It was another strong year for Columbia Falls sports teams as the Wildcats and Wildkats brought home three state championships and had strong showings in several sports.
Ben Windauer had a strong showing at the state wrestling meet in his senior season in 2018, needing just over eight minutes to earn the state title in the 170-pound division while also winning the Quick Pin award.
Windauer pinned opponents from Custer County, Sidney/Fairview, Havre and Fergus to earn the title and help lead the Cats to an eighth-place finish as a team.
Windauer also set the Wildcats record for pins in a season with 35.
Angelica Street dominated javelin competitions all season long on her way to winning the state title in the event by more than 20 feet over her closest competitor at the state track meet. Her toss of 147 feet, 7 inches easily defeated Hamiltonís Cariann Kunkel, who finished second at 127 feet, 1 inch.
The Wildcats cross country team earned its first state title since 2009 as Columbia Falls dominated the state meet in Missoula in October. Joe Lamb was the top finisher for the Cats, coming in third while Seth Umbriaco was just a step behind, finishing fourth two seconds later. James Role was 11th, Aidan Jarvis was 20th and Beau Umbriaco was 38th. Alternates Bryce Bennett and Bailey Sjostrom finished 61st and 78th, respectively. The Cats finished 31 points of their nearest competitor.
The Wildcat football squad lost to only one team this season, falling in the state semifinals to eventual state champion Hamilton, who also beat the Cats in their second game of the season.
Running back Colten McPhee became the first Columbia Falls player to run for more than 2,000 yards in a season in 2018, finishing the year with 2,003 yards on 192 carries and scoring 31 touchdowns on the ground.
The Wildkats basketball team finished the season 23-5 and earned third at the state tournament after going 3-1 there. Hannah Gedlaman averaged just over 12 points per game at the state tourney while Dani Douglas averaged 11 as the Kats lost to Hardin, but bounced back with wins over Glendive, Browning and Hamilton.
Genevieve Delorme was 19th at the state cross country meet and Lara Erickson was 20th as the Wildkats finished sixth.
Softball and volleyball both advanced to the state tournament while the Wildkats soccer team reached the state quarterfinal before falling to Laurel in a close game, 2-1 after two extra periods
Cody Brothwell, Tyler Langton and Lizzie Opalka competed for Columbia Falls at the state golf tournament in October while the tennis team sent Anna Pickard, Taylor Jarrett, John Gilk and Tristan Grein to state.
The Wildcats were eighth at the state track meet as Ben Windauer was second in the pole vault, the mile relay team of Easton Sempf, Tucker Salmonsen, Zackary Pletcher and Drew Morgan finished second and Parker Greene rounded out the top-three finishers by taking third in the discus.