three-point percentage (53.5) while also making the most threes as a senior. Montague will attend MSU Billings on a basketball scholarship.
Tiahna Vladic – Billings Senior
Vladic is one of the best cross country runners in Montana history, winning Montana’s Female Gatorade Athlete of the Year award as both a sophomore and senior after winning both Class AA state titles. She is also an all-state track athlete, winning two state titles in the 4×400 relay as a sophomore and junior. Vladic will run track and cross country on scholarship at Boise State University.
Ellie Ostermiller – Billings Senior
Ostermiller starred as a basketball and softball player for the Broncs. She was voted the softball team MVP the first three years of her high school career, and named an all-conference player in basketball twice. Ostermiller truly excelled in the classroom as well, receiving a full academic scholarship to Montana Tech.
Chrishon Dixon – Billings Central
Dixon was a four-year letter winner in both basketball and football for the Rams helping guide both teams to State A championships his senior season. Dixon was a first-team all-state cornerback for Central and earned first-team basketball honors his final two years. He fielded multiple football scholarship offers, including from Montana State, but ultimately chose to play basketball for Mick Durham at MSU Billings.
Jack Leuthold – Billings Central
Leuthold owns all sorts of state titles and records in the swimming pool. He and the Rams earned State A team championships in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Leuthold won individual gold in the 50 free, 200 free, 200 relay and 500 freestyle through four years of varsity swimming. He as academic all-state each of his high school years as well. Leuthold has committed to swim for the University of Wisconsin.
Jace Rhodes – Billings West
Rhodes excelled at wrestling and golf during his four-year West High career. He earned three State AA championships on the mats and placed at state three times as a golfer. He earned all-state and academic all-state honors in each sport with a 4.48 GPA while earning an ACT score of 30. Montana Tech offered Rhodes a golf scholarship while the University of Wyoming presented him with a wrestling offer.
Jesse Owens – Billings West
Owens was a three-year starter in football for the Bears and part of the 2018 AA championship team. He was also named Class AA Offensive MVP. Owens was a four-year varsity player on the basketball court earning all-state honors in both sports. He has been invited to play in this summer’s Shrine and MonDak All-Star Football games, as well as in the Montana-Wyoming basketball series. Owens signed to play football for the Griz.
Lucas Gibb – Billings West
Gibb was a three-sport standout and two-time state champion for the Bears. He was named Class AA defensive MVP on the way to a football championship last November, and was a gold medalist on West’s 4 x 400 relay team. He also started in basketball. Academically, Gibb was a National Merit semifinalist (top 1 percent of juniors who take the PSAT), turned in a 35 on his ACT (also top 1 percent) and scored a perfect 800 on his math SAT.