Bulldog athletes get ready for winter tip-off

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It’s getting colder and winter sports are underway.

Here’s a look at the Bulldogs before they open their seasons in Frenchtown, Polson and Kalispell.

Boys basketball

The Bulldogs are in their second year under head coach Scott Smith, who last year led the team to a 15-9 record and the Western A Divisional Tournament.

That team lost some key seniors, however, like Lee Walburn, Dillon Botner and Ryan Kemm, so this year’s squad is going to have some shoes to fill.

This year’s seniors are Daniel Davis, Justin Conklin, Garett Brock and Sam Menicke.

The team is also looking for Bodie Smith and Jayce Cripe, both of who played significant minutes last year, to step up.

Whitefish will open its season at the Tip-Off Tournament in Frenchtown on Friday and Saturday. The following week, they’ll return to Frenchtown on Dec. 13 for a battle with the Broncs.

Their first home game is on Dec. 19 against Eureka.

Girls basketball

The Lady Dogs are also in their second season under head coach Bob Bolam.

Last season the team went 4-16 overall and 2-8 in Northwest A conference play, finishing their season at the divisional tournament.

The improvement for the team has been slow and steady the last few years, and Bolam says he’s hoping to keep that momentum moving forward.

“We’ve been practicing really good. The thing i really like is that we’re in our second year now with me running the program so the girls know a lot more already. So we’re way ahead where we were last year,” Bolam said.

This year’s team will be led by seniors Payton Kastella, Hope Brown and Kali Brubaker. Other returning key players include Jadi Walburn, Mikenna Ells and Gracie Smyley.

The team will head down to Frenchtown this weekend for the Tip-Off Tournament and will follow that up with a return visit next Friday to take on the Broncs.

Their home opener is on Dec. 19 against Eureka.

Wrestling

The Bulldogs wrestling team is set to start its season under new head coach Danny Neff, a former Bulldog wrestler himself.

The team will get started with the Polson Invitational on Friday, and they’ll head down to face off against Corvallis, Stevensville and Superior the following weekend.

Their first home triangular will be on Dec. 17 against Browning and Ronan.

Seniors on this team include Jackson Carson, Dakota Flannery and Leroy Orel. Camren Ross and Nathan Sproul will also look to continue on last year’s success.

Both Sproul and Flannery took fifth at the Class A State Tournament, and Ross and Carson also competed.

Swimming

The Lady Bulldog swim team is looking to defend its state title.

Last year the team just edged out Billings Central for the championship, and this year they’ll look for another run in the pool.

The girls team is comprised of Helena Kunz, Patricia McDaniel, Annie Sullivan, Lauren York, Nia Hanson and Ada Qunell.

On the boys side, they’re looking to improve on last season’s fifth place finish, and Preston Ring is hoping for another undefeated season.

The team is made up of Bain Black, Kelvin Dicks, Logan Botner, Aaron Dicks, JP Koch-Ford, Kelton Thomas and Ring.

Christian Ramsey is the head coach. The team competes in the Kalispell Invite on Saturday at noon.

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