Senior Girls Doing Fall Sports

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Senior Girls Doing Fall Sports

Luke O’Connell, Sports Editor

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Though Hellgate’s sports widely vary in success, it’s clear that their players have a huge influence at school. This fall, many seniors have important roles to play in sports and as students. For instance, take Ella DeGrandpre, Hellgate girls varsity cross country star.

Ella DeGrandpre

DeGrandpre loves to run for Hellgate and has always found inspiration in her teammates. “I really like the team atmosphere. We have such a big team that there is a lot of energy at meets and workouts, which makes it more running more exciting.” DeGrandpre started running in middle school and after seeing Hellgate run at meets she attended, she knew that Hellgate was where she wanted to go.

 DeGrandpre is one of the most well-known cross country runners at Hellgate, and when asked what her goals were for the team and for herself, she said that she wants to “win state, and qualify for the Nike cross nationals at the NXR meet.” As an individual, DeGrandpre wants to place in the top three at state, and “qualify individually for nationals.”

Wren CIlimburg

Though having a large team can be fun, it can also present larger challenges for runners on varsity. Wren CIlimburg, another Hellgate cross country runner loves the team but knows staying on varsity this year could be tough. “I’m on varsity right now, but there is going to be a lot of switching around, so I’m not sure how thing will work out. Cross country is different from other sports because varsity changes week to week.”

 Cilimburg believes that having fun is essential to doing well in cross country, and that being excited is the first step. “Just look forward to races instead of dreading them! Cross country is a lot more fun if you are excited about the races.


Erin Szalda-Petree

Erin Szalda-Petree is very active at Hellgate. She spoke at the March For Our Lives rally last February; is the singer for Carpool, a band comprised of other Hellgate students; and plays varsity for Hellgate volleyball. She wants her senior year to prove that Hellgate volleyball isn’t a losing team.

With the first returning coach in four years and a promising roster, Szalda-Petree hopes to show that Hellgate volleyball can win. She plans on attending Western Washington University next fall and participates in curling and Hellgate United, a club that wants to bring equal representation to all Hellgate.

Kylie Lunday

Like Szalda-Petree, Kylie Lunday believes that this year the volleyball team can win. “We had the want to win but we didn’t put in the work as we could’ve. We had two different coaches sophomore and junior year, and now that we’ve had our coach Matty for our second year, he clearly sees our mistakes and knows what we need to work on to play on the next level.”

Lunday also believes that the new  JV coach, Libby, could be a big part of the team’s success as well. “Libby is a big inspiration for us knowing that she played for Hellgate and she knows that Hellgate culture that we used to have. She pushes us harder than anyone by doing workouts before practice and incorporating conditioning into every drill. She speaks to us with inspiration.”

Another influential senior athlete at Hellgate is swimmer Katharine Berkoff. Berkoff has been swimming in Missoula for almost all of her life. Her dad, David Berkoff, a US gold medalist, and Missoula lawyer, had her sign up for Missoula Aquatic Club at the age of 5, and she hasn’t stopped since.

Berkoff’s favorite part of swimming for Hellgate is “being part of a big team with a bunch of people who are really excited to be a part of the team because we all get along so well.” Berkoff’s goals this year include being a good leader for newcomers and getting to know new people. “Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing, have fun, and talk to a lot of people” said Berkoff when asked for advice for new Hellgate swimmers.


Photos courtesy of Camas Allison-Bunnell.