MISSOULA – The best from every corner of the Missoula sports community all came together Tuesday night for the 60th annual KPAX Sports Awards Banquet. We honored several deserving adults and high school seniors and continued the welcome home tour of our guest speaker.
Bobby Hauck took the podium for the second time at the event. His little brother Tim, an assistant coach with the Philadelphia Eagles, gave him a video introduction. Then the former and now current head coach of Montana football gave some advice to the kids in attendance, reminding them all to stay disciplined and have fun.
Hauck also summed up his eight years away from Missoula and expressed his gratitude to be back.
“The best experience of the last eight years was actually December 1st of this year, getting to come home,” said Hauck. “And as Tim mentioned in his video, you don’t get a chance to do that sort of thing very often. I feel really lucky.”
Then the night progressed to handing out awards. The Honors Court picks the student-athletes of the year in Missoula, which is always a tough choice with outstanding nominees from the graduating senior class. This year Chad Bauer of Republic Services made sure no one went away empty handed, upping the winner’s scholarship to $1,500 and giving $500 to the other three nominees.
The girls Student-Athlete of the Year goes to Sentinel’s Kylie Frohlich. The three-sport star will play basketball for the Lady Griz next year, was a huge part of two state championship volleyball teams at Sentinel, and won a state javelin title as a sophomore. Frohlich also finishes her high school years with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average.
The boys Student-Athlete of the Year honor goes to Loyola’s Joe McElroy. The offensive line standout for the Rams will go up against Bobby Hauck soon, as he’ll join the Montana State Bobcats. He also competed in basketball and track and field in high school, while recording a 3.42 GPA.
We also handed out three awards to very deserving adults in the community.
Kevin Miltko is the Ray Rocene Sportsman of the Year. The Missoula dentist has coached youth sports for more than 30 years. Most recently he has served as president of Garden City Little League Softball, which has sent five teams to the Little League World Series over the past four years.
The Ed Chinske Award given to a professional, usually a coach, goes to Montana Grizzly basketball’s Travis DeCuire. The Big Sky Conference coach of the year led the Griz to regular-season and conference-tournament titles this past season, taking Montana to the NCAA tournament. In four years coaching at his alma mater, DeCuire has a record of 83-50.
And the Campbell-Buzzetti Award is split between three people who volunteered for years in Missoula. Longtime Big Sky High School teacher and coach Tim McHugh was honored a year after his death, with his wife and son accepting the award.
The mother-daughter combination of Sylvia Jensen and Julie Gemar-Williams accepted the award for more than 30 years of helping at high school and college track meets.