BOZEMAN – It takes a lot of work to build a dynasty, but that just might be happening in Bozeman. The Hawks boys and girls lacrosse teams won their respective state titles over the weekend at Montana State University. Both programs have now won back-to-back titles — four championships in the past two seasons.
“We end every season in the state championship game,” girls head coach Molly Pickall said. “The whole time I’ve been coaching that’s what we’ve been able to do and it’s a great honor to do that, so I reminded the girls (before the championship), ‘You know this, this is how you end your season every year. Let’s just end it on top this time.’”
And they did. Bozeman squared off against Missoula Hellgate in the finals, a state title rematch from a year ago. And when the clock hit zero, the Hawks defeated the Knights 6-4 to win. And it’s not as much about the winning championship as it is helping grow the game in the Treasure State.
“These girls really set the bar. My goal for this team at the beginning of the season was to be next level for lacrosse in the state of Montana, and it’s a real honor to witness them do that throughout this season,” said Pickall. “Win two in a row, I just can’t wait for the third.”
As for the boys team, they were looking for a second straight title as they faced Kalispell Glacier in the final, the only team to beat them in the regular season.
“We were really confident coming in. We lost in overtime last game and we just had a chip on our shoulder,” said senior midfielder Shane Higgins. “So we wanted to come and not give them a chance and that’s what we did.”
These Hawks embodied resiliency. The whole season they bounced around looking for odd places just to fit in practices.
“It was a matter of staying committed and dedicated through all the early season where we had to practice in parking lots and the horse barn in dirt and different church gyms, and just staying with it,” said boys head coach Rob Robinett.
All the way up to the final moments of the season the Hawks didn’t quit. Bozeman defeated Glacier 12-7 for its own back-to-back state crown.
It wasn’t just a fulfilling season for the players, but for Robinett, too, who got doused in a cooler full of ice cold water — a moment he will always cherish.
“That was incredible. That’s like the ultimate honor for a coach,” smiled Robinett. “I mean, I’ve never had that done before, so that was really awesome and really incredible.”
And as much as they were playing for the title and for their coach, these boys won that state title for each other.
“Last year I was a junior and we won state and I did it for the seniors, and this year I’m a senior,” said Higgins. “Last game ever and I felt like my team was playing for me, and you can’t ask for anymore, so you just got to enjoy the day, enjoy the win and that’s what we’re doing.”
The scariest part about Bozeman’s boys and girls teams are that they are mostly made up of freshmen and sophomores. The future is shining brighter already for the Hawks, but they have all the right pieces to continue to build their program. And that’s how dynasties are constructed — brick by brick.