BUTTE — Though the Brawl of the Wild is amplified to a fever pitch this week, Rileigh McGree's family had no qualms about her breaking with family tradition and choosing to don maroon and silver over blue and gold.
The Butte Central senior's father, Dan, who is also the Maroons' track and field coach, and McGree's sisters Rachael and Lindsay all chose to run track and field at Montana State.
But after visiting the University of Montana's campus this fall, McGree knew she wouldn't be following in their footsteps.
"I just really loved UM's program," said McGree, the defending State A medalist in both hurdle events and the long jump, on Tuesday afternoon in the Butte Central rotunda where she inked a letter of intent with the Griz while surrounded by her family and classmates. "Their coaching staff's amazing, the team environment, I feel like after my visit there was no question that's where I wanted to be."
Her family has been nothing but supportive of her decision to join UM's program.
"They all say they can't wait to get some Griz gear," said McGree.
McGree will now head into her final season of high school track and field looking to continue what her sister's began. Rachael was a back-to-back State A long jump in 2016 and 2017 while Lindsay won the event in 2018 and 2019.
After a canceled 2020 spring season, McGree kept her family's last name attached to the long jump title. A repeat title this season would give her family three back-to-back long jump champions.
Defending her titles would be wonderful, but with her college choice already made much of the pressure that would have been attached to the upcoming track and field season has been alleviated.
"I feel like the pressure's kinda off," McGree said. "That's what's nice about the early signing. I just get to go run and I already know that I'm set for next year. So it's just gonna be about having fun and having one last season."