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Championship-winning coaches highlight MCA coaches of the year

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Posted at 12:52 PM, Dec 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-14 14:52:55-05

FORT SHAW -- The Montana Coaches Association announced its coaches of the year for the 2020 high school fall sports seasons on Monday.

State championship-winning coaches Dane Oliver of Missoula Sentinel (Class AA), Mike Ludwig of Laurel (Class A), Chris Grabowska of Manhattan (Class B), Mike Cutler of Drummond-Philipsburg (8-Man) and Michael Reiter of Froid-Medicine Lake (6-Man) are the football coaches of the year.

The volleyball coaches of the year are Rebecca Cleveland of Helena Capital (Class AA), Anita Foster of Billings Central (Class A), Ann Funk of Choteau (Class B) and Lena Kallevig of Bridger (Class C). Cleveland, Foster and Kallevig led their programs to state titles this fall, while Funk's Choteau team placed third at the Class B state volleyball tournament. Coaches must be members of the MCA to be recognized.

The MCA also announced its cross country coaches of the year, with Diego Hammett of Missoula Sentinel (Class AA), Mark Albert of Hamilton (Class A) and Andrew Gideon of Eureka (Class B) taking boys honors and Casey Jermyn of Bozeman (Class AA) and Brooke Dolan of Townsend (Class B) earning the girls awards after guiding their teams to state titles. Nate TeSlaa, the championship-winning head coach of both the Manhattan Christian boys and girls cross country teams, is the Class C coach of the year. James Peacock of Columbia Falls is the Class A girls cross country coach of the year after the Wildkats placed second at the state meet.

For the fall golf season, Missoula Sentinel boys coach Craig Matosich and Bozeman High girls coach Ryan Nelson nabbed Class AA honors, while Whitefish boys coach Bill Kahle and Laurel girls coach Jim O'Neil took the Class A awards. All four helped their teams win state championships.

Jay Anderson of Missoula Hellgate (Class AA boys), Brenden Byrd of Kalispell Glacier (Class AA girls), O'Brien Byrd of Columbia Falls (Class A boys) and Aloma Jess of Laurel (Class A girls) are the soccer coaches of the year. The Hellgate boys, Glacier girls and Laurel girls each claimed state titles this fall, while Columbia Falls' boys were the Class A runners-up.

The coaches of the year will be honored at the 2021 MCA Awards Ceremony on July 29, 2021 at Great Falls.